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Minister Liina Kersna and the Foreign Minister of Malta discussed the importance of higher education and educational cooperation

14. December 2021 - 16:27

Last week, on December 10, Liina Kersna, Minister of Education and Research of Estonia, met with Evarist Bartolo, Minister for European and Foreign Affairs of Malta. The ministers shared their experiences with managing the current COVID-19 crisis and discussed the funding of higher education as well as educational cooperation between Estonia and Malta.

The ministers recognised the similarities between the higher education systems of both countries and agreed that more resources should be directed towards higher education. They acknowledged that investing in higher education should be just as elementary as investing in defence and security.

The ministers also discussed the importance of increasing mutual mobility between Estonian and Maltese international students. A number of Estonian universities have already found partner universities in Malta through the Erasmus+ programme.

Minister Kersna commended Malta for its high vaccination rate: 80% of its residents are fully vaccinated and the vaccination rate is high among young people as well. In the list of highest vaccination rates among young people in Europe, Estonia is ranked in 16th place, while Malta is ranked in 5th place. "According to the foreign minister of Malta, their residents are well informed and have trust in doctors, which has resulted in a high vaccination rate," Kersna said.

Minister Kersna introduced Minister Bartolo to rapid testing, which is actively used in Estonian schools. "Since November, all the students and staff in Estonian schools have been tested regularly which has enabled us to quickly break the links of the spreading virus," Kersna explained. "The regular testing done in schools has helped to reduce the number of cases in the whole country."

During the meeting, Kersna and Bartolo also discussed Estonian education solutions. 99Math, an Estonian education platform for math problems is used in schools in Malta: today, over 500 Maltese students and teachers are using it.

Evarist Bartolo has been the Minister for European and Foreign Affairs of Malta for almost 9 years. In 1996-1998, he was the Minister for Education and National Culture and in 2013-2020, he was the Minister for Education and Employment. Bartolo has graduated with a Master’s degree in education and has previously worked as a teacher.

On his three-day visit to Estonia, Bartolo met with Eva-Maria Liimets, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, and Marko Mihkelson, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Bartolo also opened the new office of the Honorary Consulate of Malta in Tallinn.

Minister Bartolo’s visit marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Estonia and Malta, which were formed on 1 January 1992.

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