Minister of Education and Research of Estonia Mailis Reps met her French colleague Jean-Michel Blanquer in Paris to discuss Estonia's priorities during the EU presidency, the experience of research schools in developing clever secondary level students, and strengthening of collaboration in educational innovation.
“The research schools at Estonian universities have attracted attention in Europe and we are happy to share our experience in early inclusion of academically capable secondary level students in research work. Our peers in France are looking to learn about cooperation between our upper secondary schools and institutions of higher education,” said Minister Mailis Reps.
Ministers discussed also the opportunity for sharing the best practices in educational innovation. One opportunity proposed by the French Minister of Education was the idea to intensify cooperation between five European countries that have pioneered educational innovation in order to develop education systems, share the best practices, and advance innovative teaching trends first and foremost on the secondary level. Closer contacts through student and teacher exchanges would be an essential element of such cooperation.
Minister Mailis Reps thanked the French government for good cooperation in teaching French and testing language proficiency. Since 2014, Estonian secondary level graduates have been able to take the internationally recognised DELF scolaire language proficiency test on levels B1 and B2 as a national examination in a foreign language, and in coordination with the French Institute the early language learning project FrancoKikk has been implemented in Estonian nurseries.
During the visit, the Minister had meetings with colleagues from Algeria, Georgia and other countries who were keen to learn about the secrets behind Estonia’s excellent scores in PISA tests and availed themselves of the opportunity to ask for specific advice for improving the test results back home.