9 April (BNS) – According to a syllabus now being worked out, Finnish could be taught at Estonian schools as a second foreign language starting from 2013. At present it is possible to learn Finnish as a third or fourth foreign language in high school, which means one weekly lesson for three years, a total of 210 lessons.
According to the Finnish Institute, a syllabus will enter into force from 2013 that will make it possible to teach Finnish starting from the sixth grade as the second foreign language in three weekly lessons.
The language policy principles of the European Union are that every citizen of Europe should be able to speak at least two foreign languages in addition to the mother tongue, and one of the languages could be that spoken by a small number of people. The Estonian foreign languages strategy also underlines the need to acquire the command of one’s neighbour’s language.
In a poll carried out in 2007 it appeared that there were as many students wishing to study Finnish as, for example French, German, Russian and Spanish as the second foreign language.
At present the Finnish subject council is preparing the new subject syllabus.
According to the Finnish Institute there are currently about 1 021 students learning Finnish as an optional subject at Estonian general schools. At vocational schools courses of Finnish are mainly part of the syllabi of service trades, and this school year there are 1 552 students learning Finnish at vocational schools. In all, the number of people learning Finnish at Estonian general, vocational and language schools and higher educational institutions is assessed to be 6 000 to 7 000.