The preparation of a new national integration plan for 2021-2030 is underway at the Ministry of Culture, which will formulate the objectives of the integration policy of the Republic of Estonia and the activities needed to achieve them.
The objective of the integration policy
The state wishes to recognise the value of everyone in society, and thereby, also support cultural diversity, promote a behavioural space in which the Estonian language and culture can be developed. This allows our identity to be preserved and our culture to be cultivated by people who speak different languages and have different cultural backgrounds.
Integrating Estonia 2030 Development Plan
The new development plan will serve as the basis for the implementation of integration policy in 2021-2030. The objective of the Ministry of Culture is to present the intention to draft a bill for the new integration plan to the government in the spring of 2018, in order to get a mandate for working out a new sector-based policy. Concurrently, the first negotiations will start with the Riigikogu committees and factions. In the autumn of 2018, an interim assessment of the 2020 integration plan will be conducted, in order to determine how past choices and activities have justified themselves. The plan is to prepare a completed document by early 2020, and thereafter get feedback from the other ministries, the political parties and civic associations. The approval of the new integration plan should occur in 2020.
The new sector-based development plan will provide the basis for the planning of the implementation and financing of the national integration policy for 2021 to 2030. To prepare the development plan, a series of research studies, consultations, discussion seminars, and inclusion meetings will be conducted. Related state institutions, scientists, representatives of civic associations and all interested Estonian residents will be able to participate online as well as by attending inclusion events.
The new integration plan will include activities designed for native Estonians as well as the long-term non-Estonian residents of Estonia. Also, more attention will be paid to new immigrants and refugees, as well as compatriots living outside Estonia.
Spheres of activities
The key topic in the field of integration is education. It must be possible for Estonian-speaking children and children whose native language is not Estonian to study together in Estonia’s schools, to learn the Estonian language, while also preserving their own cultural identities. Due to the segregation of kindergartens and schools based on language, there are insufficient communications, friends from different ethnic groups and joint activities developing in society.
Civic society and inter-community contacts
Bringing communities together. Culture and sports, like many other hobbies and activities related to interest groups, provide excellent opportunities for bringing communities together. Cultural institutions and civic society organisations can provide activities and services to everyone regardless of their native language, and thereby, help to develop new acquaintanceships and networks of friends.
Media and information
Creating a trustworthy and uniform information space. The plans include charting additional information channels that could improve direct line of communication with and between communities. It is important to have a trustworthy and uniform information space regardless of the user’s native language. Steps will be taken to ensure that information about government services are available in different languages and in the channels used by the speakers of various languages.
Reducing the socio-economic gaps
The aim is to reduce the gap between Estonian-speakers and non-Estonian speakers in socio-economic indicators such as unemployment and the employment rate, average salary, etc,. Efforts will be made to ensure that jobs will be diversified in the public sector as well.
Language learning. The plan is to have a forceful say in the organisation of language learning via the language houses being established, and to be an active participant in the implementation of the linguistic policy being led by the Ministry of Education and Research that plays a part in the organisation of language learning.
Technology and innovation. Technological opportunities and innovation must start playing a greater role in integration.
Regional development. The planning of activities is based on regional differences, and solutions will be provided to the regions that are tailored to them and suitable for resolving their integration problems.
In the new integration plan, the following fields of activity will be treated as recurring themes:
- Language learning. Organisation of language learning among adult population via the Estonian language houses being established. Implementation of the Estonian language policy, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research;
- Technology and innovation. Advancements in technology and innovation to play a more prominent role in integration;
- Regional development. The planning of activities is based on regional differences, as well as solutions provided to the regions will be tailored to them and suitable for resolving their specific integration problems.
Schedule for the preparation of Integrating Estonia 2030
What is integration?
Integration is the society working together, improving the skills and capability for learning and coping, which involves all the areas of society. This is a long-term and constant amalgamation involving reciprocal growth between various groups in the society. It is characterised by challenges, the resolution of which require long-term planning, as well as the readiness and cooperation of all the stakeholders and various communities.
Estonia as a multicultural society
The representatives of more than 190 other nationalities live together with ethnic Estonians in Estonia. The objective of Estonia’s integration policy is to increase the cohesion of society and to involve people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds in community life. The objective is to strive for a society where people with different linguistic and cultural background, who have chosen to live in Estonia, have the opportunity to feel secure and happy in this country.
The progress achieved in integration to date
The most recent integration monitoring report confirms that good progress had been made. For example, Estonian language proficiency has increased among people with other ethnic backgrounds, and the need for Estonian language proficiency has increased both on and off the job. At the same time, the sense of identification with the Estonian state by people of other ethnic backgrounds has strengthened. However, along with the positive developments, the socioeconomic gap between Estonian speakers and those with other native languages continues to be a problem. The study shows that people, and especially women, who speak Russian as their native language do not feel sufficiently secure on the labour market and therefore are afraid to apply for jobs in the public sector. The main worry that requires resolution is the exchange of information between the communities, the inclusion and cooperation of the communities, as well as the segregation that exists in education, the labour market and social life.
The current integration plan ‘Integrating Estonia 2020’ prescribes the activities until the end of 2020.
Articles and Press Releases
Artiklid ja kajastused
- "Alanud lõimumiskava loomine seab sihid aastani 2030" Kultuuriministeeriumi infokiri, veebruar 2018
Department for Cultural Diversity