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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Friday, 14.08.2020, 17:36

Estonian academic trade unions to hold demonstrations to support greater research funding

BC, Tallinn, 18.09.2019.Print version
Academic trade unions in Estonia are to hold demonstrations in support of increased funding of higher education and research to be held in Tallinn and Tartu at noon on Thursday, reported LETA/BNS.

The demonstration to be held in Tallinn will take place at 11 and 13 Estonia Avenue by the Bank of Estonia, where the government is to hold the press conference of its outing meeting. The demonstration in Tartu is to take place by the Ministry of Education and Research at 18 Munga Street, organizers said on Wednesday.

Higher education workers are to present three wishes to the government at the demonstration. The first is increasing the funding of research to 1 percent of GDP, the second is the funding of higher education at 1.5%  of GDP, and third, ensuring researchers a basic income in the amount of half of the average salary, the expense of which is only 0.07T% of GDP.

Ruth Tammeorg, board chair of the trade union of the University of Tartu, said that the research agreement has not been adhered to and the funding of higher education has now also been dealt a blow. "Higher education workers do not want paid higher education to be restored, reducing the amount of face-to-face teaching and sending lecturers on unpaid forced leave, as is currently being deliberated in universities," Tammeorg said, adding that the survival of Estonian research and the quality of higher education are in serious danger today.

According to the trade unions, the government has breached the public research agreement entered into at the end of last year. The trade unions, the Estonian Chamber of Research and the Estonian Young Academy of Sciences have joined forces to fight for the fulfillment of the research agreement and the improvement of the working conditions of academic employees.

A wider joint meeting held on Monday was for the first time attended also by students and teachers. Negotiations are also underway with the Medical Association, which is also seriously concerned about the decline in the quality of research and higher education, which has a direct impact on the quality of the state's healthcare.

The demonstrations are organized by the trade unions of the University of Tartu, the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tallinn University, the Estonian Chamber of Research and the Estonian Young Academy of Sciences.

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