Narva taxi drivers given until next summer to improve Estonian skills

Under pressure from the Language Inspectorate, Narva’s nearly 200 taxi drivers must all improve their Estonian language proficiency to a B1, or threshold or intermediate, level by next summer.

Language Inspectorate Director Ilmar Tomusk told ERR’s Russian-language online news portal that of all the taxi drivers working in Narva, only a few dozen currently speak Estonian at the required level.

Accorrding to Tomusk, taxi service providers Ida Takso, Ton Märts, Sõprade Takso, Narva Takso and Gold Takso all submitted language proficiency certificates for their employees.

“A total of 145 people work for these companies whose Estonian language skills did not meet the required level of proficiency,” said Tomusk, adding that out of an additional 64 self-employed drivers, 62 did not meet the required level of proficiency.

According to the online news portal’s information, taxi drivers thought that after the language proficiency requirement was removed from the Public Transport Act in the spring, they would not have to learn Estonian anymore, however according to Tomusk, this is not the case.

“The majority of taxi service-offering businesses reported that taxi drivers were either learning Estonian or waiting for free language classes,” noted Tomusk. “With regards to self-employed drivers, they reported that they are involved in providing taxi services in such small volumes and do not have the money for learning a language, which is why they are likewise waiting for free courses.”

Tomusk noted, however, that there were no plans to place sanctions on taxi drivers refusing to learn the language, although the inspectorate reserves the right to give taxi drivers warnings and fine taxi companies.

According to Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA) and University of Tartu Narva College director Kristina Kallas, the drivers will not be receiving free Estonian language lessons this year.

“The money for free courses has already been distributed for this year,” said Kallas. “6,000 people were given this opportunity who had been waiting for it for a long time already, however there are no taxi drivers among them.”

She noted that as the Language Inspectorate is subject to the Ministry of Education and Research, the money for free courses should come from them specifically.

“Neither taxi drivers nor the Language Inspectorate have approached MISA regarding this issue,” Kallas confirmed.

Source: ERR News

Estonia parliament votes for first female president

Kersti Kaljulaid wins unanimous vote after she was put forward as unity candidate following weeks of party wrangling

Estonia’s parliament has selected a new president who will be the country’s first female leader.

Kersti Kaljulaid, a European Union accountant, won Monday’s vote 81-0, with 20 members absent or abstaining. Her selection follows two failed votes and weeks of heated debate.

Kaljulaid, 46, will succeed the current president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who is stepping down next week after two five-year terms in the ceremonial post.

Read more from The Guardian

Number of stateless people in Estonia keeps shrinking

According to the Ministry of the Interior, the number of stateless permanent residents of Estonia has decreased by more than 45,000 over the past decade, with 80,754 left early in 2016.

Three factors contributed to the decrease, namely taking on citizenship of a third state, becoming an Estonian citizen, and death.

Read more from ERR News

Estonian museums were visited 3.3 million times in 2015

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2015, Estonian museums were visited 3.3 million times, which is 4% less than a year before. The number of museums remained unchanged compared to 2014.

In 2015, Estonian museums were visited by 498,770 inhabitants of Estonia aged 15 or over, meaning that one museum visitor made an average of three visits per year.

There were 2,476 museum visits per 1,000 inhabitants in Estonia in 2015 and despite the fall in the number of visits, according to Egmus.eu, Estonia stands out as one of the European countries with the most active museum visitors. Children in Estonia visit museums diligently as well: children under 9 years old went to museums 235,000 times in 2015.

Among Estonian residents aged 15 or over, 56% of the museum visitors were women, and people in the age group 30–39 visited museums the most frequently. Foreign tourists constituted 35% of the total number of visitors. Personal development was deemed the main reason for visiting museums.

The number of museums has remained unchanged since 2013. In 2015, there were 256 active museums in Estonia. The number of exhibitions, however, has declined – while there were1,795 exhibitions in 2014, then 1,753 exhibitions were held last year.

Museums employed 1,733 people, which is 136 persons fewer than in 2014. Despite the drop in the number of employees, 19% more scholarly articles were published in 2015 than a year earlier.

On Saturday, 14 May, Estonia once again celebrates the European Night of Museums. For this year’s event, museums have chosen the umbrella theme “Waves in the Night”. More information is available at http://www.muuseumioo.ee/. In 141 days, on 1 October 2016, the Estonian National Museum will be reopened for exhibitions and this will surely impact on this year’s statistics on museum attendance.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Tallinn Old Town Days 2016

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In 2016 Tallinn Old Town Days take place for the 35th time and bear a playful slogan full of possibilities – “Changing town”.

Change in its broadest sense is the keyword of modern times. The world is changing, conditions and customs are changing and so are people. We live in constant change, sometimes fearing it, sometimes waiting for it, sometimes not noticing it.

The organising team of Old Town Days invites everyone to notice, muse on and discover the past as well as think of the future in the Old Town. We live and work in a cultural space that values the legacy of those who came before us. The Old Town carries the thoughts of our ancestors.

As in previous years, each day has its specific theme.

See the FULL PROGRAM HERE

 

1st June and “Changing stories”. To celebrate Children’s Day, we focus on children and youth and their activities in the Old Town. There will be fun processions, legends and guided tours introducing the Old Town; there will be circus, games and dancing. In addition, an opinion poll of a more serious nature – “Where do we play today?” – asks if the children of today have anything to do in the Old Town. The poll is conducted by Hometown House (Kodulinna Maja).

The Children’s Area, located in Hirvepark this year, is worth stopping by every day. The grandiose gala concert in the Town Hall Square in the evening will bring to mind the early years of the festival, evoking great moments and welcoming in the summer.

On 2nd June, the Day of Gates, we will mark the places in the Old Town where town gates used to be. Town gates were carefully guarded. Here is where one world ended and another one began. It is difficult to even imagine the grandeur of Harju Gate or Nunne Gate at the time. A nearly five-hour concert walking tour with historians, accompanied by choir music, creates an opportunity to glance at the world of gates.

3rd June is the Day of Toompea. Our gaze moves upwards from lower town to Toompea, which has not always been part of the Old Town Days. This time we will watch films and learn more about the fascinating history of Toompea. Many of the numerous administrative agencies at Toompea open their oaken doors to the public and offer a chance to look around, among others the Riigikogu, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Academy of Sciences as well as the Hungarian Institute and Tallinn Ballet School. Exciting concerts take place at Toompea.

On 4th June, towers of the town wall will open their doors. We will have a great opportunity to see what goes on in the former defence structures today. Over time, some towers have taken on a new appearance and function; others remain quite as they used to be. The towers host numerous exhibitions, guided tours, concerts and theatre shows. Kadri Voorand’s concert on the roof of Fat Margaret’s Tower brings the day to a beautiful close.

5th June – “Changing human”. The closing day of Old Town Days invites all to join in three different discussions led by Hannes Hermaküla to think and talk about our core values and existence. All churches in the Old Town invite guests to take part in their activities and daily business.

Another event inviting us to think about the future is titled “Old Town today: a theme park or living environment?” The conference, which is no less than international this year, takes place on 3rd June. Participants of the discussion include Mart Kalm, Rector of the Estonian Academy of Arts; Riin Alatalu, head of the manor schools programme of the Ministry of Culture; architect Üllar Mark; Aigar Palsner, head of the urban environment department of Tallinn City Centre Administration; representatives of Tallinn’s twin cities Riga and Carcassonne, who introduce their experience in world heritage preservation and development.

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Of course, the Old Town will be filled with music, theatre shows and a vast museums programme, exhibitions, guided tours and art projects. There will be folk as well as pop and jazz music, fun guests from the Commedia School in Denmark, renowned jazz musicians from Saint Petersburg, traders, art and handicraft.

Programme booklets will be available a week before the festival at Rahva Raamat bookstores, information hall of Tallinn City Government, Tallinn Tourist Information Centre and Tallinn City Centre Administration.

Tallinn Old Town Days have been organized since 1982 and they signify the festivities for the Old Town to celebrate the beginning of summer. These celebrations fill yards, squares, streets, coffee shops and halls with music, art, theater and variations of many bigger and smaller activities take place.

Throughout the event days, the streets are filled with people who are wearing ancient clothes to create an ancient environment. The visitors of the old town can take part of that tradition by buying costumes from local market in Harju street which will be held throughout the event period.

Most of the events are free of charge.

The English version of the program.

Source: vanalinnapaevad.ee

13,907 persons were born and 15,243 died in 2015

According to the revised data of Statistics Estonia, 1,315,944 persons lived in Estonia on 1 January 2016 – 2,673 persons more than at the same time a year earlier. The population figure decreased by 1,336 persons due to negative natural increase, but increased by 2,410 as a result of positive net migration. The increase in the population figure was also influenced by changes in the calculation methodology, resulting in 1,599 persons being added to the population.

An important change of 2015 was the positive net migration, meaning that immigration exceeded emigration. In 2015, 15,413 persons took up residence in Estonia while 13,003 persons left. As of 2015 Statistics Estonia also takes into account unregistered migration in addition to registered migration. As external migration is often left unregistered by the residents of Estonia, the size of migration flows increased as a result compared to previous years.

The population also increased due to Statistics Estonia’s new population calculation methodology, following which the classification of persons into permanent residents is carried out using an index that is calculated based on registers. When preparing for the 2020 register-based Population and Housing Census, Statistics Estonia analysed the quality of official databases (registers) and compiled the residency index for inhabitants based on that data. When using register data it became apparent that there were 1,599 more persons living in Estonia compared to what was indicated by the previously used population census data. The population mainly increased as a result of immigration of European Union citizens, which the previous methodology reflected to a smaller extent.

In 2015, 13,907 persons were born and 15,243 persons died. The number of births increased compared to the two previous years but was 2,000 births smaller than in 2010, which was the peak of the increase in births. The number of women in childbearing age has also decreased in the past five years. The number of deaths has been declining since the mid-1990s and in the past six years the number of deaths per year has remained between 15,000 and 16,000.

As an update, Statistics Estonia has additionally made some changes in the data. The most important methodological change is that we use the place of residence marked in the Population Register as the place of residence. This is something that has to be taken into account when analysing changes in the population. In connection to the continuously increasing life expectancy, Statistics Estonia now publishes population indicators until the age 100+ (instead of the previous 85+). In the population of local government, the population of city districts has also been distinguished. Persons who were active in various registers in Estonia but who do not have their place of residence marked in the Population Register are classified under “County unknown” in the Statistical Database.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Every fifth person in Estonia lives in relative poverty

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2014, 21.6% of the Estonian population lived in relative poverty and 6.3% in absolute poverty. The overall percentage of people living in relative poverty decreased 0.5 percentage points compared to the previous year, the percentage of people living in absolute poverty decreased 1.7 percentage points.

In 2014, the income of the population increased and income inequality slightly decreased. Social transfers (state benefits and pensions) helped to prevent falling into poverty, as had they not been included in income, the at-risk-of-poverty rate would have been 39.4% and the absolute poverty rate – 28.6%.

In 2014, a person was considered to be at-risk-of-poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 394 euros (358 euros in 2013) and in absolute poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 203 euros (205 euros in 2013). In 2014, the difference in income between the poorest and richest fifth of the population was 6.2-fold.

Compared to 2013, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has decreased in the case of people aged 18–64, but in the case of persons aged 65 and over, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has increased. In 2014, 36% of  persons aged 65 and over lived in relative poverty (32% in 2013). In 2014, a fifth of children under 18 lived in relative poverty as before, while the absolute poverty rate of children has slightly decreased (10% in 2013 and 9% in 2014).

The level of education significantly affects the risk of falling into poverty. Among persons with basic education or lower, every third was in the poorest and only every fourteenth in the richest income quintile. At the same time, one third of people with higher education belonged to the richest fifth. Therefore, the at-risk-of-poverty and absolute poverty rates of persons with higher education (12.9% and 2.8%, respectively) were almost three times smaller than those of persons with basic education or lower (36% and 8.6%, respectively). A higher level of education is an important prerequisite for the prevention of poverty.

More detailed information can be found in the statistics blog (only in Estonian).

At-risk-of-poverty rate is the share of persons with yearly disposable income lower than the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, and absolute poverty rate is the share of persons with yearly disposable income lower than the absolute poverty threshold. The at-risk-of-poverty threshold is 60% of the median yearly disposable income of household members, the absolute poverty threshold is the estimated subsistence minimum. Equalised disposable income is the total household income, which is divided by the sum of equivalence scales of all household members.

The estimations are based on the Social Survey, which has been conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2004. In 2015, more than 5,700 households participated in the survey. The survey collects data about the yearly income, which is the reason why the survey of 2015 asks about the income of 2014. The yearly income is necessary for calculating the indicators of poverty and inequality. Social surveys are conducted by statistical organisations in all European Union countries on the basis of a harmonised methodology by the name of EU-SILC.

Source: Statistics Estonia