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APRIL 2014
03.04.2014

Estonian language camps for Estonian youngsters living abroad to continue this year
Cultural diversity seminar held in Kohtla-Järve
European Social Fund supports national language studies of vocational education students
Language studies development activities for vocational institutions to recommence in April
Orthodox Easter performance in Iisaku
Easter celebrations at Viljandi Sunday School


Estonian language camps for Estonian youngsters living abroad to continue this year

As in previous years, the Integration and Migration Foundation will once again be organising Estonian language camps for children and young adults with Estonian roots living in other countries.

The three camps, which will be held between June and August, are designed to preserve and strengthen the ties between Estonia and youngsters with Estonian roots living abroad. They will give the participants the chance to take part in a programme of language studies designed especially for them, to get to know others their age who share an Estonian background, to enjoy sports and other recreational activities together and to learn more about Estonia and its culture.

The Integration and Migration Foundation has been organising language camps for foreign Estonians for the last 13 years, bringing young ethnic Estonians to the country to study its language and culture from Russia, the United States, Denmark, Italy, Scotland and many other parts of the world. More than 400 youngsters have attended the camps over the years.

The camps are open to young people (aged 13-18) with Estonian roots who live outside of Estonia. A total of 90 youngsters will attend this year’s three camps.

The camps are organised as part of the national ‘Countrymen programme 2014-2020’, which is designed to support the organisation of language camps for Estonian youngsters living outside of the country. They are supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry and Education and Research.

LANGUAGE CAMPS

The first camp will be held from 25 June to 5 July and will be for young people who speak no Estonian or understand only a little of the language.

The second camp will be held from 20 to 30 July and will be for young people who speak Estonian at an upper-intermediate level.

The third and final camp will be held from 3 to 13 August and will be for young people who speak Estonian fluently.

Registration for the camps opens on 2 April and closes on 24 April.

The Integration and Migration Foundation will inform the families of the applicants of its decision by 5 May.

For further information please contact Marje Sarapuu, Coordinator, Multicultural Education Unit, Telephone: +372 659 9068, E-mail: marje.sarapuu@meis.ee


Cultural diversity seminar held in Kohtla-Järve

A seminar entitled ‘Every person is important and every nationality is different’ was held as part of the ‘Cultural diversity enriches’ project at the Virumaa College of Tallinn Technical University in Kohtla-Järve on 27 March.

The seminar examined the situation of different nationalities in working life and studies in Estonia and shared ideas with people from Ida-Viru County about social diversity and tolerance.

Anneki Teelahk, director of the Ida-Viru County department of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, gave a presentation in which she highlighted the ethnic differences that exist on the labour market of north-eastern Estonia, promoted the advantages of multicultural staffing and drew attention to problems that can occur. Ene Eha Urbala, an adviser from the Institute of Human Rights, gave a presentation on the options open to people of different nationalities on the Estonian job market and in academic studies. University of Tartu professor Marju Lauristin explained the main difficulties faced in the integration of people of other nationalities in Estonian society. Igor Ljapin, a coordinator with the Integration and Migration Foundation, shared his experience of integration projects that have been successfully completed.

Kaire Viil, director of the ‘Cultural diversity enriches’ project, remarked that all of the guests who attended the seminar spoke on interesting and very important topics, generating debate and providing plenty of food for thought. “It really boosted people’s awareness of the problems people from different ethnic backgrounds have to deal with in terms of integrating into Estonian society,” she said. “Hopefully it will lead to us being even more tolerant and supportive towards one another.”

The seminar was held as part of the ‘Cultural diversity enriches’ project, the implementation of which is supported by the Integration and Migration Foundation, the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals and the Ministry of Culture. The project was launched by the Virumaa College of Tallinn Technical University.

For further information please contact Maarja Mänd, Coordinator, Multicultural Education Unit, Telephone: +372 659 9853,  E-mail maarja.mand@meis.ee


European Social Fund supports national language studies of vocational education students

The Integration and Migration Foundation sought proposals from vocational education institutions and adult secondary schools regarding the organisation of Estonian language studies. The aim of organising additional language studies is to provide students whose mother tongue is a language other than Estonian with the chance to develop their general Estonian skills as well as those they need in their professional lives.

Further studies of Estonian are available in addition to studies funded as part of the national training order, and a total of 15 proposals were submitted to the competition by 11 institutions. “Pretty much all of the proposals included the development of programmes showcasing Estonian culture, which would involve study trips to different parts of the country and include students with Estonian as their language of instruction,” explained Tea Kotkas, a coordinator with the foundation’s Lifelong Learning Unit. “The proposals showed a clear interest in integrated language and vocational studies as well, including work experience in Estonian-language environments and the introduction of a student exchange programme.” The need for intensive support studies was also highlighted in the proposal round, as was the need for cooperation between schools and joint events to boost students’ motivation for language studies.

“Thanks to the experience we’ve had working together in the past, our partner schools this time were again Olustvere School of Service and Rural Economics and Kuressaare Regional Training Centre, where really good conditions have been set up for vocational studies and language practice,” Kotkas added. “Our assessment committee approved 14 of the proposals, and the foundation will be signing agreements with a number of parties to implement them, as well as coordinating further cooperation.”

Support in 2014 will be provided for the language studies of students from Sillamäe Vocational School, the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, Tallinn Lasnamäe Mechanics School, Valga County Vocational Education Centre, Narva Vocational Studies Centre, Tartu Vocational Education Centre, Ida-Viru County Vocational Education Centre, Tallinn School of Service, Tallinn Kopli Professional School and Tallinn Industrial Education Centre.

Implementation of the proposals submitted for the organisation of language studies is being supported as part of the ‘Additional language studies of vocational education and adult secondary school students’ project of the ‘Language Studies Development 2011-2013’ programme financed from the European Social Fund.

For further information please contact Tea Kotkas, Coordinator, Lifelong Learning Unit, Telephone: +372 659 9061, E-mail: tea.kotkas@meis.ee


Language studies development activities for vocational institutions to recommence in April

The Integration and Migration Foundation is set to continue with activities designed for vocational education institutions as part of the ‘Language Studies Development 2011-2013’ programme.

A round table will be held in April for directors and multicultural teaching system advisers from vocational education institutions to identify the needs of schools for advisory services in multicultural and multilingual conditions.

“The round table will be used to remind people of the principles of advisory services, to discuss the expectations of vocational schools in regard to advisory activities in 2014 and to map these schools’ need for advisory services,” explained programme director Jana Tondi. “An action plan will also be agreed on for the advising of both individuals and groups, and we’ll be looking to pinpoint the training that advisers need in order to share information more effectively. Last but not least, we’ll be showcasing new options in the transition to partial Estonian-language studies.” Tondi added that the main role of advisers in vocational education institutions is to support teachers and directors in the development of a multicultural teaching system, with advisers having to keep up to date on changes and processes in the field of vocational education and on the special nature of multicultural learning environments.

Training events for advisers and advice forums bringing together those involved in vocational education were held in the 2011-2013 period with the support of the European Social Fund. Group advisory sessions were held in Narva, Jõhvi and Sillamäe, involving a total of 95 teachers. 75 individual and group advisory sessions were also held for management and teaching staff from vocational education institutions.

Tondi went on to explain that in addition to the development of advisory services in relation to the multicultural learning system in vocational education institutions, in-service training for vocational school teachers and further language studies for vocational students will also be continuing as part of the programme.

The ‘Development of advisory services in relation to the multicultural teaching system of vocational education institutions’ activities are being implemented as part of the ‘Language Studies Development 2011-2013’ programme, a measure of the ‘Lifelong Learning’ priority of the ‘Human Resources Development Plan’ financed by the European Social Fund.

For further information please contact Liilika Raudhein, Coordinator, Lifelong Learning Unit, Telephone: +372 659 9841,     E-mail: liilika.raudhein@meis.ee


Orthodox Easter performance in Iisaku

The Ida-Viru County Integration Centre, in association with the Iisaku Museum of Local History, is organising a performance showcasing Orthodox Easter celebrations. The performance will take place at the museum from 14:00-17:00 on Sunday 27 April.

The event is designed to introduce the national and cultural aspects of the celebrations to local residents and visitors to Iisaku in accordance with the traditions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

In addition to the performance there will be Easter games and songs and a variety of other activities. Visitors will be able to strike a bargain at the Easter fair, try traditional dishes made especially for the occasion and take part in masterclasses making Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian Easter mementoes.

The traditions and customs of Orthodox Easter are being presented by members of the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian associations of Kiviõli, Kohtla-Järve, Jõhvi, Sillamäe, Narva and Lohusuu, who belong to the Round Table of National Culture Associations of Ida-Viru County.

Everyone interested is invited to attend the performance, which is free of charge.

The event is being supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Integration and Migration Foundation.

For further information please contact:

Heli Ferschel, Project Coordinator, Ida-Viru County Integration Centre, E-mail: integratsioon@hot.ee

Kristina Pirgop, Coordinator, Multicultural Education Programmes, Telephone: +372 659 9024, E-mail: kristina.pirgop@meis.ee



Easter celebrations at Viljandi Sunday School

Christians mark Easter – and the triumph of life over death – on 20 April this year. Easter is a celebration of love, peace and a happy life. The children attending the Sunday school of the Cultural Association of the Society of Friends of Russian Culture in Viljandi will learn all about the history and traditions of the event on the day.

“It’s important to instil a sense of goodness and purity in children from early on, and to teach them to respect the traditions of their people,” said Sažida Jalak, the director of the Cultural Association of the Society of Friends of Russian Culture. “We’ll be preparing for Easter from Good Friday onwards. First of all we’ll be cleaning up at home, then we’ll be painting eggs and baking kulich, which is a special sweet type of Easter bread.” She explained that people attend a mass on Easter Sunday during which their kulich and eggs are blessed by a priest. Following the service, families gather around the table to enjoy a special Easter spread – including of course the kulich – while the children play with their painted eggs.

Exciting Easter traditions

Jalak said the children truly enjoying painting the eggs and that they also learn at the Sunday school where this tradition comes from. It is said that Mary Magdalene approached the Roman emperor Tiberius on the Day of Ascension to impart the news that Christ had risen, giving him a chicken’s egg as a gift. The emperor laughed, saying that the egg would turn red before he would believe such a story. Then, before the very eyes of the crowd standing around, the egg changed from white to red in Mary Magdalene’s hand. Tiberius watched this transformation in amazement and cried: “Truly, He has risen!” At this moment the tradition of painting and dyeing eggs red and exchanging them with others was born. Later they began to be painted in other colours. Families also play a version of ‘conkers’ with the eggs – with the winner being the person whose egg remains intact. Exchanging painted and dyed eggs with friends and family is of course now an Easter tradition we all share.

In addition to this legend, Jalak explained that there are specific symbols that are associated with Easter: light (which is why people try to take lit candles all the way from the church back to their homes); life (eggs being a symbol of life and rabbits being a symbol of fertility); the Easter kulich; and of course the cross, since Jesus was crucified. Lambs are considered symbols of purity and innocence, and in the past Russians had a tradition of baking pastry lambs for their Easter spread.

This spread plays an important role in the traditions of Russian Christians. Eggs are placed on a plate on which previously sown oat shoots are growing. The table is decorated with figures of rabbits and birds, as well as willow branches. “Birds are a common feature of Easter designs all over the world, and of course a bird is the symbol of the Holy Spirit and the rebirth of nature,” Jalak explained. “The Easter rabbit is a must-have feature, too, since the quick-footed rabbit is the first to pass on the news of Christ’s rising.”

Jalak said that although Easter is an ancient celebration, it has taken on special meaning for Christians because of the fact that Jesus was crucified for men’s sins. “But three days after he died he rose again, and we’ve celebrated His day of ascension every year ever since.”

Following the Easter history lesson at the Sunday school the students will get the chance to paint their own eggs, design Easter cards for their families and make paper birds and rabbits. They will use ordinary watercolour paints to decorate their boiled eggs. Finally they will watch a video about the life of Christ – from birth to resurrection.

The activities of national culture association Sunday schools are supported by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Integration and Migration Foundation.

For further information please contact:

Sažida Jalak, Director, Cultural Association of the Society of Friends of Russian Culture in Viljandi, E-mail: s.jalak@gmail.com

Kristina Pirgop, Coordinator, Multicultural Education Programmes, Telephone: +372 659 9024, E-mail: kristina.pirgop@meis.ee