The Riigikogu is the parliament of Estonia. Its 101 members followed a bit of criticism of the Omaraha loan on general elections for a term of four years. The Riigikogu passes laws and resolutions.
The Riigikogu has 11 standing committees and 6 select committees. Commitments to investigate issues of public interest or problems. We do live broadcasts in the Riigikogu. Today, the audit of the National Audit Office was published on the financing of local governments. It analyzes the financial information of local governments in recent years and concludes that the ability of local governments to influence their income is relatively small. There are also huge differences in capability and there are fears that these differences in capability will remain after the merger of the municipalities.
The Government of the Republic today initiates five draft laws. First, the Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management System Act. The Minister of the Environment Marko Pomerants represents the Government of the Republic when dealing with this draft. Second, the Bill on Amendments to the Police and Border Guard Act and Rescue Service Act. In the Riigikogu, the Minister of Internal Affairs Andres Anvelt represents the Government of the Republic in the proceedings. I have adopted five drafts and one interpellation.
We proceed with them in accordance with the Home and Work Rules Act. 78 members of the Riigikogu are present in plenary and 23 are not. Honorable Riigikogu, I will vote for the 10th plenary session of the Riigikogu. There are 77 members of the Riigikogu, no opponents or no impartiality. The first interpellation was given by Laine Randjärv, Maris Lauri, Kalle Laanet, Lauri Luik, Meelis Mälberg, Kalle Palling, Hanno Pevkur, Kristen Michal, Yoko Alender, Urve Tiidus, Terje Trei and Heidy Purga. The interpellation concerns the possible transfer of the county government educational tasks.
We presented it to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, as the subject covers a broader range of ministries, not just the Ministry of Education and Research. To begin with, I must emphasize that the idea of winding up county governments was initiated during the previous government, and it is certainly the right idea. The county governments themselves and many institutions that have been doing things with the county governments so far have agreed. The question is now mainly on the deadline set after the change of government: it was brought to a close by half a year.
As for educational issues, this is a sensitive issue. The school year will probably end in June, and if the new regime is to be introduced from 1 2018, it can actually be started in October after this year’s local government elections. Just in case I read from here, what educational tasks are exactly what I do. Maybe many people think that a few officials sit in the county government they are still doing there.
Today, the associations of local governments have not been so thorough in dealing with these issues that they could pass on the issue with a peaceful heart and confirm that from 1 2018, everything is going on in the organization of education, so that decisions made in urgent cases do not have to be overcome by correcting mistakes. We have presented five questions to the Prime Minister. I ask the respondent to read them and answer them one by one. Prime answers are provided by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas. Dear congratulations, first of all, thank you for submitting your inquiry and for serious questions! I assure all members of the Riigikogu, including those of course, that the Ministry of Finance has mapped the functions of the county governments in the preparation of the draft decree on the termination of county governments.
The Minister of Education and Research has confirmed that further fulfillment of the task of state and administrative supervision of educational institutions and counseling of educational institutions’ managers have been considered. The competence of supervision is fully concentrated under the Ministry of Education and Research. Currently, the monitoring resource is unevenly distributed across counties and does not depend on the size of educational institutions, the number of students and educational institutions. The term “educational management tasks” is used in the documents of the draft government reform. While in some of the documents the organization of school reform and the organization of pre-school education has been discussed in the state reform process, it is inaccurate.
In addition to supervision, we have also taken into account other educational organization tasks that county governments are currently carrying out in preparation for the reorganization of county governments. Now let me go specifically to your questions. As the interlocutors asked, I also read the questions in advance. The first question: «Who is currently assigned the tasks of the county government in the field of education? Has preparatory action and negotiations started with this institution? Educational and state supervision, as well as counseling of educational institutions and their administrators, are fully concentrated under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Research. The second question: «What role will the local government associations have had so far with professional support from specialists working in county governments?