More than one third of schools don´t have an education licence

10/9/2003 | 12:00 AM

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TALLINN, 9 October 2003 - The SAO audited the arrangements for the issue of education licences to basic schools and upper secondary schools and established that although according to the law all schools must have education licences, the requirement is applied only to private schools.

The audit revealed that at the beginning of the previous academic year almost two fifths of municipal schools did not possess an education licence. The reason was one of the following: the school did not conform to requirements set by the government or the conformity of the school had not been assessed in accordance with the established procedure or the school had decided that it was not essential to apply for a licence.

Jüri Kõrge, the Chief Auditor of the Operational Risks Audit Department said that an education licence is, in itself, an operating licence: "Under the Penal Code, operating without having a licence to this end can be considered as a criminal offence, but because of their large number it would be unrealistic to close schools not having an education licence. Therefore the SAO made a proposal to the Minister of Education and Research to consider the option of the government accepting the real situation and waiving the education licence requirement in the case of municipal schools. The Minister does not find this right and he has set the objective that all municipal schools have licences by the autumn of 2006 at the latest."

However, even the possession of a licence would not solve all the problems, because, given the current system of education licences, the possession of a licence cannot be considered as an assurance that the schools meets the requirements set by the government as to the quality of tuition and education work and as to equipment and facilities. The possession of a licence means only that at the time of submitting the licence application the school had the prerequisites for organising the work in a proper manner.

For the purpose of determining whether the school meets the requirements after receiving the licence, its activities must be monitored. The audit findings referred to material deficiencies and an example to begin with is the fact that one fifth of schools have not been inspected at all in the last five years and that the quality of inspections and the imposition of sanctions varies from county to county.

The arrangement of government supervision is mainly the task of County Governments and the Ministry of Education and Research can influence their activities indirectly only. The Ministry reported on several additional measures it has implemented in order to make government supervision more efficient, but implied that the effective results could be expected only after extensive and substantive changes to be made in the framework of the administrative reform. Also, the Minister considers it necessary to improve the efficiency of the supervision measures applied by the bodies managing schools (mostly local government units).

Sven Soiver
Press Representative of State Audit Office
Telephone: (372) 640 0787
GSM: (372) 53 414464
E-mail: [email protected]

  • Posted: 10/9/2003 12:00 AM
  • Last Update: 10/2/2015 4:21 PM
  • Last Review: 10/2/2015 4:21 PM

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