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The President of the Republic met rectors of three private higher education institutions

President Rüütel today at Kadriorg met with the Rector of the University Nord, Ene Grauberg, the Rector of the EuroUniversity, Jüri Martin, and the Rector of the Tartu Academy of Theology, Eenok Haamer. At the meeting, the Rectors informed the President of the Republic about their positions on the Bill on Amendments to the Private Education Institution Act, and, thereafter, the place of private higher education in the Estonian education system and the state's role in private higher education were under discussion.

According to Rector Martin, the Cooperation Forum of Private Higher Education Institutions opined that the abovementioned bill should be withdrawn, for it contained provisions violating constitutional rights and the principles of free enterprise and equal treatment. The Rectors professed that the capital adequacy ratio as envisioned by the bill was not economically substantiated, the bill did not comply with the Competition Act and EU directives concerning competition, and the bill’s explanatory memorandum contained neither analysis, convincing arguments, nor required forecasts.

The President of the Republic suggested that our educational area in its entirety, including the system of higher education, needed revision, whereas our efforts should, in the first place, be directed towards higher quality. In President Rüütel's view, the higher education in Estonia was out of all proportion to the applied higher education and, thus, the applied higher education and vocational education should be valued more than so far.

The President of the Republic voiced his concern about Estonia's demographic situation and opined that all Estonian higher education institutions soon might have difficulties to enrol sufficient numbers of students. President Rüütel promised to inquire also about the opinions of rectors of public universities, the Minister of Education and the Prime Minister concerning the demographic problem and the Private Higher Education Institutions Bill, which is before the Parliament.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, November 12, 2003

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