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The President of the Republic's Academic Council discussed social cohesion aspects

The President of the Republic today at Kadriorg discussed social cohesion issues with the President's Academic Council.

Sociologist Liana-Mai Tooting, an associate professor of the University of Tartu, gave an overview of educational trends in Estonia on the basis of coherence analysis. In her words, from the point of view of social cohesion, the problem of early interruption of educational path plays an important role.

Director General of the National Institute for Health Development, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Maarike Harro, spoke about public health trends and respective forecasts. She highlighted that the high mortality rate that continues to be a problem in Estonia is currently at the same level as it was in 1950-ies. In the words of Dr. Harro, it was worth to study the fact that on the time axis the percentage of the danger of not coping socially has similar profile with the trend of injuries, but also homicides and suicides. The charts illustrating the presentation clearly indicated that education is a prerequisite for health and better social cohesion.

The head of the Sociology and Social Policy Department of the University of Tartu, Rein Murakas (MSocSc) spoke about the trends in material basis underlying the social differentiation of the quality of life. According to him, it is unfortunate that the risk groups, whose need for assistance is the highest in society, are the least covered by national research studies. Also the data on the counties is not adequately representative.

In his presentation, Professor Mikk Titma, a member of the Academic Council, spoke about long-term trends in connection with the problems of social cohesion. He claimed that every year in Tallinn not less that 250 people froze to death. Professor Titma pointed out that in order to make competent decisions a real picture about risk groups based on national statistics and special studies was needed. He emphasized that the state's responsibility for constitutionally guaranteed education has to be clearly written into educational reform. Concluding his presentation, Professor Titma spoke about the responsibility of the elite and claimed that in Estonia the relations between important groups of the elite were abnormally politicized so that it was not possible any more to guide the society towards strategic directions. As a solution, Mikk Titma suggested that regular discussions among the elite groups should be institutionalized.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, March 17, 2005

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