From January 1, the city government will introduce a system where students who haven’t registered as a citizen of Tallinn will loose their student discount opportunities in public transportation.
“This system is discriminatory against a big group of students that already have more costs and bureaucratic hassle than the local inhabitants. It is also directly discouraging foreign students who want to come to Estonia to study,” says Maris Mälzer, chairperson of EÜL, the Estonian national union of students.
On December 16, hundreds of students protested in Tallinn. It was -15 degrees outside and breaking wind, but this did not keep students from defending their rights.
The ticket prices will increase by more than 300 per cent, and this will affect more than 20 000 students studying at the moment in Tallinn. It also affects all the foreign students and those students who do one or more semesters in Tallinn.
“Estonia is one of the countries that has most problems with providing equitable access to higher education. Its support for students is only merit based and provided for less than 16 per cent of the students. The amount is not even enough to cover the rental costs in a dormitory, and the decision made by Tallinn can be considered as an another major setback for students”, says Mälzer.