The organisation of Estonian language learning in restricted language environments:  creating sustainable and effective integrated solutions 

The knowledge and use of the Estonian language play an important role in increasing cohesion in Estonian society. Therefore, it is important to focus language learning activities on increasing the proportion of people with active Estonian language skills. According to the latest integration monitoring, 41% of the population of a different nationality speak Estonian actively and 51% passively. Although language learning has been consistently funded and provided, the demand for free Estonian language learning is significantly higher than the supply.

While language learning has so far been targeted at all who wish to learn and all different target groups, in the near future, it is hoped to focus language learning provision on low-skilled permanent residents with passive language skills, family migrants and beneficiaries of temporary protection. The aim of this study is to identify the specific characteristics of these three groups, e.g. facilitating factors, barriers, motivation and environmental factors in relation to Estonian language learning, and how different language learning services can increase the proportion of people with active language skills among these target groups.

In order to meet the objectives of the study, research questions have been set:

  1. What are the archetypes of the priority target groups (LEPs, family migrants and beneficiaries of temporary protection) and how can they be reached? 
  2. How do language policies help to ensure the effectiveness of language learning for priority target groups (including legislation)? 
  3. How can language learning activities be made more effective so that they develop learners’ active language skills?
  4. To what extent do the language learning activities of the Ministry of Culture and INSA’s Estonian language houses and partner organisations meet the needs of priority target groups, their learning abilities, attitudes and socio-economic status?  
  5. What are the main barriers for target group representatives to (a) starting language learning; (b) staying stable in language learning activities; (c) successfully completing language learning/continuing at a new level?  
  6. What are the ways in which people support their learning outside organised activities? What life changes is the target person prepared to make in his/her life in order to make room for language learning activities that will produce the desired results? 
  7. How can the learning motivation and participation of priority target groups in INSA language learning activities be supported? 
  8. How and to what extent are the different INSA language learning activities interlinked, coordinated and mutually supportive?  
  9. How can the language learning module of the adaptation programme be linked to INSA services so that family migrants and beneficiaries of international protection can learn the language at a pace that suits them and move smoothly up the language ladder? 
  10. What is INSA’s capacity to organise use-based language learning in cooperation with external partners (cultural and sporting institutions, non-profit organisations and employers)? 
  11. What services will be needed in the future for language learners? How should the sustainability of results be supported, including in the EU financial period 2021–2027? 

These research questions will be answered by combining both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods. To this end, secondary sources and data will be analysed, an online survey will be carried out and interviews will be conducted with stakeholders and target groups. The results will be validated in a validation workshop with all relevant stakeholders.