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The Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia has announced that high school students who achieve a high level of English will be able to take the C1 Advanced qualification from Cambridge English, in place of their school-leaving English test which is set at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference.
Education Minister Mailis Reps explains that “Starting this autumn we will give all young people the opportunity to take an international English language test free of charge and thereby increase students’ competitiveness and widen their options. Hundreds of Young People in Estonia take internationally recognised English language tests and pay a considerable fee. The state wishes to give students from families that cannot at present afford such fees the same opportunity.”
The initiative has been welcomed by the Estonian Teachers Association, whose leader Margit Timakov said “It is very positive that the state is showing support to those students whose language skills are higher than the B2 level which is measured by the state examination.”
According to Alistair Starling, head of strategic development Cambridge English in Europe, “Estonia already delivers a very high standard of English language teaching, and the B2 level school leaving qualification is one of the highest such standards in Europe. In Cambridge we regularly see Estonian students achieving higher average scores in high-level Cambridge English exams than candidates from any other country in the world. We are delighted that students whose English language skills exceed the B2 level will be able to choose Cambridge English’s C1 Advanced exam, which will give them fantastic opportunities to work for top companies in Estonia and to sustain the growth of these companies. Just as importantly by increasing the number of graduates who can prove that they have really high level English-language skills, the government is making an important investment in the country’s economic competitiveness.”
C1 Advanced is part of the Cambridge English Qualifications, a suite of exams developed and run by Cambridge English and delivered though secure exam centres in more than 70 countries. It proves that the candidate has the in-depth language skills they need for success in higher education and professional life. As such one of the most widely recognised English qualifications for admission to universities worldwide, including all UK universities and universities across Europe and North America’, as well as employers, immigration authorities and other government agencies.
“Cambridge English exists to help people learn English and prove their skills to the world”, continues Starling. “We work with governments and other institutions all over the world, and as far as I know Estonia is the first country to integrate such a high-level international qualification into its school curriculum. We have been enormously impressed by the vision and professionalism of our colleagues, both in the education ministry and in Foundation Innove who will implement the exam.”