Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) has bowed to the overwhelming pressure by hundreds of foreign students and parts of the Estonian society and backtracked from its earlier decision not to admit bachelor’s and master’s candidates from high coronavirus risk countries; the university is now aiming to mend its reputation by offering a compromise.
TalTech decided on 22 July not to admit bachelor’s and master’s candidates from what the university called “high coronavirus risk countries”, causing an uproar among hundreds of foreign students who had already made plans to start their studies this autumn. Several of them also wrote public letters and op-eds.
On 28 July, the university’s rector, Jaak Aaviksoo, issued a public letter to the affected candidates, explaining why the university made such decision and what opportunities the candidates will be offered in the future. Estonian World publishes the letter in full.
“TalTech genuinely recognises your dismay at the decision concerning this year’s intake, which has been expressed to university representatives and other related authorities. We assure you that such conclusion was reached due to the announcement of the order of the Government of the Republic of Estonia that establishes the requirements, measures, and restrictions relating to the prevention of the spread of coronavirus.
“According to the order, the university is, in terms of obligations and responsibilities, liable for the fulfilment of the epidemiological requirements applicable to international students. TalTech as a university with the largest number of international students is not capable of ensuring that these conditions are fully and appropriately met. Complying with the set rules is crucial for us in order to ensure the safety of our students, employees and society as a whole. Therefore, we are unable to admit new students arriving from the countries specified in the order.
“We understand that this disheartening decision was made due to circumstances out of your control and we recognise your aspiration to study at TalTech.
“In an attempt to find solutions for your requests, we propose you the possibility to defer your study place for September 2021 intake without the need to re-apply, given that the situation has improved and current restrictions have been lifted.
“Additionally, we can offer the candidates to start their studies already this year by taking courses available online through Open University. Passed subjects will be counted as a part of your study load once you are matriculated for the academic year 2021/2022.
“We sincerely hope that presented options provide some relief in these unfortunate circumstances.”
Cover: A group of TalTech students. Photo by TalTech.