To be – no doubt – but how?
Never before has Estonia been so well-known in the world as now, a hundred years later. The reason is simple: we exist now, we are visible also in the international arena now, and we have been there for quite some time already. The international situation of recent years definitely raises existential questions for us again, but, despite that, the question “to be or not to be?” is beginning to be replaced by the question “how to go on?”.
What the vision or big narrative of Estonia should be, was discussed in the “Riigikogu Toimetised” conversation circle with participation by representatives of all factions, as usual. A number of ideas were revealed in the conversation circle as to how a self-confident and wealthy nation could securely live here also in a hundred years’ time. All participants in the conversation circle mentioned as an important aim that the Estonian people should be educated.
This issue of “Riigikogu Toimetised” discusses the topic of the future of Estonia as the focus topic, and is more essayistic than usually. The writings keep in mind also a further time horizon, but in details they have mostly remained in the predictable future, the forthcoming decade.
The focus topic is divided into three sub-fields: economy, population and education. First, as Estonia’s wealth cannot lie in the prospect of being a merely raw material country, it is extremely important to engage in innovation in our economy, and Tea Danilov writes about that. She is seconded by Indrek Tammeaid, who discusses the problematics of product design which is an inseparable companion to innovation.
Second, it is impossible to build up a state without people. It would certainly be the best if our birth rate increased, but Urmas Varblane and Rein Taagepera speak about immigration culture and economy. Leaving aside potential immigration, it is possible to make better use also of our existing labour force, and those over 45 need on no account be written off. Aimar Altosaar writes about social (labour force) innovation.
Third, education and research could be a “fool-proof” field of investment. Andres Koppel and others study where Estonian science has reached in the past twenty five years, and where it might reach in 2051. In their opinion, research and development in Estonia could take more account of social and economic interests in the future.
Two remaining remarkable writings are also directly related to the issue of education: “The Role of Regional Institutions of Higher Education in Local Development” by Anne Keerberg, and the essay “Local Institution of Higher Education as the Best Regional Policy Tool” by Garri Raagmaa. Anne Keerberg, who is the Director of Kuressaare College of Tallinn University of Technology, introduces the results of a relevant study, and Garri Raagmaa (who has been the Head of Pärnu College of the University of Tartu in the past) brings a number of practical examples of how taking institutions of higher education to problematic regions has been one of the most effective regional development measures of all.
Space prohibits mentioning all articles, but in conclusion we will point out that, in cooperation of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu, the “Riigikogu Toimetised” editorial office and the Website Coordinator of the Public Relations Department of the Chancellery Kristi Püümann, a new web environment of “Riigikogu Toimetised” has been launched now. This is not a thing in itself. The progress in user convenience can be compared to taking into use of certain new buses on a certain bus line in Estonia. The whole text corpus, starting from the first issue of “Riigikogu Toimetised”, is searchable with any keyword, and the environment is very conveniently navigable and, there is no denying it, simply looks beautiful!