The can of hobby education worms

3 October 2013

Hobby financing issues still unsettled

Few are the areas with such overabundance of documents, filled with swelling words, as children’s hobby education. Research revealing the little «hobbied» ones as more successful in future studies and life as such.

In both cases, results are quite clearly measured. And not by future science, culture and sports greats alone – but, also, by youth unemployment, the plague of all Europe. «Hobbies grant children ways of self expression, they develop a feeling of belonging, a support network. Via hobbies, they can gain recognition, grow in confidence, discover their potential – often hidden with formal education,» underlines the 2013 year-book on youth monitoring by Praxis, a think tank.

Still the politicians, while enthusiastically emphasising creativity, innovation, knowledge and what not, have failed to find solutions with state capitation fees helping parents/local governments in their endeavours. Quoting Margus Tsahkna (IRL), head of Riigikogu social affairs committee: firstly; where to find such money; secondly: how to guarantee it [the money] really reaches hobby education.

In other words: that the extra euros would not end up lost in local government coffers, nor providing beer for problematic parents. Any universal subsidy poses risks of money thrown to the wind. The more so that the background of hobby-education-providers is patchy, to say the least.

Lacking answers, state hobby money was now also cut from 2014 budget; explicit promises by coalition (2014 is the year) watered down to «sometimes, in the future». Let’s hope the words were not election talk, only. Hobby education being no less socially sensitive than state officials’ salaries.

Sure: state money would be no magic wand making all equal. Some sports are more expensive. In cities, opportunities will always be more abundant than in back country. In village life, it will often take a local fanatic, anyhow – with all respect.

Extra fanatics spawned by state money? Questionable… Surely, however, gaps between families would be somewhat narrowed. As stated, this spring, by Chancellery of the Riigikogu legal and analysis department: while, during the global economic crisis, hobby education average attendance rather increased, the rich-poor family gap has more than doubled since 2007.

Source: Editorial: the can of hobby education worms, PM