The Pärnu Youth Council and the Estonian School Student Councils' Union have opened a website that allows students to compare Pärnu public schools on different criteria – from the number of foreign languages taught to the size of parking lots. The idea – which the developers hope to expand to a nation-wide scale – is to help students in selecting secondary schools and shift emphasis away from measuring exam results.
Currently, the only public criteria for ranking secondary schools in Estonia is state exam results. The statistics are published by the National Examinations and Qualifications Centre and in major Estonian newspapers and journals. The discussion over whether more complex criteria should be used in evaluating schools has long been subject to intense debate, however little progress has been made in actually developing and publishing such criteria. According to ESSCU representative Robert Aps, the Pärnu initiative represents a first step towards developing such criteria.
The website compares six Pärnu public schools on the basis of languages taught, opportunities for swimming lessons, career counseling, the existence of a library and lockers, number of parking spaces for cars and bicycles, distance to the nearest bus stop, meal prices and many other criteria.