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Estonia:Lifelong Learning Strategy

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Overview Estonia

Contents

Estonia:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Estonia:Historical Development

Estonia:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Estonia:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Estonia:Political and Economic Situation

Estonia:Organisation and Governance

Estonia:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Estonia:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Estonia:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Estonia:Organisation of Private Education

Estonia:National Qualifications Framework

Estonia:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Estonia:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Estonia:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Estonia:Funding in Education

Estonia:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Estonia:Higher Education Funding

Estonia:Adult Education and Training Funding

Estonia:Early Childhood Education and Care

Estonia:Organisation

Estonia:Teaching and Learning

Estonia:Assessment

Estonia:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Estonia:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Estonia:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Estonia:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Estonia:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Estonia:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Estonia:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Estonia:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Estonia:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Estonia:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Estonia:Higher Education

Estonia:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Estonia:First Cycle Programmes

Estonia:Bachelor

Estonia:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Estonia:Second Cycle Programmes

Estonia:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Estonia:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Estonia:Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Distribution of Responsibilities

Estonia:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Estonia:Main Providers

Estonia:Main Types of Provision

Estonia:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Estonia:Teachers and Education Staff

Estonia:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Estonia:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Estonia:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Estonia:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Management and Other Education Staff

Estonia:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Estonia:Management Staff for Higher Education

Estonia:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Estonia:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Quality Assurance

Estonia:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Estonia:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Educational Support and Guidance

Estonia:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Estonia:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Estonia:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Estonia:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Estonia:Mobility and Internationalisation

Estonia:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Mobility in Higher Education

Estonia:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Estonia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Estonia:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Estonia:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Estonia:National Reforms in School Education

Estonia:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Estonia:National Reforms in Higher Education

Estonia:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Estonia:European Perspective

Estonia:Legislation

Estonia:Glossary

Since the restoration of independence, it has been considered necessary to develop a uniform education strategy that would cover the whole spectrum of lifelong learning and several attempts have been made towards creating it (in 1998 and 2001, the draft strategies were discussed by the Riigikogu), but so far no final results have been formulated, mainly for political reasons as the drafts have been perceived as those of the current minister (or the ruling party).  

The broad lines of Estonian education system have most comprehensively been described in the Estonian long term development plan “Sustainable Estonia 21”.

In 2009, in cooperation of three institutions, the Estonian Cooperation Assembly, the Estonian Education Forum and the Ministry of Education and Research, the process for developing a new lifelong learning strategy was initiated  and in 2011, draft Estonian education strategy for 2012-2020  “The five challenges of Estonian education“ was developed. The document was introduced at national and regional seminars in the framework of the EU funded project Elu5x (Estonian Strategy of Education – Lifelong Learning) with a view to achieving a broader acceptance and implementation of the strategy. The project was run by Estonian Cooperation Assembly.

The elaborate strategy Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020 equipped with measures and activities was approved by the Government of the Republic on 13 February 2014. 

It is a document which guides most important developments in education and is taken as a reference upon making decisions on the education budget in 2014-2020.  Unlike the previous draft education strategies, the present strategy is a strategy of choices, which treats only the most important problems related to lifelong learning, finding solutions for which is critical for the society and affects the achievement of several goals.

The general objective set out in the strategy is to create opportunities for learning to all people in Estonia pursuant to their needs and abilities throughout their life in order to guarantee them possibilities for dignified personal fulfilment in the society, work and family life.

On the basis of the above, five strategic goals have been set:

  1. CHANGED VIEWS ON LEARNING: Views on learning which contribute to the individual and social development, development of critical mind, creativity and entrepreneurship of every learner shall be implemented in all levels and types of education,   
  2. COMPETENT AND MOTIVATED TEACHERS AND HEADS OF SCHOOLS: There are competent and motivated teachers and heads working in schools; their work is evaluated on the basis of results and they are worthily remunerated.
  3. BRINGING LIFELONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES IN LINE WITH LABOUR MARKET NEEDS: Learning opportunities and career services which are of high quality and flexible with diversified choices and considering labour market needs contribute to an increase in awareness of Estonian people of learning paths and opportunities for professional fulfilment, and an increase in the number of people with professional qualification in different age groups.    
  4. THE E-LEAP IN LIFELONG LEARNING: Learners and teachers shall wisely and successfully apply digital learning, on the basis of which views on learning are updated and learning skills are improved.  
  5. INCREASE IN THE PARTICIPATION OF LIFELONG LEARNING AND EFFICIENT RESOURCE USAGE: participation in lifelong learning has increased and efficient resource usage contributes to the achievement of set goals.

For the implementation of these strategic goals, the Ministry of Education and Research has developed 9 programmes: a general education programme, a vocational education programme, a higher education programme, an adult education programme,  a teacher and school leadership programme, a learning resources programme, a study and career counselling programme, a labour market and education programme and a  school network programme.

In the recent years, several decisions have been taken to make opportunities for acquiring education more flexible.

In the first half of the 2000s, development of the system of taking into account the previous study and work experience (VÕTA) was started. On 1 January 2007, the provisions on implementation of VÕTA in higher education came into force within the higher education standard. In 2009, an amendment to the vocational education standard was passed, treating VÕTA on the vocational education level. The principles of VÕTA are also used within the system of assignment of professions.

The Basic Schools and Secondary Schools Act adopted in 2010 provides for a possibility to take into account, upon agreement between a student and a school, studies conducted outside the school’s curriculum (in particular, studying at a hobby school like musical school, sports school, art school) as part of teaching and education of the school.

In 2008, two programmes funded by ESF were launched: “Development of study counselling system”, under which regional study counselling centres were developed, and “Development of Career Services System”, which was meant to support young people to enter the labour market and stay in employment. In April 2014, on the basis of these programmes, Innove Foundation started the development of an integrated academic and career counselling system, and 1 September 2014, a network of county education support services centres or Rajaleidja (Pathfinder) centres, which provides free access to academic and career counselling for all children and young people up to 26 years of age, was launched.