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

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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

2015

Adult education programme

Definition of the policy document: Programme under the Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020, financed from state and the EU budget.

Policy domain concerned: adult education.

Authority responsible: Ministry of Education and Research.

Time frame: 2015−2018.

Reasons/aims/objectives of the reform: Although the adult participation rate in lifelong learning has increased, the high share of people without a vocational or professional qualification continues to be problematic. In 2013, this group formed 29.6% of population aged 25−64. The share of people without secondary education is higher in younger age groups. Adults with lower levels of education are in an unfavourable situation both in terms of participation in the labour market and in lifelong learning. Improving the level of education and better skills help to increase the competitiveness of the target group in the labour market, decrease structural labour shortages and increase the number of people employed.     

The general purpose of the programme is to motivate adults to participate in lifelong learning and to create high-quality and flexible learning opportunities that take into consideration labour market needs.

The preferred target group for the training activities under the prgoramme includes people without secondary education and/or without professional training and learners with outdated skills.

Amount of funding: In 2015−2018, the total funding will be 22.4 million euros, including EU structural funds of 15.4 million euros. 

Main activities:

  • Measures will be taken to bring people without basic and secondary education back to formal education, incl. support system for people acquiring general education in the form of non-stationary study;
  • Further efforts will be made to extend the recognition of non-formal and informal learning. RPL principles will be developed and implemented for general education schools;
  • Non-formal education and retraining will be supported, incl. for adults employed or entering employment in the areas of economic growth, to develop key competencies, incl. digital skills, and to increase their readiness for learning;
  • Measures will be taken to increase the quality, flexibility and transparency of the non-formal education and training offered to adults;
  • Estonian Qualifications Framework will be developed further; efforts will be made to inform target groups and social partners of aspects related to the implementation of the Estonian and the European qualifications frameworks;
  • The functioning of the Estonian occupational qualifications system, incl.  further development of professional examinations, will constantly be improved; etc.


Expected impact and changes:

  • The programme has a positive impact on the participation rate in lifelong learning among adults;
  • Measures taken under the programme contribute to decrease in  the percentage of adults (25-64)  with general education only (with no professional or vocational education) by bringing adults with low level of education back to formal education;
  •  Institutional capacity to support adult learners with low levels of skills in formal education has improved. As an outcome, a negative trend indicating the decrease in numbers of adult students in the non-stationary general education has reversed  and drop-out rate has decreased from 35% in 2013 to 32% in 2018;
  • The percentage of 25+ learners in VET has increased from 26,3% in 2013 to  31% in 2018;
  • One of the aims of the recently adopted Adult Education Act is to increase the transparency of training institutions´ activities. As a result all non-formal training curricula are outcome-based and available on the websites of the training institutions;  
  • Estonian Qualifications Framework has been implemented and it is in full compliance with EQF;
  •  Estonian occupational qualifications system is in compliance with the expectations of the educational system and the labour market;
  • VET institutions have acquired greater credibility among stakeholders; the number of  students graduating from VET with professional examination passed successfully  has increased.


2013

Modernisation of vocational education system and curricula

Definition of policy development: regulation and legislative document.

Policy domain concerned: Vocational Education and Training, Organisation and Governance, Teachers and Education Staff, Management and Other Education Staff.

Authority responsible: Ministry of Education and Research.

Coordinating/implementing bodies: vocational educational institutions, institutions of professional higher education.

Budget: 5 million euro.

Time frame:  adopted – 2013; entry into force – 2013; date of full implementation – 2014.

As of 1 September 2013, a new Vocational Educational Institution Act (adopted by Riigikogu on 12.06 2013 and a new Vocational Education Standard (adopted by the Government of the Republic on 26.08.2013) are implemented.

Reasons/aims/objectives of the reform: The main purpose of the reform is to make vocational training more practical, efficient and in higher conformity with the requirements of the labour market. The new Vocational Educational Institutions Act forms a legal basis for the reform.  Implementation of the reform of vocational education system and curricula makes the use of the funds allocated to vocational education more cost-effective.

 Main actions and measures:    

  •  Vocational education curricula will be given an output-based approach proceeding from the updated professional standards, will be brought into conformity with the Estonian qualifications framework, and conditions will be created for intensifying studies and shortening the total study period;
  •  In some curriculum groups where so far only post-secondary vocational education was provided, also curricula on vocational secondary education level will be compiled and introduced, and short curricula for partial professional qualification will be developed;
  •  Learning opportunities will be created for raising the professional qualification and acquiring qualification level V;
  •  Activities for improving practical training and raising quality of teaching;
  •  The state-commissioned education and funding system of vocational education will be modernised;

In order to substantially enhance vocational education, increase its effect and ensure sustainability, additional measures need to be implemented:

  • decrease dropout rate in vocational education;
  • continue investments into the enhancement of the quality of practical training;
  • improving the efficiency of in-company placement with quality supervision of the trainee in both the school and the company;
  • increase the share and total number of students graduating with professional examination;
  • improve the employment of graduates in vocational education through better availability of career services;
  • increase the share of basic school graduates in vocational education by improving the choice of specialties;
  •  it might be necessary to create a system of scholarships to prepare skilled labour in required amount for sectors of priority in Estonia;
  •  a new funding system that takes into account performance must be implemented.

Expected impact and changes:

  • specification of new types of vocational training; the vocational education curricula formed on the basis of the new vocational education standard shall be divided into the study types of 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th level on the basis of the Estonian qualification framework;
  •  continuous application of the output-based approach in establishing assessment, vocational training types, curricula and qualification requirements for employees in the field of schooling and education;
  •  implementation of the right to conduct studies – this right must be applied for by all vocational educational institutions and institutions of professional higher education that offer vocational training regardless of their legal status; further accreditation is needed to extend the right;
  • making the management of the vocational educational institutions more collegial;
  • establishing qualification requirements for teachers on the basis of vocational standards;
  •  specifying and implementing the new unit of calculation for study load (Estonian vocational education credit point - EKAP), which bases on the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET);
  • the principles of funding of schools are changed and the expenses of the schools are covered in accordance with the obligations and tasks undertaken by the school, ensuring the quality of the provided vocational training;


References:

Vocational Educational Institutions Act
Vocational Education Standard