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Estonia:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

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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

Digital Focus Programme

Definition of the policy document: Lifelong Learning Strategy Application Programme, funded from the EU and state budget. 

Relevant policy area: preschool education, basic education, general secondary education, vocational education and training, higher education, adult education.

Reasons/objectives of the changes: One of the goals of the Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020 is application of modern digital technology for teaching and learning more effectively and efficiently, improving the digital skills of the whole population and ensuring access to the new generation of digital infrastructure. Successful implementation of the modern approach to learning and an increase in the quality of learning requires students and teachers, teaching staffs and Heads of schools with digital competence. Use of digital learning resources helps to make learning more engaging, supports the teacher in the process of learning and broadens the opportunities in lifelong learning.

The digital focus programme concentrates on an improvement in the digital competences of learners, teachers, teaching staffs and Heads of schools and on a purposeful use of digital learning resources with a view to supporting the implementation of a modern approach to learning and an increase in the quality of study.    

Authority responsible: Ministry of Education and Research.

Period: 2015-2020.

Budget: about 47 million euro

Main activities and measures:

  • the curricula for basic schools and upper secondary schools as well as the curricula for vocational education will be updated in view of the acquisition of digital competences;  
  • exploitation of ICT in all subject areas of general education will be supported, the requirements for ICT competences in professional standards will be updated; digital competences of learners will be assessed at a regular basis;  
  • general digital skills of teachers and the teaching staffs will be developed; a digital skills self-assessment environment for teachers will be developed;
  • programmes targeted at the development of the digital skills of learners will be developed (e.g., ProgeTiiger, Robootika, TeadusTiiger, Wolfram) which also attracts learners into the areas of exact and natural sciences, engineering, design and technology and ICT;
  • in general education and vocational education the e-assessment methodology will be implemented; an information technology application will be developed for e-assessment (Eksamite Infosüsteem EIS (Examinations Information System)) which will be applied at all levels of education;
  • from 2015, new textbooks are digitally available; quality requirements for digital learning resources will be established; an information system for digital learning  resources will be developed and implemented;
  • development of digital learning resources for general and vocational education will be supported through competitions, tenders and contracted specialist work;
  • Schools and managers of schools will be supported in ensuring a suitable network connection in general education schools;
  • a needs-based support system will be created for providing students with personal digital devices.  


Expected impact and changes:

  • digital competence as one of the key competences is developed in all subjects and hobby activities; it is a natural part of the process of study;
  • digital competences of learners, teachers, teaching staffs and Heads of schools have improved;
  • digital learning resources are of a high quality and easily accessible to everyone;
  • public access to the new generation of digital infrastructure has improved;
  • schools have a modern digital infrastructure; personal digital devices, e.g., smart phones, are also used for learning on a daily basis.


Labour Market and Education Cooperation Programme

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

Policy domain concerned: general education, vocational education and training, lifelong learning, higher education.

Authority responsible: Ministry of Education and Research.

Time frame: 2015–2020(23).

Reasons/aims/objectives of the reform:

There are a number of bottlenecks in Estonian education at the moment:

  • the drop-out rate (especially among men) is high at all levels and types of education;
  • nearly one third of working age population does not have any professional qualification;
  • the participation rate of people with a lower qualification level in lifelong learning is low;
  • differences between the lifelong learning opportunities and labour market needs are too big;
  • educational institutions and labour market do not cooperate actively towards a development of lifelong learning system;
  • available information about developments in labour market and economy is not systematic;
  • the number of skilled workers with an appropriate qualification is not sufficient for the labour market;
  • Russian-medium educational institutions cannot provide everybody with good knowledge of Estonian.


The objective of the programme is to achieve a higher concordance of learning opportunities with labour market needs. 

Amount of funding: The total cost of the activities under the programme is 51 million euros, including 43.35 million of financing from the EU structural funds.  

Main activities:

  • labour market needs monitoring and forecasting system;
  • systematic development of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education at all levels of education;
  • increasing the quality of vocational education and training;
  • improving the image of vocational education and training;
  • development of practical training system in vocational and higher education;
  • extending work-based learning;
  • language training.

Expected impact and changes:

Labour market needs monitoring and forecasting system:

  • From 2016, the “labour market commissioned education”, which takes into consideration both a comprehensive need for labour and skills and labour supply and demographic situation, will be drawn up every year as a regular and systemic output of the coordination system of the surveillance and forecasting of the labour market and the development of skills (the OSKA system) . The results of the OSKA system will include an input for career counselling system, development of educational institutions curricula and various authorities that finance learning activities.   

Systematic development of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education:

  • An approach to learning that promotes development of entrepreneurship will be implemented at all levels and in all types of education; it will be supported by modern learning resources and a developed support system;    
  • The students participating in the activities under the programme will have an opportunity to obtain practical entrepreneurship education, in which entrepreneurs encourage and support setting up a business;
  • School graduates will have an entrepreneurial attitude, knowledge and readiness to set up a business, and could apply their skills in various areas;
  • Teacher training and in-service training for teachers will ensure acquisition of entrepreneurship competencies and, as an additional subject, business competencies.   

Increasing the quality of vocational education:

  • Coherence between the labour market and vocational training will be improved;
  • The degree of reliability of the national recognition process, incl. accreditation, will allow the schools, which have successfully passed the national recognition process, to extend the right to conduct studies in curriculum groups;
  • Interest groups, incl. schools, will get  feedback about the quality and strengths of their teaching and education as well as the areas to be improved;
  • Accreditation documents of schools will become publicly accessible and form a basis for an analysis and management decisions..  

Improving the image of vocational education and training:

  • The image of vocational education and training will improve;
  • The awareness of students of general education schools of vocational education opportunities will increase and the share of the students among basic school graduates commencing their studies in vocational schools will also increase;
  • Information about vocational education and training opportunities (incl. work-based learning) is up-to-date and available;
  • The promotion activities of vocational educational institutions are systematic and targeted.

Development of practical training system in vocational and higher education:

  • The readiness of students to enter and successfully cope in the labour market will increase; upon graduation, a student will gain an experience in a work environment;
  • Achieving of learning outcomes during practical training and a need for practical training will be valued and supported by educational institutions, students and employers;
  • Organisation of practical training in educational institutions is unified, transparent and meets the needs of the interest groups. Cooperation between the educational institutions and employers will become more intense.   

 Extending work based learning:

  • Vocational education and training will become better linked to the needs of the society, economy and the labour market;
  • The share of young people (18−24 years) who are not in education will be  decreased. The qualification level of labour force will increase and the structural labour shortage decrease, ensuring a smoother transition from education to employment and an opportunity to participate in lifelong learning; 
  • Organisation of work-based learning is unified and transparent and meets the needs of relevant parties; more employers will be involved in the conduct of learning.

Language training:

  • VET schools will be more efficient in implementing transition to Estonian-medium teaching (target group:  Russian speaking students) and managing multilingual and multicultural study groups; Estonian language proficiency and, consequently, the competitiveness of the graduates will improve; 
  • Additional foreign language training for VET and higher education students contributes to the improvement of the competitiveness of graduates as well as to internationalisation and mobility in  higher education;
  • The quality of language training will increase. Graduates from teacher training will have an opportunity to take an internationally recognised foreign language examination upon completing a curriculum; 
  • Awareness of Estonian people about the benefits of multilingualism will increase and opportunities for acquisition of language skills will be expanded.  


2014

The study and career counselling programme

Definition of policy document: Programme under the Lifelong Learning Strategy (2014-2020), financed from EU and state budget.

Policy domain concerned: Single structure Education, Secondary Education, Vocational Education and Training, Adult Education and Training.

Authority responsible: Ministry of Education and Research.

Time frame: 2014-2020

A study and a career counselling programme is aimed at children and young people up to 26 years of age and is being implemented under the Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2014-2020.

Reasons/aims/objectives of the reform: The analyses of the career services conducted in 2011 pointed out the biggest problematic areas in the field: eclectic funding, lack of career service providers and resulting big work load, lack of career guidance  for workers and the poor accessibility and coordination of service in rural areas.

"Contentment with and the availability of study counselling services", a survey conducted by the Praxis Centre for Policy Studies in 2011, demonstrated that nearly half of kindergartens and schools deemed their capacity to support children with special needs to be insufficient, and that the situation with support services was worse in rural areas than in establishments located in towns.

The programme foresees measures and activities which support the development of learners' knowledgeable choices, increase their sense of responsibility in making educational choices, and facilitate their participation in study that takes account of their abilities and supports individual development. The activities of the programme will guarantee the target group with study counselling, information and career services that have a high quality and comply with the service standard.

Through the county-based network of career counselling Rajaleidja ("Pathfinder") centres (15 of the Rajaleidja centres in total), the programme envisages an integrated approach to counselling services and an improvement of the quality and availability of services. A Rajaleidja centre offers the following services in its region:

  • mediation of career information,
  • career counselling and study counselling (special education, speech therapeutic, socio-pedagogical and psychological counselling).

In addition to the offering of career and study counselling services, the programme foresees also the development of the network of the Rajaleidja centres, implementation of the quality management system,  training of career and study counselling specialists, the evaluation and monitoring of the quality of services, the composition and distribution of methodological and guidance publications, etc.

Amount of funding: 58.5 million euros (34 927 541 EUR from ESF and state budget  + additional 23 646 398 euros planned from state budget).

Expected impact and changes: Rendering systematic, thoroughly considered and coordinated career services (also involving information and counselling) would allow young people to make informed choices in lifelong learning and in working life and, consequently, contribute to an increase of young people continuing their educational pathways and decrease in number of dropouts. As an outcome, employability of young people will increase in a longer run.