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Estonia:Organisation

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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


Geographical Accessibility

Local governments are obliged to provide all children aged from 1.5 to 7 years permanently residing in their catchment area with the opportunity to attend a preschool child care institution in the catchment area if the parents so wish. This obligation includes children with physical, speech, sensual or intellectual disabilities or those who need special help or special care (children with special educational needs).

For children with special needs, conditions will be created for learning in integration groups together with other children. If there are no possibilities to establish an integration group in a local child care institution, the local municipality or city government creates special groups or establishes special preschools.

Lisbon strategy sets out that by 2020, 95% of all children from 4 years old to school age (i.e. in Estonia, children aged 4 to 6) will be involved in basic education programmes.

According to the data of the Estonian Education Information System, as of 2015/2016, 68,331 children attended 634 preschool child care institutions. 77% of children aged 1.5-3 years and 95.6% of children aged 4-6 years attended preschool child care institutions.

In 2007–2013, the Government of the Republic supported local governments in creating new preschool places and renovating the existing ones from European Structural Funds to the extent of approximately 47 million euros. Support for local governments for creating new preschool places is included also in the next ESF period 2014-2020 in the amount of approximately 40.5 million euros to be covered by the ESF and ERDF measures. The amendments to the Preschool Child Care Institutions Act adopted in 2014 allow local government to be flexible in providing preschool places for children aged 1.5-3 years. At the request and with the agreement of a parent, a local government can replace a preschool place for day care, whereas the parent’s own contribution must not exceed 20% of the minimum wage established by a Regulation of the Government of the Republic.  

Admission Requirements and Choice of Institution/Centre

The procedures for admission to and dismissal of children from a preschool child care institution and determination of the catchment area of the institution are established by the municipality or city government. Parents need to submit an application for admission. Offering a place may also be regulated by a bilateral agreement. As preschool child care institutions work in the rhythm of an academic year, deadlines for submission of applications are generally established.

Parents are free in their choice of the child care institution for their child if there are vacant places in the child care institution they wish the child to attend. Allocation of places by local governments is based on the preference of parents in terms of proximity to home or to employment. A rural municipality or city government admits to a child care institution first the children residing in the catchment area of the child care institution, giving preference to a child, if possible, the other children of whose family attend the same child care institution. If vacant places exist after the admission of children residing in the catchment area, children from outside the catchment area shall be admitted, preferring first the children residing in the same rural municipality or city and thereafter children of parents who are employed in the catchment area.  

Children with special educational needs are admitted to an integration or special group on the basis of a written application of a parent and a decision of the advisory committee. The procedure and principles for admission of children to and their exclusion from a special preschool or group have been established by a regulation of the Minister of Education and Research.

Age Levels and Grouping of Children

Based on needs and possibilities, crèche and preschool groups are formed in preschool child care institutions. Preschool groups are divided as follows:

  • Children between three and six years of age;
  • Children between six and seven years of age and the children in whose case commencement of performance of the duty to attend school has been postponed.

Parents or guardians may submit proposals for the formation of mixed groups. Mixed groups include crèche-aged and preschool-aged children. 

On the proposal of the director of a child care institution, a rural municipality or city government may, as required, form integration groups in child care institutions where children with special needs learn together with other children, and groups for children with special needs, which include only children with special needs. The maximum size of a crèche group is 14 children, of a preschool group – 20 children and of a mixed group – 18 children.

The number of children in a group for children with special needs is smaller: up to 12 children in a group for children with physical disabilities; up to 12 children in a remedial group for children with a speech disorders and a specific development disorders; up to 7 children in a development group for children with an intellectual disability; up to 10 children in a group for children with sensory disabilities, up to 4 children in a group for children with a multiple disability and 4 children in a group for children with an autism spectrum disorder.

The number of children in an integration group depends on the number of children with special needs, while one child with special needs is considered to account for three ordinary children.

With a view to ensuring children a safe environment, the organisation of work of the employees at a child care institution proceeds from the principle that during the working hours of a group, a person employed in the field of learning and teaching or an employee assisting the teacher is in a crèche group together with up to seven children, in a mixed group together with up to nine children, in a preschool group together with up to ten children, in an integration group together with up to eight children and in a group for children with special needs together with two to six children, depending on the special needs of the children.    

Organisation of Time

A preschool child care institution operates throughout the year or on a seasonal basis. The rural municipality or city government decides, on the proposal of the board of trustees, whether a preschool child care institution operates throughout the year or seasonally and establishes the opening hours of the preschool child care institution, taking into account the needs of the families of the respective region.

If on the territory of a local government the temporary need for child care institution places is greater than the total number of existing places, the local government will provide all persons interested with the opportunity to obtain a part-time place at a preschool institution.

The school year begins on 1 September and lasts from the start of studies in one calendar year until the start of new studies in the next calendar year.

Teaching and learning at a preschool child care institution are based on the daily schedule of the group, which determines the daily routine appropriate to the age of the children where daily activities, play, free time and teaching and learning planned by a teacher alternate. The daily schedule shall be approved by a directive of the director of the child care institution, based on the curriculum of the child care institution and taking into consideration health protection requirements, opening hours of the child care institution as well as age and individual needs of the children.

Upon planning teaching and learning of a group, the objectives, subject matter, content of teaching and activities of the planned period (a week, a month, etc.) shall be specified. Planning of teaching and learning of a group shall be flexible and enable the teacher to make changes, if necessary. The curriculum of a preschool child care institution shall not determine the number of teaching and learning activities per week and the timing thereof. Teaching and learning is an integrated process throughout the day a child spends in a preschool child care institution and lessons are not separated from the rest of the activities. 

The daily schedule shall take into account recommendations on the time children spend in fresh air as well as healthy eating habits. The daily schedule for children aged 1 to 3 shall include time for sleep at least once a day. Older children shall be provided at least one hour of rest for sleeping or other quiet activities. Children with special needs shall be provided time for sleep based on the health and developmental characteristics of the child. The daily schedule sets out the time a child is taken to the child care institution and the time the child is taken home, considering the organisation of teaching and learning and recommendations of the board of trustees. Every day the child shall stay outside once or twice a day depending on the weather conditions.   

The daily schedule for children of 6 to 7 years of age include activities aimed at smooth adaptation to school life. Emphasis is put on developing psychical processes (perception, memory, imagination and thinking) and formation of basic study skills (observation and listening skills, abilities to compare, rate, count, measure, group and model).

Legislative References

Preschool Child Care Institutions Act

National curriculum for preschool child care institutions

Social Welfare Act

Health protection requirements for the buildings, premises, furnishings, internal climate and maintenance of preschool child care institutions