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Estonia:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

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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

 

In 2013, the Riigikogu adopted a new Vocational Educational Institutions Act which considerably changed the existing organisation of vocational education. New types of vocational education were established, which are related to the levels of the Estonian Qualification Framework. For every type of vocational education, learning outcomes, i.e. the knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired as a result of learning, have been described in the Vocational Education Standard.

The placement of a curriculum on the qualification level shall be determined by the placement of a professional standard which serves as the basis of a curriculum on the Estonian Qualification Framework. The professional standards which serve as the basis of vocational training are placed on the second to fifth qualification level.

Vocational secondary education is vocational training of fourth level, in the course of which a student acquires secondary education with vocational and professional competencies.

Types of Institutions

Vocational training is organised by vocational educational institutions and some institutions of professional higher education. In 2016/17 academic year, there were 39 vocational educational institutions in Estonia, including 26 state vocational educational institutions, 3 municipal vocational educational institutions, 5 private vocational educational institutions and 5 institutions of professional higher education, which provide  vocational studies. 

Geographical Accessibility

Vocational school network has been repeatedly rearranged considering demographic trends and regional accessibility of vocational training. Access to vocation training shall be insured in all counties.

In most vocational schools, it is possible to study both on the basis of basic and secondary education.  In some vocational schools, it is also possible to study according to vocational education curricula without the requirement of basic education, where no preconditions exist for students regarding their prior level of education and where a student acquires only a vocation. 

In order to ensure access to learning, the students are compensated for the public transport costs relating to the participation in studies and students aged up to 20 years without secondary education are provided with free school lunch. Additionally, a school can grant specific support to students in a difficult financial situation. The students who succeed in their studies are entitled to receive education allowance on the basis of a ranking list in the amount of 60 euro per month. Most of the vocational educational institutions have dormitories that provide students with accommodation at a favourable cost.

Vocational schools may, as an exception related to the organisation of studies, carry out vocational training in basic school and upper secondary school. This  offers students acquiring basic education or general secondary education an opportunity to acquire basic professional and vocational knowledge and skills.

 Admission Requirements and Choice of School

The condition for commencement of vocational education on the basis of basic education or of vocational secondary education (as of 1 September 2013, level 4 vocational education according to the Estonian Qualifications Framework, hereinafter EQF) is having acquired basic education. Persons with no basic education may commence studies according to curricula where no preconditions exist for students regarding their prior level of education (as of 1 September 2013, level 2 and level 3 professional education according to EQF). As of 1 September 2013, persons without basic education and aged 22 years or older may exceptionally commence studies according to the curricula of vocational secondary education if they demonstrate competencies corresponding to the level of basic education. The existence of the required competencies is assessed by the school. 

The state and local authorities must provide all interested persons with the opportunity to acquire vocational secondary education. The procedure for the admission of students to a school shall be provided for in the regulation of the minister responsible for the field, which establishes, for example, the procedure for the formation of the admission commission and its tasks as well as the procedure for the submission of admission documents, etc.

 

Age Levels and Grouping of Students

In general, students at the age of 16–21 study according to vocational secondary education curricula. Due to demographic changes, in vocational education the proportion of students pursuing vocational secondary education has shown a steady decline while that of adult learners has increased (out of the total number of students, about 32% are over 25 years of age). The changes in distribution of students by age prove that Estonian vocational educational institutions are increasingly popular among adult learners. In the academic year 2015/16, 7,933 students older than 25 years pursued vocational training, which is about 3,200 students more than in the academic year 2010/11.

The students who pursue studies according to the curricula of level 2 or 3 where acquired basic education is not required must be at least 17 years old since persons up to 17 years of age are subject to compulsory school attendance. The size of study groups in vocational education institutions is not regulated and may be decided by the school. Due to the practical nature of studies, the most common group size is from 15 to 20 students.  

Forms of Study and Organisation of the School Year

In vocational training, a school based form of study and workplace based form of study (apprentice study) have been used since 1 September 2013, the part-time study form was added, which is first and foremost intended for working people and offers learning opportunities with a higher share of independent work.

In vocational school an academic year consists of at least 40 weeks of study and learning capacity of 60 vocational education credits (as of 1 September 2013 EKAP, or vocational education credit based on ECVET has been used as the unit of academic volume). An academic year shall include at least eight weeks of holiday. A curriculum shall set out the objectives and functions of vocational, professional and occupational training, the learning outcomes to be achieved and the links thereof with the Estonian qualification framework, the requirements for the commencement and completion of studies, the curriculum modules and their volume together with learning outcomes and assessment criteria, the opportunities of and conditions for choosing modules and the opportunities for specialisation. On the basis of professional standards, the curricula shall set out the partial professions acquired in the course of training.   An academic year is generally divided into two semesters.

The beginning of an academic year is not specifically determined; generally, studies commence on 1 September. 

Organisation of the School Day and Week


The periodic, weekly and daily timetables of a vocational school are drawn up by the school; no uniform requirements are set in this respect. A week of study is defined by 40 hours of student's work; the share of contact hours is formed according to the curriculum modules implementation plan. The volume of a student's individual work comprises, according to the vocational education standard as of 1.09.2013, at least 15% of the volume of a curriculum, but in case full-time form of study, at least 50% of the total volume of studies. 

Legislative References

Procedure for admission of students to vocational school

Procedure for the application of workplace-based study

Procedure for the formation of state commissioned student places of vocational training within the area of government of the Ministry of Education and Research

Vocational Educational Institutions Act

Standard of vocational education

Study Allowances and Study Loans Act

Private Schools Act