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Estonia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School 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


Global and Intercultural Dimension in Curriculum Development

European and international dimensions have been addressed in the national curriculum of preschool child care institutions, in the national curriculum for basic schools and the national curriculum for upper secondary schools, in vocational education curricula and also in higher education and teachers' training curricula and in adult education. As regards specific subjects, social study and history have the closest relations with European studies. In 2008, the European Commission Representation in Estonia in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research issued a textbook called “The European Union for You! This is How the European Union Works” to be used in general education and vocational schools.

In January 2010, the Government of the Republic approved a new national curriculum for basic schools and national curriculum for upper secondary schools, which were implemented in 2011-2013. Compared to the previous curriculum, the focus had shifted from subject-centeredness to the development of competencies. The European dimension in the curricula cannot be analysed on the basis of an increase in cognitive awareness alone, but also through the acquisition of European basic values by means of development of competencies. The curricula highlight eight basic competencies required for developing a responsible Estonian and European citizen: value competency, social competency, self-identification competency, learning competency, communication competency, mathematics competency and competence in entrepreneurship. The general competencies of the Estonian national curricula are ideologically related to the European Union key competencies of lifelong learning. General competencies are supplemented by knowledge in subjects which also go beyond the competencies in subjects. A young person exiting Estonian general education system is expected, for example, to be able to not only list human rights and the features of democracy but also be able to recognise hate speech, react to discrimination cases and evaluate the fundamental principles of the European Union. 

A possibility to study according to international curricula also promotes the international dimension of Estonian schools. The state has allocated necessary resources to ensure the implementation of IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization Diploma Programmes) and EB (European Baccalaureate) programmes. Tallinn European School was opened in autumn 2013. Presently, one can study in accordance with English, German or Finnish curricula.   

The national curriculum for pre-school child care institutions approved on 29 May 2008 contains a theme called Children in Other Countries, under which the children’s songs and dances of neighbouring countries are studied, children’s first names and habits and the fairy tales of other nations are introduced.

In basic school subject syllabi issues related to Europe have been treated through different sub-topics. For example, the literature and culture of European countries have been discussed on the basis of the syllabus of the Estonian language and, from Grade 7, that of the Estonian language and literature, and study materials include, in addition to Estonian literature, also information on writers of other countries and excerpts from their work. Foreign language syllabi contain information about names, habits and manners of communication of the country where the respective language is spoken. Textbooks like the "Reader of a little European" (for primary school) and the "Reader of a young European" introduce folk and classic literature of different countries of Europe (Andersen, La Fontaine, Wilde) and also contain Estonian texts. Students are expected to understand basic human values through the literature of different countries, to learn to see similarities and to understand the position of Estonian culture in the global culture. In basic school, the history syllabus contains the history of Europe. In the 20th Century course, EU issues are taught in the context of international relations. A student is expected to have obtained the chronological framework of the main steps of history, to know the main historic events, to understand the cultural contribution of different eras, to be able to set the history of Estonia into the context of the history of Europe and value cultural diversity. In social study, the European and international dimensions also exist – people of various nationalities, culture, etc.; human and children's rights: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Declaration of the Rights of the Child, etc.

At the level of upper secondary education, subjects that include information on Europe comprise literature, geography, art, history, music, philosophy (an elective course) and social study, in the framework of which also important legal acts treating social relations in the EU (e.g., the Convention of Human Rights) are taught.

At the level of upper secondary education, social study is structured entirely around the European and international dimensions: society, governance, economy, an individual in the society, diversity (racial, national, religious, etc.) of the modern world, global problems, most important universal and regional organisations, European integration, etc.

It is also specified in the learning outcomes of social study at the upper secondary school level that a student is familiar with the main characteristics of formulation, structure and organisational principles of the modern society; is informed of the functioning mechanisms of modern economy; is familiar with important international organisations; is able to characterise international political, economic and cultural communication principles, modern-day socio-political systems, the main problems and developmental tendencies of the modern world; is familiar with the rules of democracy, human and citizens' rights, etc.; is able to adequately identify his or her own role and opportunities in the modern world, to work and live in a market economy, etc.

In a class of social study, it is possible to use the EU textbook, which is a translated textbook complemented with information on Estonia.
In cooperation with the EU information secretariat, an upper secondary school elective subject syllabus "the European Union and Estonia" has been prepared.

The objective is that a student:

  • understands questions related to the EU;
  • knows the history of the development of the EU and the integration endeavours of Estonia;
  • knows the tasks of EU institutions and mechanisms of reaching their goals as well as the level of representation of Estonia in the institutions of the union;
  • is able to characterise the impact of EU law on Member States and the distribution of competencies between Member States and the union;
  • knows EU policies and the objectives related to the four freedoms;
  • is able to analyse the impact of the EU on Estonia.

The study content includes the development of international organisations, EU history, the institutions of the EU and EU policies.

In upper secondary school, 5 courses (35 hours each) are dedicated to learning the history of European history: the human society and culture course contains European history from Ancient Rome until the end of the 19th century and the Recent History course treats the world, including European history from the beginning of the 20th century until present time. European history is treated through the most important events, problems and processes from the evolvement of the civilization until the international events and global problems of the present time. Across themes, issues like culture, economics, daily life, political life of the society and development of international relations are observed in different periods. The objective of subject study is that a student learns to see oneself in a relationship with the home locality, Estonia, Europe and the world. The learning outcomes emphasize that a graduate of upper secondary school is aware of the most important cultural achievements of the world, understands the coherence of culture and knows the Estonian history and its links to the history of the Baltic Sea countries, Europe and the world.

In 2006, a cooperation agreement was signed between the Ministry of Education and Research, Estonian Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the implementation of the education programme "Exploring Humanitarian Law" in Estonia. A study material translated into Estonian has been published and Estonian teachers have received various trainings. The main goal of the study material "Exploring Humanitarian Law" is to form a sense of responsibility in young people so that they would respect life and human dignity. The material treats historical and present day events, in order to give students an idea how the desolation of war as well as human suffering not related to war can be reduced with the help of implementation of humanitarian law. The issue is introduced to students through discussions and memories of people having participated in armed conflicts.

Issues related to the Geneva Convention are treated in Estonian general education schools also today. In history, the matters treated comprise education for peace, observing how wars change people's understandings in the sphere of humanitarian law, creation of the Red Cross and themes related to prohibition of weapons; the matters treated in social study comprise people's rights and obligations, links between human rights and humanitarian law, refugees and resettling; in natural sciences, the effects of crises on the environment and population processes are handled. General policy of a school, i.e. school democracy, internal communication culture in school, etc. plays an important role in treating issues related to human rights. Various thematic programmes (Human Rights Friendly School, KIVA, Good school, etc.) help to cement and increase the knowledge acquired in lessons.

“Globaliseeruv maailm”, teaching material for an upper secondary school elective course issued by the NGO Mondo Global Education Centre is based on the knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired in the upper secondary school compulsory geography courses, and is closely associated with the material covered in history, social education and economics courses. The content of the teaching material integrates with the world education, which creates an opportunity to understand the reasons and impacts of globalisation and to be an active citizen through the knowledge of the main international development goals and the principles of sustainable human development. The elective course allows a student to engage in the topical issues of various regions by the examples of developed and developing countries. Knowledge of the natural, cultural, demographic and economic diversity and peculiarities of the world contributes to one’s coping in the globalising world.

There are three courses of Estonian literature (35 lessons each) in the upper secondary school literature syllabus and three courses of world literature, comprising mostly European literature from ancient times to postmodernism. Three sets of world literature textbooks from different authors, readers and other text collections have been issued for schools.

The curricula for vocations in vocational schools are harmonised with those valid in the EU in order to guarantee the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. ISCED 97 is the basis for the content-based division of national curricula.

Generally recognised values are the basis for formulating the tasks and goals of vocational education – humanity, democracy and the principle to develop a student's practical, theoretical and socio-cultural preparedness. This includes shaping characteristics necessary for guaranteeing a student's personal development in order to enable his or her progress in the educational field in the context of lifelong learning and on the labour market.

There are modules for general skills development in all curricula for vocational education. The general study modules include topics like economics, entrepreneurship, legislation, environment protection and occupational safety. Through general studies, a student acquires wider knowledge of his or her specialisation. Development of foreign language proficiency is also a part of general studies, with an emphasis on specialised language. The independent learning skills of a graduate have developed to a level where he or she is able to obtain information and follow the developments of the specialisation locally and internationally.

By means of different international projects, joint curricula according to subject fields have been compiled, teaching aids developed, and students have been granted opportunities for acquiring work experience and practicing abroad.

By means of various different international projects, joint curricula for different fields according to subject fields have been compiled, teaching aids developed, and students have been granted opportunities for acquiring work experience and practicing abroad.

Partnerships and Networks

Opportunities for partnership and networking are offered by the Erasmus+ programme (strategic partnership, eTwinning) and the sub-programmes of the Nordic cooperation programme Nordplus. Additionally, in Estonia the programme ProgeTiiger has been launched, aiming at the improvement of students’ technological literacy and digital skills, acquisition of which also contributes to the international cooperation. 

Legislative References

National curriculum of pre-school child care institutions

National curriculum of basic schools

National curriculum of upper secondary schools