This page was last modified on 28 October 2016, at 12:37.

Estonia:Overview

From Eurydice

Jump to: navigation, search

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

Key features of the education system

The organisation and principles of the education system are established in the Republic of Estonia Education Act and specified in lower level acts structured by type of educational institution. 

The structure of the educational system and education standards create an opportunity for everyone to transfer from one level of education to another. Levels of education comprise preschool education (ISCED level 0), basic education (ISCED levels 1 and 2), upper secondary education (ISCED level 3) and higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8).

Management of the education system is based on the principle of reasonable decentralisation. Generally speaking, the Estonian education system is headed towards decentralisation. The division of responsibility between the state, local government and school is clearly defined. In the recent years, the state supervision system has been replaced with an internal assessment system in general education schools and vocational educational institutions; national curricula founded on study outcomes offer schools and students a larger freedom of choice than they exercised before; teachers have the right to choose their own teaching methodology and materials.  

Studies are conducted in Estonian preschool childcare institutions, general education schools and vocational schools under uniform national curricula, on the basis of which schools compile their own curricula. The language of instruction is mainly Estonian but another language may be used by the decision of the local authority. General requirements for higher education studies, curricula and teaching staff are established in the Standard of Higher Education. 

The vast majority of preschool childcare institutions and general education schools are municipal schools. Vocational schools are mostly state owned and universities − institutions in public law.  Half of institutions of professional higher education are state owned and the other half are institutions in private law. 

The obligation to attend school applies to children who have attained 7 years of age by 1 October of the current year. Children up to 7 years may attend preschool institutions. It is not obligatory to attend a preschool childcare institution. The obligation to attend schools lasts until basic education is acquired or until a student attains 17 years of age. 

Financing of educational institutions depends on the ownership of the institution. There are state, municipal and private educational institutions. All expenses of a state school are covered from the state budget. Municipal educational institutions are financed from the state and local budgets. 

The management of the private educational institution covers expenses of a private educational institution and, in certain cases, a local government or the state allocates support.   Expenses related to in-service training of the teachers of private preschool child care institutions, as well as salaries and in-service training of the teachers and heads of private general education schools, the expenses related to acquisition of textbooks for private basic schools and upper secondary schools as well as the costs of investments and the school lunch expenses of students are covered from the state budget. The state budget covers also the expenses of state commissioned student places of private vocational schools and private institutions of higher education.

The revenue of a university in public law is comprised of money allocated from the state budget, money received to reimburse study costs, revenue from the provision of services related to the main activities for a charge, revenue from research and development activities and other income.

The teaching staff and management of all educational institutions works on the basis of employment contracts, with the exception of the rector of the professional higher education institution related to national defence.  Teachers are guaranteed a shorter working time and longer annual leave.

According to the qualification requirements, subject and class teachers of general education schools must be trained at the Master’s level; preschool teachers and vocational teachers at the level of Bachelor’s study. The overwhelming majority of teachers in Estonia are women. Teachers’ salaries are low when compared to their peers graduated from other tertiary fields of study.

The data on the Estonian educational system is gathered into the web-based national register EHIS (the Estonian Education Information System). EHIS contains information on educational institutions, students, teaching staff, curricula, rights to conduct study and documents certifying acquisition of education. In addition, the visual educational statistics database Haridussilm allows comparing schools based on a series of indicators.


Stages of the education system

Preschool education (ISCED level 0) is generally acquired in childcare institutions (koolieelne lasteasutus). 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 if the parents so wish. In addition, there is also a system of childcare services (lapsehoiuteenus) catering mainly for the youngest children. These services can be either centre- or home-based. 

Basic education (ISCED levels 1 and 2) is the minimum compulsory general education, which is acquired in the basic school (põhikool)  and which gives the right to continue studies at upper secondary education level. Basic school includes grades 1–9. Successful completion of the curriculum and passing final examinations is the condition for acquiring basic education.

Secondary education (ISCED level 3) is based on basic education and is divided into general secondary education, which is acquired in upper secondary schools (gümnaasium), and vocational secondary education, which is acquired in vocational schools (kutseõppeasutus). The length of general upper secondary education is 3 years (grades 10–12). In order to graduate from upper secondary school, students have to pass state examinations, school examination and a student investigation paper or practical work.

The volume of vocational education curricula is calculated in vocational education credit points. The yearly study volume is 60 credit points. 
The study volume of vocational secondary education (ISCED 3) is 180 credit points. Successful completion of the curriculum, taking necessary tests and passing all required assessments, practical training and the final examination is the condition for graduating from a vocational school. The final examination may be replaced by professional qualification examination. Acquisition of secondary education gives the right to continue studies at higher education level.

Vocational education may be acquired also after graduation from upper secondary school. The study volume of vocational education on the basis of secondary education (post-secondary non-tertiary education, ISCED 4) is 120–150 credit points.

Also people with unfinished basic education can begin studies, the study volume is 15–120 credit points (ISCED 2).  

Higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8) may be acquired as professional higher education (in a vocational school (kutseõppesutus), institution of professional higher education (rakenduskõrgkool), educational institution belonging to the structure of university (ülikool)) or academic higher education (ülikool). The general structure of academic study has three levels or cycles. The first level is Bachelor's study and the second level is Master's study. The third and the highest level is Doctoral study. All persons with upper secondary education or foreign qualifications equal thereto have an equal right to compete to be admitted to the above educational institutions.

The standard period of Bachelor's study as well as of professional higher education study is 180–240 ECTS. The standard period of Master's study is 60–120 ECTS. The standard period of Bachelor's and Master's study combined must be at least 300 ECTS in total. The standard period of Doctoral study is 180–240 ECTS.

In the course of studies, educational institutions may take account of a person’s previous study results and professional experiences (APEL). Through APEL, a curriculum can be completed in full, except for the final examination or final paper. Estonian higher education institutions do not have the right to implement APEL in the course of student admission.

Adult education enables acquiring formal education at all levels of education, participating in professional education and training as well in non-formal education. 

For further information, please consult the introduction articles of Organisation and Governance and of each educational level: Early Childhood Education and Care, Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education), Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non Tertiary Education, Higher Education and Adult Education and Training.

For a brief description of other main topics regarding the national education system, please read the introduction article of Funding education, Teachers and education staff, Management and other educational staff, Educational support and guidance, Quality assurance, Mobility and internationalisation.

For information on recently adopted or planned reforms and policy measures, please consult the topic Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments.

While Eurypedia provides comprehensive and comparable information on the Estonian education system, further information may also be found on the websites of the Ministry of Education and Research, Statistics Estonia  and Foundation Innove.







Structure of the national education system

2016 diagram EE.pngsource: Eurydice 2016

Common European Reference Tools Provided by the Eurydice Network