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Estonia:Teaching and Learning in General 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

 


Curriculum, Subjects, Number of Hours

The Government of the Republic approved a new national curriculum for upper secondary schools at the beginning of 2011. The schools brought the teaching and education activities and the school curriculum in line with the national curriculum by 1 September 2013 the latest.

Preparation of the last approved national curriculum for upper secondary schools started in 2008. Compared to the previous curriculum (approved in 2002) the number of compulsory courses was decreased from 72 to 64; in order to graduate from upper secondary school, a student investigation paper or practical work must be completed and a school examination that integrates all subjects must be passed; and upper secondary schools must offer their students more elective courses than before. The curricula were developed mainly by the Foundation Innove. Practising teachers had a very important role in compiling the curricula; further, universities, research institutions, education organisations, researchers, students, parents, local government and public sector employees, etc. were also involved in preparing the curriculum.

The national curriculum for upper secondary schools prescribes the compulsory subjects of the secondary school level, elective subjects and their compulsory volume. When compiling the school curriculum, schools take the requirements of the national curriculum into consideration. The school curriculum determines the subjects and their volumes according to the fields of study and choices of the school.

In the national curriculum for upper secondary schools, the subject syllabi are compiled in the form of courses, whereas the word "course" refers primarily to a 35-hour (á 45 minutes) study unit. The national curriculum for upper secondary schools determines the list of compulsory subjects and the number of compulsory courses per subject, as well as the volume of elective subjects in 12 fields. A student investigation paper or practical work is included in the study minimum compulsory academic workload as an elective course. Schools may choose between a narrow and broad course of mathematics. Depending on this choice, there are 64 or 70 compulsory courses in schools with Estonian language of instruction and 68 or 74, in schools with Russian or other language of instruction. The difference is caused by the fact that in a school with Russian or other language as the language of instruction, one compulsory foreign language (5 courses) must be replaced with Estonian as a second language (9 courses). In total, it is compulsory to pass at least 96 courses at the upper secondary school level.

Subject Number of courses Subject Number of courses
Estonian 6 Biology 4
Literature 5 Chemistry 3
Russian* 6* Physics 5
Estonian as a second language**
9* History 6
Foreign language at B2 language proficiency level 5 Personal, social and health education 1
Foreign language at B1 language proficiency level 5 Civics and citizenship education 2
Mathematics (narrow) 8 Music 3
Mathematics (broad) 14 Art 2
Geography 3 Physical education 5
Elective course (student investigation paper or practical work
1


(*only at school with Russian as the language of instruction; **only at school with Russian or other language as the language of instruction)

Upper secondary schools shall allow students to take elective courses by field with at least the following course load:
    1) language and literature - 4 courses;
    2) foreign language - 6 courses;
    3) mathematics - 14 courses;
    4) science subjects - 8 courses;
    5) social subjects - 7 courses;
    6) physical education – 2 courses;
    7) religion studies - 2 courses;
    8) national defence - 2 courses;
    9) economics and entrepreneurial studies - 2 courses;
    10) fundamentals of research - 1 course.

An upper secondary school may, within a field of study, establish up to 20 elective courses as compulsory subjects for students.

An upper secondary school may plan the optional courses and carry them out in cooperation with other schools and organizations, using, among other things, Estonian and international networks and information technology solutions.

The curricula of upper secondary schools with non-stationary form of study and upper secondary schools for students with special educational needs may be prepared without taking into consideration the requirements established in the national curriculum for upper secondary schools with regard to course loads and subjects of the elective courses.

About half of all upper secondary school students study information and communications technology / computer studies as an elective subject. Schools have at least one classroom with computers and teachers often use computers for carrying out lessons.

Pursuant to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, the subject syllabi of at least the following compulsory subjects must be set out in the national curriculum for upper secondary schools by subject area: Estonian as a second language; English, German, French and Russian with a target level B1;  English, German, French and Russian with a target level B2.  Based on the national curriculum for upper secondary schools, students can learn also another foreign language than English, French, German or Russian.

Foreign languages studies at upper secondary level of Estonian general education schools with stationary type of study in the academic year 2011/2012, % of the total number of students.


1st foreign language, %

2nd foreign language, %

3rd foreign language, %

4th foreign language, %

     Total, %
Estonian as a second language
16 .38



16.1
English
86.8
11.6
0.66

99.06
French
1.5
2.7
3.8
0.3
8.3
German
3.6
14.7
12.6

30.9
Russian
5.1
57.0
3.7

65.8
Spanish

0.2
5.0
0.2
5.4
Finnish

0.1
4.3
0.2
4.6
Swedish

1.4
0.3

1.7
Latin


0.4
0.1
0.5
Chinese

0.1
0.5
0.1
0.7
Italian


0.2

0.2
Norwegian


0.3

0.3
Japanese


0.1

0.1


Education code does not regulate the amount of homework assigned to students. Schools are required to follow the Regulation of the Ministry of Social Affairs of 2001 “Health Protection Requirements for School Timetables and Organisation of Study” which lays down that no homework is set for the day following holiday or for the first day of an academic quarter.

The Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act adopted in 2011 establishes the right to teach according to the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) and a curriculum developed according to the Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools. The IBO curriculum has so far been implemented in four schools. Tallinn European School was opened in 2013.

Teaching Methods and Materials

 Teachers may choose the teaching methods they use. Methods to stimulate student participation are recommended. Research tasks are recommended where basic research methods are used and also special tasks that demand searching for information from different sources, including in foreign languages. One of the most essential tasks of a teacher is to support and to guide a student in developing the abilities of independent work, to influence the process of formation of values and to support self-confidence.

Teachers are free to choose textbooks and study aids. The state offers support for purchase of textbooks and study aids.

The publisher assures the correspondence of the textbooks, workbooks and other study literature published by it to the established requirements. The publisher enters the data of study literature fulfilling the established requirements in the study literature sub-registry of the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS) from where schools choose the textbooks, work exercise books and workbooks necessary to carry out study in each class.