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Home / Library / Analytics / Educational systems in other countries /

Estonia



Estonia

Structure of Educational System
Admissions to Higher Education and Recognition of Foreign Credentials
Student Life
International Cooperation and Exchanges

INSTITUTION TYPES & CREDENTIALS
Types of higher education institutions:
Ulikool (University)
Rakenduskorgkool (Applied Higher education Institution)

School leaving and higher education credentials:
Gumnaasiumi Loputunnistus
Tunnistus pohihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta
Tunnistus keskhariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta
Diplom
Bakalaureusekraad
Diploma in…
Magistrikraad
Doktorikraad

STRUCTURE OF EDUCATION SYSTEM
Pre-higher education:
Duration of compulsory education:
Age of entry: 7
Age of exit: 16
Structure of school system:
Basic
Type of school providing this education: Basic School/ Pohikool
Length of program in years: 9
Age level from: 7 to: 16
Certificate/diploma awarded: Basic School Leaving Certificate (pohikooli loputunnistus)
General Secondary
Type of school providing this education: General Secondary School / Gymnasium
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 16 to: 19
Certificate/diploma awarded: Secondary School Leaving Certificate (Gumnaasiumi Loputunnistus)
Vocational Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Vocational Education Institution (Basic school based)
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 16 to: 19
Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificate on Acquiring Secondary Vocational Education Based on Basic Education (tunnistus pohihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta)
Vocational
Type of school providing this education: Vocational Education Institution (post-secondary)
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 19 to: 22
Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificate on Acquiring Secondary Vocational Education Based on Secondary Education (tunnistus keskhariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta)
School education:
General education is divided into two parts: basic education (9 years: age 7 to 16) which is compulsory for all children in Estonia and secondary general education.  Since 1993, the Basic School Leaving Certificate, obtained at the end of basic education, provides a student with the right to continue at the next level which offers two streams (in three further years): 1) Secondary general school/gymnasium education and 2) vocational education. Upon graduation of secondary general education, students obtain the Gumnaasiumi Loputunnistus (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) which gives access to higher education. Students who have completed the study programme for secondary vocational education on the basis of basic school education will, upon graduation, obtain a Certificate on Acquiring Secondary Vocational Education Based on Basic Education (tunnistus pohihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta). Those who have completed the post-secondary vocational programme for secondary vocational education on the basis of secondary school education will, upon graduation, obtain a Certificate on Acquiring Secondary Vocational Education Based on Secondary Education (Tunnistus Keskhariduse Baasil Kutsekeskhariduse Omandamise Kohta). Vocational higher education is a one-stage higher education offered by secondary education based vocational education institutions or by applied higher education institutions (rakenduskorgkool).
Higher education:
The higher education system is binary and consists of universities (ulikool) and applied higher education institutions (rakenduskorgkool). Since 1999 some post-secondary vocational schools have a right to offer vocational higher education. There are six public universities, twelve private universities, seven state institutions of applied higher education, six private applied higher education institutions, nine state vocational education institutions and eight private vocational education institutions offering vocational higher education. The usual duration of studies is three to four years. Higher education institutions are regulated by the Law on Universities (January 1995), the Law on Private Schools (June 1998), the Law on Applied Higher education Institutions (June 1998), the Law on Vocational Education Institutions (July 1998),  the Law on the University of Tartu (January 1995), the Standard of Higher Education (June 2000)  and the Law on the Organisation of Research and Developmental Activity (April 1997, 2001). The administration of higher education institutions or their study programmes is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. Private higher education institutions or their study programmes are officially recognized after accreditation.
Main laws/decrees governing higher education:
Decree: Law on Applied Higher Education Institutions Year: 1998
Decree: Law on Private Schools Year: 1998
Concerns: Private institutions
Decree: Law on the University of Tartu Year: 1995
Decree: Law on Universities Year: 1995
Concerns: higher education institutions
Decree: Standard of Higher Education Year: 2000
Concerns: Higher education institutions
Decree: The Education Act Year: 1992
Concerns: The whole system of education
Academic year:
Classes from: Sep to: Jun
Long vacation from: Jul to: Aug
Languages of instruction: Estonian, Russian, English
Stages of studies:
Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):
Non-university level:
Non-academic higher education comprises vocational higher education and Diplom studies. Vocational higher education is one-stage and is offered by secondary education based vocational education institutions or rakenduskorgkool. The length of studies is from three to four years and studies include practical training. The graduates who have completed their studies are awarded a Diploma with mention of their speciality. Diplom study is one-stage non-academic applied higher education. The length of study is from three to four years and is specialized. It consists of studying and acquiring practical knowledge and skills. Graduates who have completed their studies are awarded a Diplom. Diplom studies can take place at university or in rakenduskorgkool. The programme at university may have a common element with bakalaureaus studies.

University level studies:
University level first stage: Bakalaureus studies:
Bakalaureus level study is the first stage of academic studies. Its main purpose is to increase students' level of general education and develop theoretical knowledge and professional skills for the selected area of employment and further study. The length of bakalaureus level study is three to four years (since 1999). Graduates who have completed their studies receive a diploma certifying the Bakalaureusekraad.
University level second stage: Magister studies:
Magister level study is the second stage of academic study. Its main purpose is to deepen theoretical and specialist knowledge and develop proficiency in research, professional or other creative work for individual use of knowledge and skills. The length of study is two years (since 1999, 1-2 years, but together with bakalaureus study no less than five years). Graduates who have completed their studies receive a diploma certifying the Magistrikraad.Basic medical study consists of studying and acquiring practical skills. The length of study is six years. Basic medical study is one-stage and the graduation level corresponds to Magister studies. Graduates who have completed their studies obtain a Diploma certifying they have been conferred the Medical Doctor degree (Arsti Aste). Study programmes in the fields of Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Stomatology and Architecture (Arhitekt-insener) last for five years. Graduates obtain a Diploma with the indication of their specialization.
University level third stage: Doktor studies:
Doktor study is the third stage of academic study, consisting of comprehensive research, professional or other creative work and interrelated studies. The nominal length of study is four years. Graduates who have completed their studies receive a diploma certifying the Doktorikraad.

Teacher education:
Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers
Primary school teachers are trained at applied higher education institutions and universities.
Training of secondary school teachers
Secondary-school teachers are trained at applied higher education institutions and universities.
Training of higher education teachers
Higher education teachers are trained in universities where the main emphasis is on academic and scientific fields. Universities may have different titles as well as requirements for them.

Non-traditional studies:
Distance higher education
There are possibilities to take some of the university courses through distance learning as part of the regular degree programme.
Lifelong higher education
It is possible to study in open universities and take correspondence courses. In-service training programmes for teachers and school administrators exist.

NATIONAL BODIES
Administration & co-ordination:
Responsible authorities:
Ministry of Education (Vabaiigi Haridusminsteerium)
Head: Mailis Rand, Minister
Administrative officer: Peep Ratas, Secretary-General
International relations: Margus Haidak, Head of International relations
Munga 18
50088 Tartu
Estonia
Tel: +372(7) 350-222
Fax: +372(7) 350-250
EMail: hm@hm.ee
WWW: http://www.hm.ee

Role of governing body: Education management

Council of Rectors of Estonian Universities
Head: Ando Keskkula, President
Tartu mnt 1
10145 Tallinn
Estonia
Tel: +372(6) 267-301
Fax: +372(6) 267-350
EMail: public@artun.ee

Council of Rectors of the Private Universities
Head: Mart Susi, President
3, Kaluri tee, Haabneeme
3006 Harjumaa
Estonia
Tel: +372(60) 92-077
Fax: +372(60) 90-216
EMail: ciue@ciue.edu.ee

Eesti Korghariduse Hindamise Noukogu (Estonian Higher Education Quality Assessment Council)
Head: Tiit Laasberg
Foundation Archimedes
Kohtu 6
10130 Tallinn
Estonia
Tel: +372(6) 962-424
Fax: +372(6) 962-427
EMail: Laasberg@tan.ee
WWW: http://www.ekak.archimedes.ee

ADMISSIONS TO HIGHER EDUCATION
Admission to non university higher education studies
Name of secondary school credential required: Gumnaasiumi Loputunnistus
For entry to: Vocational education institutions offering vocational higher education. Applied higher education institutions
Alternatives to credentials:
Tunnistus pohihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta or Tunnistus keskhariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta which are certificates on acquiring secondary vocational education
Numerus clausus/restrictions:
Numerus clausus is established at level of institutions.
Admission to university-level studies
Name of secondary school credential required: Gumnaasiumi Loputunnistus
For entry to: Universities
Alternatives to credentials: Tunnistus pohihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta or Tunnistus keskhariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta which are certificates on acquiring secondary vocational education
Entrance exams required: Since 1997, students must sit for the state entrance examinations (riigiesamid)  to have access to higher education institutions. Depending on the speciality, higher education institutions may require some additional entrance examinations.
Numerus clausus/restrictions: Numerus clausus is established at the level of the institution.
Foreign students admission
Definition of foreign student: A student who is studying at an Estonian university and who is the citizen of a foreign country and does not have a permanent permit of residence of the Estonian Republic.
Quotas: There are quotas established at the institution level.
Admission requirements: Students must hold a Certificate of secondary education and sit for two or three competitive examinations. Undergraduate students must possess university eligibility in their own country.
Entry regulations: Foreign students must hold a visa and a resident permit.
Language requirements: Students must have a good knowledge of Estonian, English, German or Russian.
Application procedures:
Apply to individual institution for entry to: all higher education institutions
Application closing dates:
For non-university level (technical/vocational type) studies: Aug
For university level studies: Aug
For advanced/doctoral studies: Jun
Recognition of studies & qualifications:
Studies pursued in home country (System of recognition/accreditation): The right to award the applicable diploma or degree lies with the higher education institutions recognized by the State. Private higher education institutions are recognized by the State after accreditation.  According to the Law on Universities, higher education courses must be evaluated every seven years by the Higher Education Quality Assessment Council.
Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials):
Estonian ENIC/NARIC - Foundation "Archimedes"
Head: Gunnar Vaht
Kohtu 6
10130 Tallinn
Estonia
Tel: +372(6) 962-415
Fax: +372(6) 962-419
EMail: gunnar@archimedes.ee
WWW: http://www.socrates.ee/en/enicnaric.php

Deals with credential recognition for entry to: University and Profession
Services provided & students dealt with: Provides information to holders of foreign qualifications on possibilities and gives access  1) to studies in Estonian institutions or 2) to Estonian labour market

Other information sources on recognition of foreign studies: Institutions take the final decisions concerning recognition.
Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies
Name of agreement: Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Estonian Republic on Recognition and Equivalence of Higher education Qualifications
Year of signature: 1998
Name of agreement: Agreements among the Governments of the Republic of Estonia, Republic of Latvia and Republic of Lithuania on the academic recognition of educational qualifications in the Baltic Educational Space
Year of signature: 2000
Name of agreement: Lisbon Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region
Year of signature: 1998
References to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies
Title: Higher Education in Estonia (2nd edition)
Publisher: Estonian ENIC/NARIC (www.socrates.ee/en/enicnaric.php)
Year of publication: 2000

STUDENT LIFE
National student associations and unions
Federation of Estonian Student Unions
Gonsiori 9 - 108
10117 Tallinn
Estonia
Tel: +372(6) 601 688
Fax: +372(6) 267 169
EMail: eyl.sekretar@mail.ee
WWW: http://www.eyl.ee

Health/social provisions
Social security for home students: Yes
Social security for foreign students: Yes
Special student travel fares:
By road: Yes
By rail: Yes
By air: Yes
Available to foreign students: Yes
Student expenses and financial aid
Student costs:
Average living costs: 10000 (Kroon)
Home students tuition fees: Minimum: 0 (Kroon)
Maximum: 55000 (Kroon)
Foreign students tuition fees: Minimum: 15000 (Kroon)
Maximum: 55000 (Kroon)
Type of financial aid available:
Scholarships/grants/fellowships:
Higher vocational/technical studies:
Home: Yes
Foreign: Yes
First Degree studies:
Home: Yes
Foreign: Yes
Advanced/doctoral studies:
Home: Yes
Foreign: Yes
Loans:
Higher vocational/technical studies:
Home: Yes
Foreign: No
First degree studies:
Home: Yes
Foreign: No
Advanced/doctoral studies:
Home: Yes
Foreign: No
Bodies providing information on student financial aid:
Ministry of Education
Munga 18
580088 Tartu
Estonia
Tel: +372(7) 350-222
Fax: +372(7) 350-250
EMail: hm@hm.ee
WWW: http://www.hm.ee

Publications on student services and financial aid:
Title: Concordia International University Estonia
Publisher: http://www.ciue.edu.ee
Title: Estonian Academy of Arts
Publisher: http://www.artun.ee
Title: Estonian Agricultural Academy: Information for International Students
Publisher: http://www.eau.ee/english/int_stud/index.html
Title: Estonian Business School
Publisher: http://www.ebs.ee
Title: Estonian Music Academy
Publisher: http://www.ema.edu.ee/eng/html/eng_navi_master.html
Title: Study Abroad 2000-2001
Publisher: UNESCO/IBE
Year of publication: 1999
Title: Tallinn Pedagogical University
Publisher: http://www.tpu.ee/english.html
Title: Tallinn Technical University
Publisher: http://www.tu.ee/external
Title: University of Tartu: Guide for International Students
Publisher: http://www.ut.ee/english/guide

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION & EXCHANGES
Principal national bodies responsible for dealing with international cooperation and exchanges in higher education:
Socrates Estonian National Agency/Foundation "Archimedes"
Kohtu 6
EE-0100 Tallinn
Estonia
Tel: +372(6) 962411
Fax: +372(6) 962426
EMail: rait@archimedes.ee
WWW: http://www.archimedes.ee

Participation of country in multilateral or bilateral higher education programmes
Name of exchange programme: ISEP (International Student Exchange Programme)
Name of exchange programme: Leonardo da Vinci
Name of exchange programme: NordPlus
Name of exchange programme: SOCRATES/ERASMUS
Name of exchange programme: Visby

GRADING SYSTEM
Usual grading system in secondary school
Full Description: A five point-scale is used: 5 (excellent); 4 (good); 3 (satisfactory); 2 (poor); 1 (unsatisfactory).
Highest on scale: 5
Pass/fail level: 3
Lowest on scale: 1
Main grading system used by higher education institutions
Full Description: A six- point scale is used: 5 or A (excellent); 4 or B (very good); 3 or C (good); 2 or D (satisfactory); 1 or E (insufficient); 0 or F (insufficient).
Highest on scale: 5 or A
Pass/fail level: 1 or E
Lowest on scale: 0 or F
Other main grading systems
Some universities use their own grading system but on the final document grades are ajusted to the general system.

NOTES ON HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM
During the last 50 years there were limited possibilities for developing independent educational policy in Estonia. Despite the pressure to adopt the overpoliticized Soviet educational structure and curricula, the Estonian educational system maintained instruction in the Estonian language. A political renaissance started at the end of the 1980s. In universities the majority of courses are conducted in Estonian, but there are academic groups in which the language of instruction is Russian, English or German. Many of the Russian-speaking students continue their studies in the higher education institutions of the former Soviet Union.

Data for academic year: 2001-2002
Source: Eesti ENIC/NARIC, Tallinn, 2002



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