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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:

Ülikool (University)

 Rakenduskōrgkool (Professional Higher Education Institution)

 

School leaving and higher education credentials:

Gümnaasiumi Lõputunnistus

Tunnistus põhihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta

Tunnistus keskhariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta

Bakalaureusekraad (new system)

Rakenduskōrgharisdusōppe diplom

Bakalaureusekraad (old system)

Diplom

Magistrikraad (new system)

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/ Põhikool

Length of program in years: 9

Age level from: 7 to: 16

Certificate/diploma awarded: Basic School Leaving Certificate (Põhikooli löputunnistus)

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 (Gümnaasiumi lõputunnistus)

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 põhihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta)

Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Vocational Education Institution (post-secondary)

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 pöhihariduse 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 professional higher education institutions (rakenduskõrgkool) until 2002/2003 admission.

Higher education:

The higher education system is binary and consists of universities (ülikool) and professional higher education institutions (rakenduskörgkool). From 1999 to 2002/2003 admission, some post-secondary vocational schools had a right to offer vocational higher education. Since the academic year 2002/2003, the general structure of higher education is divided into two main cycles, following the undergraduate-graduate model. The first cycle is the bachelor level; the second is the master level. For some specialities, the study programmes have been integrated into a single long cycle, following the master level qualification. The highest stage at universities is doctoral studies. Professional higher education programmes are at the first level of higher education and correspond to the bachelor level programmes.  The usual duration of studies is three to four years. There are six public universities, five private universities, eight state institutions of professional higher education, thirteen private professional higher education institutions, and seven state vocational education institutions  offering professional higher education. Higher education institutions are regulated by the Law on Universities (January 1995), the Law on Private Schools (June 1998), the Law on Professional 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 (August 2002)  and the Science and Development Organisation Act (April 1997, 2001). The administration of higher education institutions or their study programmes is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Research. Private higher education institutions or their study programmes are officially recognized after accreditation.

Main laws/decrees governing higher education:

Decree: Law on Professional Higher Education Institutions Year: 1998

Decree: Law on the University of Tartu Year: 1995

Decree: Law on Universities Year: 2003

Concerns: higher education institutions

Decree: Private Education Institution Act Year: 1998

Concerns: Private institutions

Decree: Science and Development Organisation Act Year: 2001

Decree: Standard of Higher Education Year: 2002

Concerns: Higher education institutions

Decree: The Adult Training Act Year: 1993

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 (until 2002/2003) and professional higher education (as from 2002/2003). Vocational higher education is one-stage and is offered by secondary education based vocational education institutions or rakenduskōrgkool. 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 professional higher education. The length of study is between three and four years and is specialized. It consists in 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 rakenduskōrgkool. The programme at university may have a common element with bakalaureaus studies.Professional higher education study is one-stage higher education offered as from 2002/2003 by professional higher education institutions, vocational education institutions and universities. Studies last for three to four years. They aim to provide the necessary skills and knowledge for work in a certain profession or to continue studies at magister level. Professional higher education is replacing the former vocational higher education and diplom study.

 

University level studies:

University level first stage: Bakalaureus studies:

Bakalaureus level study is the first stage of academic studies with the aim to increasing students' level of general education, acquiring basic knowledge and skills in the speciality necessary to pursue further studies at master level and to begin work. The nominal length of these studies is generally three years (120 AP) , in certain disciplines it is four years (160 AP). The main aim of the bakalaureus study programmes registered before 1 June 2002 was to develop theoretical knowledge and skills in the selected work area and its completion gave the right to work in a position requiring high-level specialist qualifications. The nominal length of the studies was generally four years along with teacher training that could be extended by up to five years.  Graduates who have completed their studies will be awarded the bakalaureusekraad which is certified with a diploma. The qualification is a master-level qualification in the present higher education system of Estonia.

University level second stage: Magister studies:

Magister study is the second stage of higher education during which specialised knowledge and skills are further developed and knowledge and skills necessary for independent work and pursuing studies at the doctoral level are acquired. The main purpose of the magister studies is to train a specialist with advanced theoretical knowledge. Admission requirement is the bakalaureuskraad or an equivalent level qualification. The nominal length of studies is one to two years (40-80 APs) but along with the first stage at least five years (200 AP).Upon completing magister study programmes registered before 1 June 2002, a professional or research magistrikraad is awarded. Research work makes up at least 50 per cent of the research magister study programme and a novel scientific treatment of a speciality problem will be presented in the final thesis. Research, development or creative work makes up at least 25 per cent of the capacity of studies in the professional magister study programme and the studies are aimed at finding a novel solution to a professional creative problem. Under the conditions determined by the university the completion of magister study programme registered before 1 June 2002 can be regarded as a part of doctoral studies. Graduates who have completed their studies will be awarded a degree of magistrikraad which is certified with a diploma.The integrated long cycle programme contains both bachelor and master level studies. Completion of the study programme confers a qualification that corresponds to the magistrikraad. These studies are in medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, architecture, civil engineering and teacher training. The nominal length of medical studies, and since  the 2002/2003 academic year also veterinary studies, is six years (240 AP). In other fields it is five years (200 AP). Graduates who have completed their studies will be awarded a diploma certifying the completion of the respective integrated programme.

University level third stage: Doktor studies:

Doktor study is the highest stage of higher education. Its purpose is to acquire knowledge and skills necessary for independent research, development or professional creative work. The general admission requirement for doktor study is a magistrikraad or a corresponding qualification. The nominal length of studie is three to four years (120-160 AP). Graduates who have completed their studies will be awarded a doktorikraad which is certified with a diploma. The degree is a research degree for which candidates have to defend a doctoral thesis - independent scientific research or creative work.

 

Teacher education:

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

Primary school teachers are trained at professional higher education institutions and universities.

Training of secondary school teachers

Secondary-school teachers are trained at professional 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

It is possible 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:

Eesti Vabariigi Haridus-ja Teadusminsteerium (Ministry of Education and Research)

Head: Mailis Reps, Minister

Administrative officer: Jaan Kallas, Secretary-General

International relations: Margus Haidak, Head of International Relations

Munga 18
50088 Tartu
Estonia

Tel: +372(7) 350222

Fax: +372(7) 350250

EMail: hm@hm.ee

WWW: http://www.hm.ee

 

Role of governing body: Education management

 

Council of Rectors of Estonian Universities

Head: Jaak Aaviksoo, President

Ülikooli 18
50090 Tartu
Estonia

Tel: +372(7) 375 100

Fax: +372(6) 375 440

EMail: mart.laidmets@ut.ee

 

 

Council of Rectors of State Applied Higher Education Institutions

Head: Villu Mikita

Kreutzwaldi 58A
51014 Tartu
Estonia

Tel: +372(7) 384810

Fax: +372(7) 384811

EMail: tac@tac.ee

 

 

Kõrghariduse Hindamise Nõukogu (Higher Education Quality Assessment Council)

Foundation Archimedes
L. Koidula 13A
10125 Tallinn
Estonia

Tel: +372(6) 962423/ 962424

Fax: +372(6) 962427

EMail: laasberg@archimedes.ee

WWW: http://www.ekak.archimedes.ee

 

Role of governing body: Assesses and decides whether an institution of higher learning and its curricula meet the requirements laid out in relevant legislative and regulatory documents.

 

 

ADMISSIONS TO HIGHER EDUCATION

Admission to non university higher education studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Gümnaasiumi Lõputunnistus

For entry to: Vocational education institutions and professional higher education institutions offering professional higher education (since 2002/2003)

Alternatives to credentials:

Tunnistus põhihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta or Tunnistus keskhariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta which are certificates conferred on completion of 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: Gümnaasiumi Lõputunnistus

For entry to: Universities

Alternatives to credentials: Tunnistus põhihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta or Tunnistus keskhariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta which are certificates conferred on completion of 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 residence permit.

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: Jul

For university level studies: Jul

For advanced/doctoral studies: Jul

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 Estonian Higher Education Quality Assessment Council (HEQAC) (Fondation Archimedes, L. Koidula 13 A, 10125 Tallinn)

Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials):

Estonian ENIC/NARIC - Foundation "Archimedes"

Head: Gunnar Vaht

L. Koidula 13 a
10125 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 the 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: Agreements between 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: Baltic-Nordic Admission Manual    http://www.baltnord.net

Year of publication: 2003

Title: Higher Education in Estonia (3rd edition)

Publisher: Estonian ENIC/NARIC (www.socrates.ee/en/enicnaric.php)

Year of publication: 2004

Title: Study in Estonia  http://www.socrates.ee/dokumendid/studyinestonia.pdf

Publisher: Foundation Archimedes, Socrates Estonian National Agency

Year of publication: 2002

Title: Välisriigi körghariduskvalifikatsioonide hindamise ja tunnustamise põhimõtted ning vördlus

Publisher: Foundation Archimedes, Estonian NARIC

Year of publication: 2002

 

STUDENT LIFE

National student associations and unions

Federation of Estonian Student Unions

Villardi 23-16
10136 Tallinn
Estonia

Tel: +372(6) 601688

Fax: +372(6) 267169

EMail: eyl@eyl.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 and Research

Munga 18
580088 Tartu
Estonia

Tel: +372(7) 350222

Fax: +372(7) 350250

EMail: hm@hm.ee

WWW: http://www.hm.ee

 

Publications on student services and financial aid:

Title: Estonian Academy of Arts (http://www.artun.ee)

Title: Estonian Agricultural Academy: Information for International Students (http://www.eau.ee/4900)

Title: Estonian Business School (http://www.ebs.ee)

Title: Estonian Music Academy (http://www.ema.edu.ee/htm/eng/main.html)

Title: Study in Estonia  (http://www.socrates.ee/dokumendid/studyinestonia.pdf)

Publisher: Foundation Archimedes, Socrates Estonian National Agency

Year of publication: 2002

Title: Tallinn Technical University (http://www.ttu.ee/external/inglise/index.html)

Title: Tallinn University (http://www.tpu.ee)

Title: University of Tartu: Guide for International Students   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"

L. Koidula 13A
EE-10125 Tallinn
Estonia

Tel: +372(6) 962418

Fax: +372(6) 962419

EMail: arch@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: TEMPUS

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 (unsatisfactory); 1 (poor (fail).

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 adjusted to the general system.

 

NOTES ON HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM

During the last 50 years, possibilities for developing an independent educational policy in Estonia were limited. 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: 2005-2006

Source: IAU from Eesti ENIC/NARIC, Tallinn, December 2005



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