New study on “Education Estonia”

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Estonia ranks among the top performers when it comes to educating its children and young adults – both in EU and in worldwide comparisons. A study on the Estonian education system, commissioned by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, now takes a closer look at the success stories and challenges of “Education-Estonia.”

The tradition of the Estonian education system dates back to 1630 and 1631 when the first academic schools were founded in Tartu and Tallinn. While the aim then was to supply native language education so that the Bible could be read by students, there have been many reforms since – the latest one in 2014 following the target of lifelong learning opportunities.

Whereas subjects such as music and foreign languages were given great emphasize in the past, the project “Tiger Leap” – an initiative with the commitment to ensure access to computers for all students – has attached great importance to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development since the 1990’s and nowadays aims to assure keeping up with the global information economy. No wonder Estonia can pride itself with generating success stories such as e-government and digital startups like Skype.

Teachers’ salaries have increased over the years, but they are yet not high enough to make the profession attractive enough, argues this study. As an encouragement for newly qualified teachers, a bonus of 12 750 Euro during the first three years is given, but only combined with the commitment of working at least five years. The coming years will have to show whether this initiative will have a lasting impact.

Find the complete study here.

Alina Valentin works as an intern at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation