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Education in Estonia

April 4, 2018
By: Katrin Uurman

The history of formal education in Estonia dates back to the 13–14th centuries when the first monastic and cathedral schools were founded. The first primer in the Estonian language was published in 1575. The oldest university is the University of Tartu which was established by the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf in 1632. In 1919, university courses were first taught in the Estonian language.

Nowadays education in Estonia is divided into general, vocational and hobby education. The education system is based on four levels which include the pre-school, basic, secondary and higher education. A wide network of schools and supporting educational institutions has been established. The Estonian educational system consists of state, municipal, public and private educational institutions. There are currently 589 schools in Estonia.

Vocational education serves the purpose of fostering the knowledge, skills and attitudes, occupational know-how and the social readiness required for working, participating in social life and participating in the lifelong learning process. There are 33 vocational educational institutions and 5 professional higher institutions active in Estonia that offer a range of 160 specialties.

Academic higher education in Estonia is divided into three levels: bachelor’s studies, master’s studies, and doctoral studies. In some specialties (basic medical studies, veterinary, pharmacy, dentistry, architect-engineer and a classroom teacher program) the Bachelors and Master’s levels are integrated into one unit. Also bachelor’s degree awarded before or on the year 2002 are equivalent to the Master’s level degrees awarded after implementing the Bologne Process on 1 September 2002. There are 7 universities in Estonia.

Estonians are very proud of education.

Watch a short video on how awesome and efficient Estonian education system is and see how Estonians learn from very early age through life. Discover cool aspects of Estonian education!




Katrin Uurman
National Coordinator
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