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Estonia – Education and Schools

Quality of Education in Estonia

Estonia is well known for having a high quality education system. According to the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Estonia ranks highly in reading, mathematics, and science. The country has a strong emphasis on innovation and technology, which is reflected in its education system.

Compulsory Education Age in Estonia

Education in Estonia is compulsory from the ages of seven to 17 years old. Primary education is mandatory for children aged seven to 12, while basic education is mandatory for those aged 13 to 17.

Types of Schools in Estonia

In Estonia, there are several types of schools, including:

1. Basic Schools

Basic schools in Estonia provide education from the first to the ninth grade. These schools are free and funded by the government. Basic schools offer a wide range of subjects, including mathematics, science, language, and social studies.

2. Upper Secondary Schools


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Upper secondary schools in Estonia provide education from the tenth to the twelfth grade. These schools offer a more specialized education and prepare students for higher education or vocational training. Upper secondary schools offer a range of tracks, including science, social science, and humanities.

3. Vocational Schools

Vocational schools in Estonia provide vocational education and training in a variety of fields, including technology, hospitality, and business. These schools offer practical, hands-on training and prepare students for careers in their chosen field.

4. Private Schools

Private schools in Estonia are funded by tuition fees and often provide a higher quality of education than public schools. Private schools are more common in urban areas and tend to be more expensive than public schools.

5. International Schools

International schools in Estonia offer instruction in English and follow an international curriculum. These schools are mainly aimed at expatriate families or Estonian families who plan to study abroad.

Syllabus and Qualifications in Estonia

In Estonia, schools follow a national curriculum set by the Ministry of Education and Research. Basic education covers a range of subjects, including mathematics, science, language, social studies, physical education, and art. Upper secondary education includes additional subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, and foreign languages.

At the end of basic education, students take the National Examination, which determines whether they can go on to upper secondary education or vocational training. Students who pass the examination are awarded a certificate of basic education. At the end of upper secondary education, students take the National Examination, which determines whether they can go on to university. Students who pass the examination are awarded a certificate of secondary education.

School Hours and Holidays in Estonia

The typical school day in Estonia starts at 8:00 am and ends at 3:00 pm. However, some schools may have different schedules. Primary school students attend school from Monday to Friday, while upper secondary and vocational school students attend school from Monday to Saturday.

The school year in Estonia runs from September to June, with breaks for Christmas, winter, and spring holidays.

Enrolling in a School in Estonia

To enroll in a school in Estonia, students must provide a copy of their birth certificate or passport, a health certificate, and proof of address. In some cases, students may also need to provide academic records from their previous school.

Enrollment in basic schools and upper secondary schools is generally straightforward, but there may be more competition for enrollment in vocational schools and private schools.

International Schools in Estonia

There are several international schools in Estonia, including:

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These schools offer an international curriculum and instruction in English.

Higher Education in Estonia

Estonia has several options for higher education, including universities and vocational schools. The most prestigious universities in Estonia are:

  • University of Tartu
  • Tallinn University
  • Tallinn University of Technology
  • Estonian Academy of Arts

These universities offer a range of degree programs, including engineering, medicine, law, and social sciences.

In addition to traditional universities, Estonia also has a network of vocational schools that offer training in a variety of fields, including technology, hospitality, and business.

To enroll in higher education in Estonia, students must typically have completed upper secondary education and passed the National Examination.

Education in Estonia is well-known for its high quality and innovation. The country has a strong emphasis on technology, which is reflected in its education system. Estonia offers a variety of school options, including basic schools, upper secondary schools, vocational schools, private schools, and international schools. The country also has several options for higher education, including universities and vocational schools. While the education system in Estonia is not without its challenges, it continues to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of students and society.


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