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Education in Estonia

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Formal education in Estonian is highly important and general education is divided into two stages: the basic education years and the secondary general education. Basic education is mandatory to all Estonian children and it comprised 9 years of study from age 7 to age 16. The higher education system of Estonia allows students to pursue a university degree and professional higher education in institutions and universities. Post-secondary vocational schools are also offering vocational higher education.

The general structure of higher education in Estonia follows the undergraduate-graduate model wherein the first level is earning a bachelor degree and the second level is the acquiring a master’s degree. There are some universities that employ a very long cycle of education system that is composed of study programs with master level qualifications. The typical duration of bachelor’s and master’s studies is three to four years. Doctoral studies are also offered in universities.

Estonia has six government-funded or public universities, five private universities, and eight professional higher education institutions. There are also thirteen private professional higher education institutions and seven government vocational education institutions which all offer professional higher education.

The Law of Universities of January 2005 regulates the educational system and curriculum implemented by higher education institutions and this is also true to the Law of Private Schools of June 2008, the Law of Professional Higher Education Institutions of June 1998, the Law of Vocational Education Institutions of July 1998, the Standard of Higher Education of August 2002, the Law on University of Tartu of January 1995, and the Science and Development Organization Act of April 1997 and 2001. All institutions are under the administration of the Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia.

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