Vocational Education and Training in Estonia

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One of a series of studies on vocational education and training, this review assesses the vocational education and training (VET) in Estonia and provides policy recommendations.

Estonia does very well in terms of student achievement on PISA, and the results from the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) are also excellent. Unemployment levels are low. But despite recent reforms, VET remains relatively low status compared to general education, dropout rates are too high for comfort, and apprenticeships, despite recent efforts, fail to attract many young people. Suggested approaches to improve VET in Estonia include the expansion of work-based learning within all VET programmes and measures to increase the number of apprentices. Tackling dropout should be done by a set of complementary measures, including support in basic skills for those students lagging behind. Building pathways between VET and general education options can help improve the status of VET. More and better career guidance, especially before the key grade 9 transition point, is also needed.


Strengthening career guidance in Estonia

In Estonia, career guidance and information services have been extensively reorganised, and the system now has many strengths, but some gaps remain. Some of the elements of career guidance should be made mandatory in basic schools and provision should start early. Mandatory provision helps to ensure that the guidance gets through to some of the students who need it most. This in itself would provide a firmer foundation for decisions about whether to pursue a vocational education and training (VET) or general education track at grade 9. More accessible and understandable labour market information, including data from destinations surveys, would also be very helpful. Students would also benefit from visits to schools by people from different professional background, visits to workplaces by students, and short work placements and work shadowing.



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