Estonian Education Ministry develops plan to extend compulsory education age

  • 2024-05-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research is to soon introduce planned changes that will be sent to the government for the purpose of a reform extending compulsory education age.

The laws that will mainly be affected by these changes are the Education Act, the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, and the Vocational Educational Institutions Act. Once the amendments take effect, compulsory education will continue until the age of 18. If vocational or secondary education requirements are met before turning 18, the compulsory education requirement will also be considered fulfilled.

It is planned that the compulsory education age will apply to students starting their studies in the ninth grade during the 2025/2026 academic year, spokespeople for the Ministry of Education and Research told BNS.

The changes have been developed in cooperation with stakeholders who collectively acknowledge that basic education is insufficient for success in the labor market. To boost the economy, more qualified labor is needed. This requires raising the average education level of the Estonian population.

Currently, approximately 700 basic school graduates each year do not continue their education, and a similar number drop out in the first year of post-basic education. As a result of extending the compulsory education age, education will become more flexible, post-basic vocational education options will be increased, and four-year curricula focused on engineering and IT will be introduced, aiming to make education more competitive and attractive.

The reform on extending the compulsory education age will be presented in Tallinn at 10 a.m. on Wednesday by Minister of Education and Research Kristina Kallas, secondary education development manager Mari Tikerpuu, and vocational education reform leader Triin Laasi-Oige.