TALLINN - A new Higher Education Act is to enter into force in Estonia in September according to which students starting professional higher education this fall will for the first time receive a bachelor's degree at the end of their studies.
Kristjan Oad, general manager of the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences (EUAS), said that graudates of more practical curricula have so far been given a diploma of professional higher education, while graduates of more academic programs have received bachelor's degrees. "Now, all those who start professional higher education this fall will equally receive a bachelor's degree upon graduation," Oad said.
"The law caught up with life. There is no difference between bachelor's studies and professional higher education studies other than professional higher education courses are more practical, more tied to the labor market. Until now, two different diplomas caused confusion, especially abroad. The matter is clearer now, a uniform bachelor's degree is more easily understandable outside Estonia," Oad said, adding that, with this step, Estonian higher education is moving closer toward countries like Germany or Switzerland.
"Under the new Higher Education Act, the same requirements apply to professional and academic higher education, but only one point differs. Namely, a student of professional higher education acquires not only basic knowledge but also skills to work in a certain field, which makes the life of the students starting life a bit easier in reality," Oad added.
According to the general manager of EUAS, in other industrialized countries, graduates of professional higher education also receive a bachelor's degree. "In Germany, it is even possible to acquire a doctoral degree at some institutions of professional higher education," Oad added.