During Estonia's period of economic growth, many students decided to quit school and start to work. According to EHIS (Estonian Education Information System), during academic years 2003/04-2007/08, 32 200 students in VET discontinued their studies. In boom times, people with no specific qualification can compete in labour market - but in a downturn they are no longer competitive. For long-term sustainable development, society needs people with competitive education and readiness for lifelong learning. This is a situation which the Estonian educational system must deal with.
In the next four years (2010-2013), 400 students who have discontinued their studies during January 2003-September 2009 in institutions of vocational education and institutions of professional higher education that provide vocational training, can continue their studies. This programme is called “KUTSE” (a pun on words, meaning profession/calling/call). The purpose of this programme is to allow vocational education students whose studies have been disrupted to complete their studies - irrespective of the student’s age, nationality, domicile, socio-economic background or special needs. To participate, students must have previously fulfilled 50% of the curriculum. To make it more flexible, RPL principles (Recognition of Prior Learning and Experience) allow the schools to also take work experience into account. People who decide to continue their studies are subject to all customary student rights and obligations, including the right for a study allowance.
The programme is funded by the European Social Fund and the state, which will provide the needed study places in the respective institutions. The total cost of the programme is 30 million kroons (1,92 mEUR). 25,5 million kroons is funded by ESF and 4,5 million kroons by the State.
Further information: Aivi Virma, Programmeme manager, aivi.virma [at] hm.ee
Source: Estonian Ministry of Education and Research