Country Report Estonia 2020 (excerpts on education), 2020

3. REFORM PRIORITIES

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3.3. LABOUR MARKET, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL POLICIES

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3.3.3. EDUCATION AND SKILLS

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Higher education is insufficiently aligned with labour market needs and dropout rates are high. Although tertiary educational attainment in the 30-34 age group is currently above the EU average (47.2% compared with 40.7%), it may worsen if the high dropout rates from higher education and falling enrolment rates ( 32) persist.

32 Besides demographic trends, enrolments are negatively impacted by a high share of early school leavers and an increasing proportion of upper secondary graduates that do not continue studying, in particular men, Russian speakers, and graduates from schools in remote areas (MoER, 2017).

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The performance gap between Estonian and Russian-medium basic schools persists and strengthens regional disparities as well as hindering the mobility across the country because of the language barrier. The proficiency in Estonian of students with a different mother tongue remains low: less than 61.4% of graduates from basic schools where Russian is the language of instruction master Estonian at intermediate (B1) level, well below the national target of 90%. To support Estonian language learning from an early age, a pilot project providing Estonian-speaking teachers in pre-school education groups was launched in the two Russian-speaking regions. The project is expected to be further expanded in 2020 to cover basic schools too.

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Document data: 26.02.2020; SWD(2020) 505 final. Link: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/2020-european_semester_country-report-estonia_en.pdf

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