The Ministry of Education and Research has a leading role in adult education policy making. Pursuant to the Adult Education Act (hereinafter referred to as the AEA), the task of the Ministry of Education and Research is planning and application of the principles and objectives of the state education policy in the area of adult education, development of the judicial area necessary for exercising education policy and ensuring its purposefulness and sustainability. In addition, the Ministry of Education and Research ensures analysis and assessment of training needs for an efficient implementation of education policy.
Many other ministries are also involved in different areas of adult education:
- The Ministry of Social Affairs creates a legal framework for providing necessary training and counselling services to the unemployed and the labour market risk groups, implemented by Eesti Töötukassa (Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund);
- The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications creates conditions for regular provision of education and training to employees and compliance of the knowledge and skills of employees with the needs of the companies;
- The Ministry of Agriculture is a very important funder and a contracting authority for education and training in the area of agriculture.
Adult Education Council advises the Ministry of Education and Research and other organisations in adult education policy making, by representing the positions of the organisations in the council and providing expert analyses. The Adult Education Council comprises the representatives of the following organisations: Estonian Trade Union Confederation, Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Estonian Association for Advancement of Vocational Education, Association of Estonian Adult Educators Andras, Estonian Employers’ Confederation, Estonian Non-formal Adult Education Association, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Finance, Universities Estonia, Republic of Estonia Government Office, the Foundation Estonian Qualifications Authority, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Tallinn Upper Secondary School for Adults, Professional Qualifications Committee for Adult Educators, Estonian Employees’ Unions’ Confederation TALO, Forum for Adult Learners, Eesti Töötukassa (Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund), Association of Estonian Training Companies.
Local governments do not have significant tasks in organising adult education. Local governments can organise both stationary and non-stationary studies in the general education schools operating within their jurisdiction. Non-stationary studies are studies aimed at adult learners, whereby independent learning has a larger share besides lessons.