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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National qualifications framework


2.Organisation and governance

2.5National qualifications framework

Last update: 27 November 2023

Estonia has an eight-level qualifications framework, which covers both formal education and vocational qualifications, bringing them together in a single system. The qualifications framework was established by the Professions Act in 2008.  

The eight-level qualifications framework (EKR) has been brought in line with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).   

Estonian qualifications framework consists of four sub-frameworks:  

  • general education qualifications
  • vocational education qualifications
  • higher education qualifications
  • professional qualifications or professions

From December 2008 to August 2011, EKR was brought in line with EQF. Creation and implementation of EKR was based on the principles of responsibility and quality assurance which were laid down by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe in their recommendations for the implementation of EQF.

The EKR will only include the nationally approved, i.e., the national qualifications. A national qualification must fulfil two conditions:

  •  it is based on a study results based qualification standard (curriculum or vocational standard) that fulfils the requirements of national framework standards (if these exist);
  • a nationally approved body offering the qualification exists (educational institution or qualification offering body).

Linking with the EKR involves two stages. Initially, the types of qualifications (frameworks of higher education, vocational education and general education qualifications and vocations) are linked with the levels of EKR. In the second stage, qualifications are placed on the level relevant to the type of the qualification or are linked to this level.  Professions (i.e., professional qualifications) are managed and administered by the Estonian Qualifications Authority, which was appointed as the national coordination centre for the implementation of EKR in Estonia by a decision of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Research of 26 February 2010. In order to involve all interested parties in the process, also a steering committee was established.

Since 1 January 2012, the qualification-awarding institutions in Estonia have recorded a reference to the appropriate level within the European Qualifications Framework to all qualification certificates, diplomas and Europass documents.