The activities of an adult education institution that offers formal education are regulated by the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, the Vocational Educational Institutions Act, the Higher Education Act or thePrivate Schools Act, i.e., quality assurance measures are also applied to these educational institutions.
The provision of continuing education is regulated by the Adult Education Act. Pursuant to the act, each adult educator shall establish and disclose the bases for the organisation of studies in continuing education and the bases for ensuring the quality of the continuing education institution.
The professional qualifications system, i.e. acknowledgement of the professional qualifications is regulated by the Professions Act.
The tasks of the Ministry of Education and Research in the area of adult education include planning and implementation of the principles and objectives of the national education policy, development of the judicial area necessary for the implementation of the education policy, and ensuring the purposefulness and continuity of the implementation of the education policy.
In terms of professional qualifications of the same area of professional activity, the quality of education is monitored by professional councils whose activities are coordinated by the Estonian Qualifications Authority.
Approaches and methods for quality assurance
The minister responsible for the area establishes, by a regulation, the Continuing Education Standard, which lays down the requirements for in-service training curricula, for the documents certifying the completion of and participation in in-service training, as well as the list of in-service training curriculum groups.
The state does not consider it necessary to supervise the entire education market, but it has given an opportunity to submit a notice of economic activities to all educators that are not subject to the obligation under specific law to have a licence. By submitting a notice of economic activities for the provision of continuing education, the manager of a continuing education institution certifies that he or she complies with the requirements arising from the Adult Education Act and Continuing Education Standard, establishes the basis for the organisation of studies, basis for quality assurance and publish the necessary information on its website.
Only continuing education institution, the manager of which has submitted a notice of economic activities and which enables its customers to apply for study leave from their employers and income tax return is allowed to provide continuing education training financed from the state or local government budget or structural funds.
From the Estonian Education Information System adult learners can find the educators who follow the requirements arising from the Adult Education Act and the Continuing Education Standard, which also allows them to find suitable continuing education.
In exceptional cases, the provision of continuing education requires applying for activity licence. The manager of a continuing education institution that is required, pursuant to specific law, to apply for an activity licence, shall submit a relevant application to the Ministry of Education and Research in the Estonian Education Information System.
An activity licence is granted if, in addition to complying with the requirements laid down in the General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act, the applicant also can ensure suitable continuing education programmes, the number of teachers with required qualification and learning environment that is necessary for the provision of continuing education. The activity licence granted to a continuing education institution is without a term.
In the event of material breach of the requirements established for continuing education institutions under the Adult Education Act or the continuing education standard, the Ministry of Education and Research has the right to suspend or prohibit the conduct of continuing education as the manager of the continuing education institution.