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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Teachers and education staff


9.Teachers and education staff

Last update: 19 December 2023

Strategic focuses of teacher policy have been specified in the Estonian Education Strategy 2021-2035. The strategy emphasises the need to ensure a sufficient number of competent and motivated teachers, university teachers, support specialists and school leaders, and to guarantee that learning environments are diverse and learning is learner-centred. Teachers are considered key actors in planning, providing feedback and supporting the teaching and learning process in general, including vocational and higher education, as well as non-formal learning. Heads of schools are expected create a learning culture and environment that supports learning and well-being, skilfully managing and implementing changes, and upgrading the role of support specialists and their cooperation with teachers.

The strategy foresees measures to tackle the problem of ageing teacher community, and lack of teachers in certain regions and subject fields (esp. STEM teachers), by increasing the supply of new teachers and increasing the retainment rate of beginning teachers.

A teacher action plan (2022) is implemented to improve the working conditions, training and career progression of teachers; it also covers support specialists, school leaders and school managers. Developing leadership quality and organisational culture is considered as key to improving the reputation of the teaching profession, bringing new teachers into schools and giving them job security. 

New study places for teacher and support specialist students have been opened at teacher training universities, and a scholarship scheme for teacher training and support specialist students has been launched. Teacher training curricula are revised to provide more flexiblility to enter the profession (i.e. micro-credentials). A new career model for teachers is also being developed.

Professional standards form a conceptual basis for the initial and continuing education of teachers; continuing education of heads and teaching staff is based on competence models.

The higher education standard sets general requirements for academic personnel. 

The Estonian Education Information System includes a sub-register of teachers and teaching staff, in which teachers, teaching staff, support specialists and heads of all educational institutions involved in the provision of formal education are registered.

The professional standard for trainers of adults has been developed and awarding of professional qualifications is ongoing.

The teaching staff and management of all educational institutions works on the basis of employment contracts, with the exception of the rector of the professional higher education institution related to national defence. Many educational employees have been guaranteed a shorter working time and longer annual leave.