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Recent developments in higher education governance in Estonia Annika Tina Deputy head, HE department Estonian Ministry of Education and Research


RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION GOVERNANCE IN ESTONIA. ANNIKA TINA ... development and to value and dispread the best practice of quality assurance ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Recent developments in higher education governance in Estonia Annika Tina Deputy head, HE department Estonian Ministry of Education and Research

Recent developments in higher education
governance in Estonia Annika Tina Deputy head,
HE department Estonian Ministry of Education and
Outline of the Presentation
  • Brief description of the Estonian Higher
    Education sector
  • Main documents and activities shaping currently
    the HE Policy in Estonia
  • Funding Higher Education in Estonia.

Brief description of the Estonian higher
education sector
Change in the total number of HE institutions
from the academic year 1990/91 to 2008/09
Change in the total number of students in HE from
the academic year 1995/96 to 2008/09
Proportion of general secondary education
graduates 2008/09 who enrolled in HE at the same
Proportion of MST graduates and graduates in
social sciences, business and law 2008/09
Student distribution by age group in the academic
year 1993/94 and in 2008/09
Number of potential secondary school graduates
will decrease rapidly by year 2016 (16-18 year
Main documents and activities
shaping currently the HE Policy in Estonia
Main documents shaping currently the Higher
Education Policy in Estonia
  • Higher Education Strategy for 2006-2015 approved
    by the Parliament (2006). Lines of action
  • Better linkages between higher education programs
    and the needs of the Estonian society and
    expectations of labor market (ESF budget
    2007-2015 approx 28,6 mil EUR)
  • Internationalization (annual budget approx 8,6
    mil EUR, including ESF)
  • Quality assurance (legislative amendments
    approved June 2008)
  • Modernisation of funding system (discussions in
    HE Council)
  • Higher Education Internationalization Strategy
    for 2015 (2007)
  • OECD recommendationsThematic Review of Tertiary
    Education (2007).

Key partners for MoER The Archimedes Foundation
  • The HE Quality Agency is responsible for
    administering institutional accreditation and
    assessment of the quality of study programmes
  • The Estonian ENIC/NARICs functions are the
    evaluation of foreign higher education
  • Centre for Higher Education Development
    implements ESF programmes and runs the
    scholarship programmes for students and academic
  • The Centre of Educational Programmes coordinates
    and implements different EU programmes and
  • Implementing Agency of Structural Support for the
    programming period of 2007-2013 assess project
    applications in the area of RD and HE (budget
    8,6 billion EEK approximately 549,7 mil EUR).

Key partners for MoER (2)
  • Rectors Conferences are separate for public
    universities (6 institutional members), private
    universities (3) and for state and private PHEI-s
    (13). MoER consults Rectors Conferences on all
    legislative matters and other strategic decisions
    regarding HE policies.
  • The Federation of Estonian Student Unions
    organization representing the student voice in
    all the various task forces under the auspices of
  • The Estonian Employers Confederation and
    Estonian Chamber of Commerce participate in main
    working groups for preparing the policy

The stages of the Bologna process in Estonia (1)
  • Pre-Bologna
  • Credit-point system based on student workload
  • Introduction of the accreditation system
  • Ratification of the Lisbon Convention
  • After the Ministerial meetings in Bologna and
    Prague (1999-2002)
  • New degree structure
  • Diploma Supplement
  • After the Berlin Ministerial meeting (2003)
  • Government Decree on designation of degrees
  • Government Decree on correspondence of
    qualifications awarded before and after August
    20, 1991
  • State support schemes for mobility
  • Quality Assurance Agreement of Universities

  Good practice of co-operation
  • In 2003 The Quality Assurance Agreement was
    adopted by all public universities. Two private
    universities joined the agreement in 2004.
  • Agreement establishes requirements for
    curricula, academic posts and academic degrees
    and includes an obligation to assess every year
    the performance of the agreement.

The stages of the Bologna process in Estonia (2)
  • After the Bergen Ministerial meeting (2005)
  • Qualification framework
  • Accreditation of Prior Learning (APEL)
  • Strategy document for the internationalization of
  • Regulation of the use of ECTS
  • After the London Ministerial meeting (2007)
  • Launching independent HE Quality Agency since
  • Legislative Framework for joint programs and
  • Agreement on Good Practice for Internationalizatio
    n in Higher Education

  Good practice of co-operation
  • In 2007/2008 Agreement on Good Practice in the
    Internationalization of Estonian Higher Education
    Institutions has signed by the rectors of HEI-s
    (21) who are members of the Rectors Conferences.
  • The purpose of the agreement is to specify the
    duties that Estonian HE institutions shall
    undertake and pledge to observe by executing any
    internationalization-related actions.  

Launching independent Higher Education Quality
Agency (1.01.2009)
  • Estonia has had an independent system of quality
    assurance in place since the mid-1990s.
  • Higher Education Accreditation Centre, a member
    of ENQA, was responsible for organisation of HE
    quality assessment until the end of the 2008.
    HEAC included the Quality Assessment Council
    which was appointed by the Government and was
    operated under the jurisdiction of the Ministry
    of Education and Research.
  • Although, the system was operating separately
    from the ministry - the final accreditation
    decision was approved by the minister as the
    state recognition of diplomas depended upon
    positive accreditation.
  • Since January 2009 Estonian HE Quality Agency
    continues the work of HEAC and QAC, being
    autonomous and independent in quality assessment
    decisions. HEQA carries out a broader mission
    with aim to encourage the HE quality development
    and to value and dispread the best practice of
    quality assurance in Estonia HE sector.

Higher Education Quality Agency
  • The HEQA is comprised of an office where staff is
    responsible for organising assessments and an
    Assessment Council taking a decisions regarding
  • Assessment Council is a body that is comprised of
    13 members and shall include at least one expert
    from each broad area of study. Member of the
    council may be submitted by universities,
    institutions of professional HE, RD
    institutions, registered professional
    associations, associations of employers and
    associations of student bodies.
  • The Higher Education Quality Agency shall involve
    additional experts in its activities, establish
    and disclose the conditions and procedure for
    institutional accreditation and quality
    assessment based on specifications of different
    types of educational institutions and undergo
    periodically an internationally recognised
    external evaluation.

Quality assessment and recognition of diplomas
  • Recognition of diplomas in "new system is not
    anymore directly tied into the system of
    accreditation. During 2009-2011 all HEI-s need to
    go through the external quality assessment
    exercise organised by the independent HEQA.
  • Government will decide upon the degree awarding
    powers to institution in certain broad area of
    study. The decision is based on quality,
    availability of resources and sustainability of
    an educational process.
  • The institution gets degree awarding power fully
    or with limitations - for three years.
  • Decision on degree awarding powers entails
    recognition of diplomas. Since 2012, there will
    not be HEI in Estonia operating on legal basis
    and issuing diplomas without state recognition.
  • Amendments to the law included also turning an
    institutional accreditation compulsory instead of
    voluntary as it has been so far. Accreditation of
    programs will continue but instead of looking
    into the one single program the accreditation
    commission will take more strategic view -
    assessing all programs in one study area at once.

funding higher education
The Basic Data on Funding
  • The total funding for higher education (public
    combined with private resources) was 1.37 of GDP
    in 2005.
  • The private sector counts for about 1/3 of
    overall educational expenditure in HE.
  • Public expenditure on HE was only 1.07 GDP
  • State-commissioned study places in first cycle
    are formed for an estimated 50 of persons who
    have acquired general secondary education and 10
    of persons who have completed secondary
    vocational education curricula.

Funding for HE in 2008 (MoER)
Bologna topics 9.9 mil EUR
Direct Subsidies for Operating Costs 7.1 mil EUR
State Commission 1 06.2 mil EUR
Students Study Allowances 14.2 mil EUR
  • Quality Assurance
  • Mobility schemes
  • IT development
  • Co-finance for ESF

- Commission for graduates in all three level in
the form of block grant.
  • Study allowances
  • Other direct support for students
  • Co-finance for ERDF
  • Academic libraries
  • Univ. Clinic

State Commission
  • Finance from the public budget is provided
    primarily in the form of a block grant that
    covers the state-commission for graduates (since
  • Both public and private institutions are eligible
    to receive funding through the state commission.
  • Separate funding is for capital investment and
    for other expenditure which is of a limited
  • Quite positive conditions to diversify the
    sources of university income since 1995.

Public universities have right to
  • possess assets and buildings,
  • contract a loan,
  • freely use their budgets with a view to
    fulfilling their statutory objectives,
  • employ and release staff, determine the wage
    level of employees,
  • decide upon the total number of students
  • specify the rate of tuition fees for fee-based
    study places.
  • Universities have extensive rights in using
    their property and in entrepreneurship, however,
    such activities must be related to the main
    activities of the university and necessary for
    achieving its teaching and research goals.

Performance contracts since academic year 2009/10
  • Estonian public funding of higher education
    studies has been contractual since 1995.
  • The type of contracts has been slightly modified
    in 2002 and is being modified again in 2009.
  • Since academic year 2009/10 three-year
    performance contracts are introduced. There are
    new negotiation and contract areas like
    statement of HEI-s mission, specific
    responsibility-areas, student support functions
    to be fulfilled and etc.

Strengths of the current Estonian funding model
  • Many aspects of current system embody good
  • Autonomy for institutions
  • Block grants for operating funds
  • Contractual relationship between government and
  • Steering rather than control
  • Private institutions operate and receive some
    public funding
  • Excess demand has been absorbed by allowing
    institutions to enroll students outside the state
    subsidized education on a fee-paying basis
  • Student loans available

OECD recommendations on Students Finance
  • Reform student support
  • consider introduction of an income-contingent
    student loan facility
  • over the longer-term, increase the coverage and
    value of grants for living costs.
  • Introduce principle that all students should pay
    something for their studies and receive public

Impact of the financial crisis on HEI funding
  • 1st annual budget cut in March 2009 included 3
    cut in public HE funding, but did not affect
    public funding for PhD-studies and research.
  • 2nd budget cut in May 2009 is on the way with
    uncertain consequences.
  • So far, we have witnessed only occasional reports
    concerning the increased interruption of studies
    because of loss of income by a student himself or
    his/her family.
  • There are funding schemes elaborated to get
    universities to increase their involvement in
    continuing education of transversal and specific
    skills, designed to reach potential and actual
    unemployed educated persons.
  • There may be mergers ahead, if not closures of
    smaller HEI-s.

Example of using ESF Doctoral Schools 2006 - 2013
  • Doctoral schools were launched in 2006 with the
    support of the EU structural funds. The DS is a
    cooperation project of three or more partners.
  • Conducted surveys show that the creation of
    Doctoral Schools has helped to strengthen the
    training of top specialists in the selected
    fields of study. Important issues in financing
    have been resolved
  • opportunities have been found to pay doctoral
    candidates partial salaries,
  • better working conditions have been created,
  • the primary costs incurred in acquiring work
    accessories and materials have been covered,
  • the costs of summer, winter and other schools and
    conferences have been covered,
  • the costs of attending foreign conferences have
    been covered,
  • foreign tutors and lecturers have been paid for
    their work.
  • Budget is up to 1,28 million EUR per doctoral
    school for 10-11 doctoral schools on period

Funding for HE from 2004 to 2009 (MoER)
Thank you!