In Estonian education strategy education has been defined as the generator and maintainer of personal cultural and social values. This means that education forms and carries on value attitudes which serve as a basis for personal happiness, cultural sustainability and interoperability of the society. Participation in education facilitates the development of the state and develops the human resources of the society.
At the beginning of the academic year 2016/2017, there were about 222,000 persons enrolled in formal education in Estonia. Over 149,000 of them were enrolled in general education, 25,000 in vocational education and nearly 48,000 in higher education.
A well-functioning education system is the foundation of a successful economy and state. The article provides a summary of the more important educational indicators in 2016. The indicators are looked at by education levels and the more significant changes compared to the previous year are highlighted.
Effect of parental resources on attainment of higher education
Educational inequality and the impact of social background in the reproduction of this inequality is a relevant subject matter for the study of social stratification. The impact of background is exerted through various parental resources, such as material, cultural, etc. resources.
At the beginning of the academic year 2015/2016, there were 222,000 persons enrolled in formal education in Estonia, with 146,000 of them enrolled in general education, 25,000 in vocational education and 51,000 in higher education.
At the beginning of the academic year 2014/2015, there were about 223,000 persons enrolled in formal education in Estonia. Over 142,000 of them were enrolled in general education, 25,200 in vocational education and 55,200 in higher education.
At the beginning of the academic year 2014/2015, there were 222,966 persons enrolled in formal education. 142,515 of them were enrolled in general education, 25,237 in vocational education and 55,214 in higher education.
At the beginning of the academic year 2013/2014, there were over 226,000 persons enrolled in formal education in Estonia. Over 140,000 of them were enrolled in general education, 25,700 in vocational education and 60,000 in higher education.
Säästva arengu näitajad. Indicators of Sustainable DevelopmentWhat progress has been made towards the four main targets of the Estonian National Strategy on Sustainable Development “Sustainable Estonia 21” (SE21) – growth of welfare, coherent society, viability of the Estonian cultural space and ecological balance? The publication includes 69 indicators of sustainable development that reflect the progress in key domains in Estonia. Under each indicator, there is an analysis of the current situation, an assessment of relevance in the SE21 context, and an overview of the measures defined in current development and action plans. The publication is prepared in cooperation with the Strategy Unit of the Government Office. While the main focus is on sustainable development, the publication provides a good overview of general trends in Estonia.
The impact of education on labour market success
There are various theories about the impact of education on labour market success. According to one approach, there is a linear connection between education and labour market prospects, meaning that the higher the level of education, the better the prospects. This is the underlying principle of the human capital theory which claims that education provides certain skills necessary for coping on the labour market (Becker 1964). As employers’ aim is to maximise productivity, people with a higher level of education are considered more valuable by employers. A similar view is taken by the signalling and screening theory (Stiglitz 1975; Grubb 1994). Pursuant to these theories, the employers screen prospective employees based on different signals, such as educational attainment (Spence 1973). Here, education is not seen as a direct proof of higher productivity but rather a latent indicator of certain non-measurable properties (ability to learn, dedication, cognitive skills, etc.) (Spence 1973; Arkes 1999).
The success of people with vocational education on the labour market
Vocational education represents a category of education that is directly orientated to the labour market and each graduate should be able to find a suitable job in their corresponding area of specialisation (Nestor 2012). The Ministry of Education and Research addresses the vocational education institutions and institutions of professional higher education providing vocational education to gather information about the employment of graduates six months after graduation. In the autumn/winter of each year, course supervisors contact their former students to find out how they are doing (Nestor 2012).
Young people versus prime-age and elderly peole on the labour market
Labour market analysts often compare different social and/or demographic groups. Attention is paid to the differences in people’s employment prospects based on sex, ethnic nationality or age, for example. The possible reasons for such differences are also analysed. In terms of age groups, many studies focus on young people and the elderly because they are considered to be risk groups on the labour market. Employers may believe that the productivity of the elderly is lower (due to outdated qualifications) and assume that elderly employees are more likely to be absent from work due the health problems, for example (Bellmann et al. 2007).