Total number of pupils is decreasing

news release no 25

According to the Statistics Estonia, at the beginning of academic year 2008/2009, 154,481 pupils were acquiring general education, 27,239 vocational education and 68,399 students were acquiring higher education. The decrease in the total number of pupils is influenced by the number of pupils acquiring general education, which has decreased during the last decade.

The decrease in the number of pupils in general education is related to the decrease in the number of births, which began at the end of the 80s and lasted till the end of the 90s. At the end of the 90s more than 220,000 pupils were acquiring general education, thus the number of pupils in general education has decreased by about a third during the last decade. In academic year 2008/2009, 147,519 full-time and 6,962 part-time pupils were acquiring general education. In autumn 2008, 12,426 children started school, which is over a third less than ten years ago.

In academic year 2008/2009, 12,402 students were admitted to vocational education institutions, 59% of them began studying in vocational courses after basic education. Compared to the previous academic year, 1,088 more pupils were admitted. More male students were admitted to vocational secondary courses based on basic education (in 2008 65% of admitted students were men), but more female students were admitted to vocational courses based on secondary education (in 2008 63% of admitted students were women).The reason is the fact that there are more girls in general secondary education.

Compared to the previous academic year, the admittance in higher education decreased by 190 students, the number of students increased by 231 and the number of graduates decreased by 1,267. 46% of students enrolled obtain higher education at state-financed and 54% at non-state-financed study places in academic year 2008/2009. 62% of students are women. The biggest share of female students is in Master Courses (68%) and the smallest in Integrated Bachelor's/Master's study (56%). Gender disproportion is relatively small also in Doctor Courses where 131 female students per 100 male students studied.

Enrolment, pupils/students and graduates by level of education*

Level of education Enrolment Pupils/students Graduates
2007 2008 2007 2008 2007 2008
General education 25 599 24 866 161 961 154 481 30 269 28 488
12 606
(1st grade)
12 426
(1st grade)
122 777 117 534 17 809 16 461
12 993
(10th grade)
12 440
(10th grade)
39 184 36 947 12 460 12 027
Vocational education 11 314 12 402 27 381 27 239 7 729 7 269
Higher education 19 482 19 292 68 168 68 399 12 612 11 345

*For graduates the given year shows the end of the academic year, in other cases the beginning of the academic year.

The data made public originate from the Estonian Education Information System administered by the Ministry of Education and Research.

For further information:

Tiiu-Liisa Rummo-Laes
Population and Social Statistics Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 9334

More detailed data have been published in the Statistical Database.