In the course of formal education, adults have the possibility to acquire general education, vocational education and higher education.
It is possible to acquire general education (basic education or general upper secondary education) in general education schools for adults (upper secondary schools for adults) in non-stationary form of study or as an external student and in specific adults’ departments established in general education schools for the young. Upper secondary schools for adults and general education schools in Estonia are generally municipal schools.
Vocational schools offer possibilities to adult students to acquire vocational education in the stationary or non-stationary form of study, and also work-related in-service training. Most vocational schools in Estonia are state schools but there are also municipal and private schools.
Also universities and institutions of professional higher education enable adults to study full-time or part-time. In professional higher education institutions and in universities, also in-service training not related to formal education can be carried out. Higher education institutions in Estonia can be those in public law, state owned and private institutions.
Professional education and training (in-service training and retraining) is offered by vocational schools, professional higher education institutions, universities and private training institutions, and professional education and training of adults can take place also in enterprises at the workplace.
Since 2007, the state has substantially expanded financial support for adult professional education and training, causing an increase in the importance of vocational educational institutions in providing adults with non-formal education. The number of participants in courses arranged by higher education institutions has also constantly risen.
Non-formal education is offered by private schools, funds and non-profit organisations located in all Estonian counties.
Adult training is accessible in all counties through some type of educational or training institution (non-formal education centre, adult gymnasium, private education institution earning profits, vocational school, higher education institution). It is noteworthy that formal education institutions increasingly offer courses for adults. The role of vocational schools, institutions of professional higher education and universities in offering study opportunities for adults is increasing. Vocational schools exist in all counties of Estonia and in all regions of Estonia there are centres offering non-formal education (folk universities, cultural centres, etc.).
Read more: Eurydice
Please note that the new Adult Education Act in Estonia will be in force since 01.07.2015