The acquisition of adults’ basic education and general upper secondary education may be carried out in non-stationary form of study in general education schools for adults (upper secondary schools for adults) or in specific departments established in general education schools for the young. General education is free of charge for learners. Such study opportunities do not exist in all local municipalities but if an adult starts studies at a school of another region, his or her municipality of residence must cover the study expenses.
It is possible for adults to acquire basic and general upper secondary education in non-stationary study in Estonia in three ways:
- with regular time of study;
- through studying individual subjects (a student chooses his or her study load in cooperation with the school, one or many subjects may be studied at a time, an individual curriculum is compiled for a student or group of students with similar needs);
- as an external student (a student only passes the final examinations required for graduation from basic school or upper secondary school, it is possible to receive consultations to facilitate studying).
In the academic year 2012/2013, there were 16 upper secondary schools for adults (general education schools established specifically for adults where basic education and general secondary education can be acquired) and 30 educational institutions (2011/2012 – 25) where, in addition to general education studies for the young also adults have the opportunity to acquire basic and general upper secondary education.
General education may be obtained in the form of non-stationary study by people who have acquired basic education or are past the age of compulsory school attendance (17 years of age). Generally there are no admission tests but educational institutions use different methods (tests, sample exercises, discussions) for finding out the level, appropriate study load and study motivation of student candidates.
In the non-stationary form of study of acquiring general education, assessment and progression to the next study level is carried out on the same grounds as in case of young learners studying in diurnal study. Assessment is carried out on a 5-point scale. In Estonia, the development of the system of acknowledgement of previous studies and professional experiences in adults’ general education studies is in the starting phase.
In contrast to stationary study, non-stationary study on the basic school level does not include physical education, craft, handicraft, house economics and technology studies as compulsory subjects. In non-stationary upper secondary study, physical education is not included among compulsory subjects.
Graduation from basic school and upper secondary school and issuing of graduation certificates in the non-stationary form of study of general education is carried out similarly to the stationary form of study.
Teaching Methods and Approaches
Generally similar organisation of study and teaching methods are used in the non-stationary form of study of general education as in the diurnal form of study. However, many teachers of upper secondary schools for adults have received andragogical training and base teaching on the characteristics of students.