“Underachievement in basic skills and the impact of socioeconomic status on student performance are low. Early school leaving remains a challenge, with marked gender differences and geographical disparities. Participation in early childhood education and care remains below the EU average,” the report says about the Estonian school system.
“Teacher salaries have increased significantly and are set to increase further in order to make teaching more attractive and counter the ageing of the teaching workforce,” it says.
Where in the European Union on the average respectively 19.7 percent, 22.2 percent and 20.6 percent of students attained ISCED levels 0-2 in reading, mathematics and science in PISA tests, in Estonia the ratios for the respective categories were 10.6 percent; 11.2 percent and 8.8 percent.
In 2015, only two EU member states, Estonia and Finland, reached the ET 2020 benchmark of low achievers below 15 percent. The average share of low achievers in science in the EU is 20.6 percent, over 5 percentage points above target.
Estonia also is one of the member states having rather equitable distributions of low achievers across socioeconomic groups, with gaps between upper and lower ESCS quartiles below 20 percentage points. These countries are Estonia, Finland, Latvia, the UK, Slovenia and Denmark.
Tertiary educational attainment is high and growing, but gender gaps persist, the report says of Estonia. In 2016, people with tertiary education made up 45.4 percent of residents of the age group 30-34 in Estonia, compared with 39.1 percent in the EU on the whole.
Estonia ranks below the EU average for participation in early childhood education and care with a ratio of 91.6 percent, compared with 94.8 percent in all of the EU.
The report also points out that the funding model for Estonian universities was revised targeting the stability of resources and completion of studies in nominal time. Labor market and skills surveys aim to anticipate future trends and feed changes into the education and training system, thus supporting adjustments in the economy.