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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.6 Evidence-based youth policy

On this page
  1. Political Commitment to Evidence-Based Youth Policy
  2. Cooperation between policy-making and research
  3. National Statistics and available data sources
  4. Budgetary Allocations supporting research in the youth field

Political Commitment to Evidence-Based Youth Policy

In general, the entire Estonian public administration system uses the same framework of evidence-based policymaking. There is also a framework for evidence-based youth policy. Identification of needs for drafting and planning, implementation and evaluation of public policy measures targeting young people follows the same rules as other sectors. As an exception, youth policy planning relies on the youth monitoring system Noorteseire. The youth monitor helps to map the situation of the young people in related policy areas to create a holistic picture of the youth. Starting from 2019, there is a new platform called Juhtimislauad that has a specific part committed to the youth field.

Assuring the quality of legislation in Estonia is the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice. The ministry has developed regulations and recommendations to support evidence-based policymaking. The evaluation of the expected impact of a legislative act constitutes the backbone of evidence-based policy processes, though this is not the only aspect that needs to be taken into account. The following documents have been adopted to support evaluation and evidence-based policymaking in general: 

In 2015, the National Audit Office published a report describing the utilization of research in policymaking during 2010-2013. According to the report, in general, the ministries rarely live up to the good standards of utilizing the research and policy-relevant information in drafting legislative acts and policy programs. 

A review of the sectorial development plans and strategies reveals that the plans were informed by the following type of information and research:

  • general cross-sectional and longitudinal national statistics (e.g. demographic data);
  • sectorial statistics (e.g. the rate of recidivism);
  • European Union and EU member states’ statistics obtained from Eurostat;
  • earlier ministerial and sectoral policy documents containing analysis, analytical papers, and reports (e.g. Integration monitoring);
  • policy papers and recommendations of international organizations (e.g. OECD reports),
  • reviews and evaluations of policy programmes (e.g. Blueprints Programs);
  • opinion polls, time-series of opinion polls;
  • academic research papers published in peer-reviewed journals.

Statistics Estonia is a governmental agency under the administration of the Ministry of Finance. The main task of the Statistics Estonia is to provide public institutions, business and research circles, international organizations and individuals with reliable and objective information on the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation and trends in Estonia. In producing statistics, the Statistics Estonia is guided by the Official Statistics Act. The Statistics Estonia has a contract with the Education and Youth Board since 2020 in order to develop the new monitoring platform Juhtimislauad, raise the awareness of data amongst young people and youth field, etc.

In the process of drafting the Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020, all available statistical information was used, also research and analyses. Same is done with the new development plan for the years 2021-2035.

The strategic planning in the youth field is considered to be on a very good level. As mentioned, there is the youth monitoring system, consultations with young people and social partners, cooperation with researchers.

Cooperation between policy-making and research

Each policy field in Estonia works in its own way for the connection between policy and research in general. (e.g. institutes, studies, analysis, department of the ministry). In the context of policymaking, every ministry is responsible for carrying out research in its area of responsibility to assure that policymaking is evidence-based. In the youth field, the Ministry of Education and Research and Education and Youth Board manage the youth monitoring system Noorteseire and the research-practice-decision co-operation triangle. 

Education and Youth Board has contracts with Tartu University and Tallinn University in order to develop new models for organizing better youth work, including the fields of participation and exclusion, and organizing youth work on the local level.

National Statistics and available data sources

National Statistics

Education and Youth Board runs a website Noorteseire (Youth Monitor). This website gives an overview of studies related to youth, and some basic demographics, health, criminal behavior, education and labor market, youth work participation, social activism and leisure time spending preferences data on young people. Most of the data presented there come from Statistics Estonia and some from other sources. The data was collected mostly annually, except for some researches that are conducted every 2 or 4 years. Since 2019, there is a new initiative called Juhtimislauad, that gives an overview of the situation of young people and illustrates the data.

Besides data collected for the general population, there are some indicators specially used for describing the situation of the young people. These indicators are set in the Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020. For example: 

IndicatorData collection bodyData collection time

The proportion of the young people aged 18-24 with basic education or lower, who do not continue their studies

Statistics EstoniaAnnually in February
The youth unemployment rate amongst young people aged 15-24Statistics EstoniaAnnually in February
The involvement of young people in youth work (% of all young people)Estonian Youth Work Centre (in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research and Statistics Estonia)Annually in January
Young people per hobby schoolEstonian Youth Work Centre (in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research and Statistics Estonia)Annually in January
Young people per youth centerEstonian Youth Work Centre (in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research and Statistics Estonia)Annually in January
The organized opportunities to participate (youth councils)Estonian Youth Work Centre (in cooperation with the National Youth Council)Annually in January
The satisfaction of young people in youth workEstonian Youth Work Centre (in cooperation with a research company or organization)2015, 2017

As a part of the youth monitoring system Noorteseire, a yearbook is annually published starting from 2009. The yearbook contains two sections: 

  • a statistical overview of the youth population in the country;
  • an in-depth analysis or research of a specific theme. 

Throughout the years the focal themes of the yearbook have been the following: 

Youth reports

There are regular EU youth reports submitted to the European Commission. The Statistics Estonia issues from time to time a general overview of the situation of children and young people at the national level. There are annual reports of the Youth Monitor and Youth Field Programme which are compiled by the Ministry of Education and Research in cooperation with the Education and Youth Board. All reports are compiled in the first quarter of the year and published on the website of the Ministry of Education and Research

Other data regarding the youth population

In 2016, there was a wide range of registers and databases which contain information on young people. Between the period of 2011-2020, the importance of the registers increases significantly because in 2020/2021 the national population and housing census are planned to be conducted entirely register-based. The last survey-based census was conducted in 2010/2011. 

Some examples from the registers and databases that contain information on young people that is relevant for assessing the situation of youth in society and for policymaking: 

  • Estonian Education Information System EEIS (Eesti Hariduse Infosüsteem EHIS) - a state database holding data about the education system. It covers preschool, general, vocational, higher, hobby, and adult education for students, pedagogical staff, institutions, curricula, school education certificates, and juvenile committees. The register is maintained by the Ministry of Education and Research. There is another database HaridusSilm ("Eye of Education") which visualizes the information contained in EEIS. 
  • Social Services and Benefits Register STAR (Sotsiaalteenuste ja -toetuste andmeregister STAR) - a state database, which is used for carrying out case-based social work at the municipal level. The register is maintained by the Ministry of Social Affairs
  • Register of Employment (Töötamise register) - a database of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (Eesti Töötukassa) which contains personalized information on the employment status of every person. 
  • Population Register (Rahvastikuregister) - a database that unites the main personal data on Estonian citizens, citizens of the European Union who are registered residents in Estonia, and aliens who have been granted with a residence permit or right of residence in Estonia. The register is maintained and developed by the Ministry of Interior.

An overview of academic research on young people can be obtained from the Estonian Research Portal and the Youth Monitor Portal

Budgetary Allocations supporting research in the youth field

There are concrete budgetary allocations for research in the youth field each year (youth monitor, studies and research, development). In 2019, the amount of 145 217 euros was planned for youth monitoring and research from the youth field programme. The information regarding 2020 is not clear because of the administrative change of merging institutions in the fields of education and youth.