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There is a mechanism established to ensure harmonized policy-making and implementation, which also covers the area of education and training of youth. The central position in this mechanism - approving the propositions to develop a policy document or to change the existing one, monitoring the implementation through approving the action plans and their reports, monitoring the cooperation and in case of need initiating the cooperation - is granted to the Government and the Government Office. The Ministry of Finance also plays a coordinating role in planning, monitoring and ensuring the division of resources of different financial instruments including the state budget, among all the policy fields.
The main governmental authority responsible for education and training is the Ministry of Education and Research. The main function of the Ministry of Education and Research is to ensure targeted and effective development of education, research, youth and language policy, and a high level and competitiveness of research and development. For detailed information on the tasks of the Ministry, please consult the section “Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level of the Estonian education system” in Eurydice.
The main other Governmental authorities relevant to Education and Training:
- the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications: responsible for developing entrepreneurship and economic affairs;
- the Ministry of Social Affairs: responsible for labour market policy, but also for social protection and services including child and family policy.
The main public actor starting from 01.08.2020 is the Education and Youth Board, which is responsible for the implementation of education and youth policy.
The main non-public actors:
- Estonian School Students Union (Eesti Õpilasesinduste Liit), uniting student councils in general education schools;
- Estonian Students Union (Eesti Üliõpilasesinduste Liit), uniting student councils in higher education;
- Estonian Teachers Union (Eesti Õpetajate Liit), representing pedagogical professionals;
- Estonian Association of School Heads (Eesti Koolijuhtide Ühendus), unites and represents headmasters of general education schools;
- The Estonian Association for Advancement of Vocational Education (Eesti Kutseõppe Edendamise Ühing), a voluntary organisation that has as its goal the development of higher quality Vocational Education;
- Universities Estonia (Rektorite Nõukogu), non-profit organisation uniting universities represented by rectors;
- Estonian Rectors’ Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences (Rakenduskõrgkoolide Rektorite Nõukogu) is the cooperation body for Estonian universities of applied sciences;
- Association of Estonian Adult Educators Andras (Eesti Täiskasvanute Koolitajate Assotsiatsioon);
- National Youth Council (Eesti Noorteühenduste Liit), the umbrella organization of youth associations and youth organisations;
- The Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities (Eesti Linnade ja Valdade Liit), representing cities and rural municipalities.
The general distribution of responsibilities
The responsibility for education and training is divided between the central government and local government. The regional (county) governments are abolished since 1.01.2018.
Local governments are vested with the primary responsibility for the accessibility of general education (from preschool to upper secondary education), the fulfilment of compulsory school attendance, maintenance of preschool childcare institutions and schools. For detailed information on the tasks of the local government, please consult the section Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level in Eurydice.