In Estonia there is a compulsory 9-year school from the
age of 7, 3-year high school and vocational schools. 52% of
students go on to higher education. Since the mid-1990s, the
education system has undergone a number of reforms, and in
particular, privatization has increased.
Most schools have Estonian as their language of
instruction, but there are also schools where it is taught
in Russian. In 1996, Estonia got its first national
curriculum. This covers both Russian-language and Estonian
schools, and is taught in subjects such as language,
mathematics, nature and social studies, music and arts, and
gymnastics. At the youth level, two foreign languages are
taught. Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Estonia.
Higher education is divided into two academic and
vocational programs. In 1998, there were 35 higher education
institutions. Of these, 6 were public and 4 private
universities, 8 public and 13 private colleges and 4
Estonian school history starts in the 13th century with
church schools. The first high school was established by
Jesuits in 1583. The Swedish king Gustav 2 Adolf established
the country's first university in Tartu in 1632.
The March 2007 parliamentary elections became a victory
for the ruling Reform Party, which continued in government.
After the Social Democrats resigned in May 2009, the
government continued as a minority government.
The government's April 2007 decision to remove a monument
to fallen Russian soldiers during World War II triggered
large-scale demonstrations among esters of Russian origin.
Several hundred were arrested and 1 killed. The decision
further strengthened relations with Russia, whose prime
minister declared that tough countermeasures would be taken.
Russian parliamentarians called for an interruption of
diplomatic relations between the two countries. Over the
next month, the sites of the Estonian government on the
Internet were subjected to attacks by hackers who were
directing the pages to Russian propaganda sites. Tallinn
accused Russia of being behind the war in cyberspace, but it
was rejected by Moscow.
After a decade of high growth rates, the global economic
crisis of 2008-10 threw the country into deep economic
crisis. GDP fell by 3.6% in 2008, and in 2009 the economy
shrank by 14.1%. Estonia was thus the country most severely
affected in the EU. In just 5 months (January-May 2009),
unemployment more than doubled. It was 15.5% in March 2010 -
the fourth highest in the EU. The depth of the crisis was
mainly due to the widespread speculation in the country and
the willingness of banks to participate in it.
The Russian-speaking minority in Estonia continues to
face discrimination, according to Amnesty International. At
the same time, the authorities are campaigning against the
human rights organizations that defend minority rights. The
Russian-speaking minority is largely denied access to jobs
in the public sector and, to a certain extent, the private
business sector, citing that they "do not master Estonian
well enough". The Russian minority are stateless.
Estonia began liberalizing 35% of its electricity market
in March 2010 and planned to be fully liberalized in 2013.
The two Liberal parties The Reform Party and the Center
Party won the elections in March 2011, taking a total of 59
seats in the 101-seat parliament. The biggest victor of the
election, however, was the Social Democracy, which went up 9
seats to 19, while the Greens and the Estonian People's
Union both ran out of parliament. The reform party continued
in a coalition government with the Conservative IRL.
President Ilves was re-elected by parliament in August
2011 with 73 votes out of 101.
In April 2014, Prime Minister Ansip resigned from office
to allow his successor to lead the party until the next
elections in 2015. The Prime Minister's post was handed over
to the party's new leader Taavi Rőivas. With 35 years,
Rőivas became the youngest head of government in the EU.
The March 2015 parliamentary elections were largely a
defeat for the old parties. The two major victors were the
National Conservative Freedom Party, which got 8 seats out
of Parliament's 101 as well as the right-wing and
fascist-oriented Conservative People's Party. The Reform
Party leader Taavi Rőivas subsequently formed a coalition
government with the heavily decimated social democracy and
the right-wing Pro Patria & Res Publica.
Estonia remained strongly nationalistic and
inward-looking. 6% of the Estonian population remained
without citizenship - predominantly Russian-speaking. The
government was opposed to immigration from outside the EU
and in September a refugee reception center in the village
of Vao was set on fire by radical right-wing forces. 50
asylum seekers lived at the center, but no one was injured.