The principles for the framework of the general education system are provided in the Education Act of the Republic of Estonia, which specifies the structure and organization principles of the general education system, the bases of compulsory school attendance and the activities of educational institutions, the types of documents certifying education, etc.
The acts that regulate the general education system can be classified as follows.
By levels of education:
- Pre-school Child Care Institutions Act (1999);
- Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (1993);
By the form of ownership of the educational institution:
- Private Schools Act (1998).
Acts that regulate other areas of education also contain provisions dealing with general education:
- Vocational Educational Institutions Act (1998);
- Adult Education Act (1993).
On 19 January 2007, the Government of the Republic approved the Development Plan for the General Education System in 2007−2013, which defines the arranged long-term development objectives and goals of the general education system.
In the spring of 2008, the Government of the Republic approved the national curriculum for preschool childcare institutions, which led to expanding the study of Estonian as a second language in preschool child care institutions, establishing measures related to cooperation with the parents in supporting children’s development and assessing children's development, for example their school readiness, etc. The national curriculum for preschool child care institutions entered into force on 1 September 2008.