An educational or activity licence issued by the Ministry of Education and Research is required for establishing a pre-school child care institution or a general education school, implementing a new curriculum or expanding teaching activities to the territory of another local government. The educational licence is required for the municipal and activity licence for private educational insitution.
The educational or activity licence
grants the right to provide education within the territory of a given local government and within the framework of a specific curriculum.
In order to operate as the manager of a continuing education institution, the continuing education provider shall submit a notice of economic activities if pursuant to the law he or she is not required to apply for an activity licence for the provision of continuing education.
The application for an activity licence should be submitted at least 5 months before the beginning of the planned studies.
The curricula of hobby schools are registered in the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS). Hobby schools can be established without having to obtain an activity licence. The owner of a hobby school will submit an application for the registration of the school and its curriculum/curricula no later than 4 months (municipal hobby schools) or 5 months (private hobby schools) prior to implementing the curricula.
Vocational educational institutions are issued the licences to provide vocational training within curriculum groups. A vocational educational institution is established after the Minister of Education and Research has given it the right to provide vocational education and training. An application for the licence should be submitted no later than 6 months prior to the implementation of the curriculum.
Applying an educational or activity licence
In order to apply for an educational or activity licence, registration a hobby school and its curricula, providing vocational training within the framework of curriculum groups a relevant application, along with the statutes, curriculum and other relevant documents will be submitted. The procedures are subject to the payment of a state fee.
Somewhat different requirements apply to driving schools and institutions providing security personnel training. The deadlines for submitting an application are provided for by legislation. Different deadlines apply to types of educational institutions.
A state fee is a fee levied by the state for reviewing applications for an educational or activity licence or registration. A state fees is payable before the application is reviewed. When paying the state fee, the requested activity and the name of the educational institution must be indicated on the payment document.
Requirements for the name of a private school
The name of a private school should reflect its location or catchment area, the field of education, and the type and level of training provided by the institution. Pursuant to the Private Schools Act, the name of a private school must be clearly distinguishable from other educational institutions entered in the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS). The name must not be misleading as regards the purpose, field of activity, owner and legal form of the school.
Procedure for reviewing applications for educational or activity licence
The Ministry of Education and Research accepts an application on the date of submission. If all required documents have been submitted and formalised correctly, the application is reviewed within two months (four months in the case of applications for providing vocational training) from the date of submission. The Ministry of Education and Research verifies the compliance of the documentation with legislation, based on the documents submitted.
In cases where an application does not comply with the requirements (i.e. the required data are missing or there are other omissions), the Ministry will inform the applicant in writing and provide a deadline for the elimination of deficiencies. The review procedure will be extended by the time provided for the elimination of deficiencies. If the deficiencies are eliminated by that time, the application is regarded to have been on time. If the deficiencies are not eliminated, the Ministry may reject the application.
The Minister of Education and Research will decide the issuing of an educational or activity licence based on the proposal by the licensing commission.
Expert assessment of the curriculum groups
In order to assess an application for a vocational education licence, an expert assessment of the curriculum group is conducted. The substantive assessment of the curriculum is performed by the Vocational Education Curriculum Centre of Foundation Innove. The Curriculum Centre checks the compliance of the curriculum with the requirements provided for by legislation. Foundation Innove and the Ministry have the right to request more precise data from the educational institution in question. The applicant is notified of any deficiencies through the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS).
The Curriculum Centre forwards the assessment results to the Ministry’s External Evaluation Department.
Issuing educational or activity licences
An education licence is sent to the applicant’s address indicated in the application by registered post. The activity licence will be sent to the applicant’s e-mail address indicated in the application. The owner of a hobby school is sent the Minister’s directive regarding the registration of the hobby school to the owner’s address indicated on the application. The curricula of vocational education institutions are registered in the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS).