The course of action of the international cooperation of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research arises from the Estonian membership in the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Council of Europe and UNESCO In these as well as in other international forms of cooperation, the Ministry must elaborate Estonia’s priorities and form opinions on matters under its domain together with its partners.
International cooperation includes bilateral cooperation with neighbouring countries and regional cooperation – the Baltic States, Council of the Baltic Sea Statess (CBSS) and the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Bilateral cooperation with other countries, especially with third countries, is also very important corroborated by and based on various international agreements.
Bilateral cooperation with neighbouring countries and regional cooperation
Nordplus is an educational programme of Nordic Council of Ministers, which aims to strengthen cooperation between the Nordic and Baltic states in general, higher and adult education. The programme supports learning mobility, projects and networks. Funding from the programme can be applied for by Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Ålandic, Danish, Greenlandic, Faroese, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian educational institutions and organisations. The Nordplus language advancement programme, which started in 2012, supports studying Danish, Swedish and Norwegian and acquiring the relevant educational materials as well as creating teaching methods. Estonia joined the Nordplus programme in 2008.
Council of the Baltic Sea States
The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) was created in 1992 with the goal of strengthening and improving cooperation between the states of the Baltic Sea. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Poland, Russia and the European Commission take part in the work of the council.
The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research is taking part in the project of the Council of the Baltic Sea States in which the euro faculty of Pskov State University (Russia) is developing modern bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes in economics. The University of Tartu the is Estonian partner in the project. In 2012-2014, 36,000 euros will be allocated for the project.
Website of the Council of the Baltic Sea States
Website of the Baltic Sea Year
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania teach each others´ languages at their universities and an Estonian-Latvian-Estonian dictionary is being developed. There is also cooperation in vocational education. For instance, students from Valka region (Latvia) have the opportunity to receive vocational education at the Valga County Vocational Training Centre in Estonia In the autumn of 2012, two curricula were opened for Latvian students: logistics in English for students with secondary education and carpernter programme in Latvian on the basis of basic education. At the same time, Valka upper secondary school in Latvia provides students secondary education through distance learning. There are currently 43 Latvian students studying at the Valga County Vocational Training Centre.
An agreement has been signed by the ministries of education and research of the Baltic states on the exchange of students, researchers and teaching staff (in force from 2012 to 2016) as well as a memorandum of understanding on closer cooperation in higher education, research and innovation (in force from 2013 to 2020).
Estonian can be learned at the University of Latvia as part of the Fenno-Ugric curriculum or as a separate subject. There are 40-50 students every year. From 2002 onwards, Estonian is taught in Lithuania at the University of Vilnius as a combined curriculum with Lithuanian. There is an Estonian lecturer at both universities.
In 2012, the Latvian and Lithuanian auditorium was opened in the University of Tartu as well as a study-library. The goal of the Baltic culture and society module is to give a general knowledge of Latvian and Lithuanian history and literature, culture and society, and the history and current situation of the Baltic languages.
The Institute of the Estonian Language and the Latvian Language Agency are developing an Estonian-Latvian-Estonian dictionary. The work began in 2012 and the dictionary should be complete by 2015. The composing of the dictionary is supported by the INTERREG Estonian-Latvian programme.