PIAAC (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) is an international programme, under which the first computer-based survey of the key information-processing skills of adults was carried out. More than 165,000 people aged 16-65 from 24 countries participated in this survey in 2011-2012. A second round of the survey was initiated for nine additional countries which are currently collecting data.

PIAAC measured three key information-processing skills:

  • literacy
  • numeracy
  • problem-solving in technology-rich environments

Several analyses have shown the increasing importance of these skills for successfully navigating the jobs market and in the modern information-rich society. Not any less important is that these skills are relatively easy
to measure and learn, which means that they can be influenced by shaping policy.

In Estonia, the results of PIAAC are taken into account when developing the strategy for lifelong learning. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has prepared its skills strategy. Important information about the formulation of new directions will certainly obtained from the thematic reports on the survey to be released in 2014-2015. In Estonia, the PIAAC survey is conducted by the Ministry of Education and Research in cooperation with Statistics Estonia. The implementation of the survey is funded under the European Social Fund programme “PIAAC-Estonia”.

Skills can be tested here: Education & Skills Online (a demo version is available in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Czech).


  • PIAAC programme coordinator in Estonia Aune Valk, aune.valk@hm.ee,
    phone + 37 2735 0196



First conclusions:

  • In Estonia, functional literacy and numeracy levels are above the average of the 24 participating countries. Young Estonians below the age of 30 with basic and secondary education only fell behind analogous groups from a few countries; however, the results for young people with higher education are at the average level.
  • Our computer skills and confidence in using computers as well as the level of problem-solving skills in technology-rich environments is lower than expected. Only one in four adults have good and very good problem solving skills. 30% do not know how, or do not dare to use new technology.
  • Based on the results concerning functional literacy and numeracy, we can argue that the quality of education provided in Estonia is competitive in the world – young Estonians below 30 years with basic and secondary education only fell behind groups from a few countries; the skills of young people with higher education are at the average level.
  • The level of skills is quite similar across Estonia – the differences between people with different education, family backgrounds and gender are relatively small compared to other countries. The differences between regions and between the Estonians and non-Estonians as well as a low level of excellence need more attention.
  • Skills are a matter of “use it or lose it”, which means that acquired skills are easily lost if they are not used in everyday life or at work. Moreover, in Estonia the frequency of using skills in everyday life is at an average level and at work below the average level.




In addition to the main report with the initial findings of PIAAC published in October 2013 (available in Estonian only), seven thematic reports tackling questions that are important for Estonia and that include policy recommendations drawn based on the findings are going to be published during the period of 2014-2015. The full reports will be available in Estonian only, but summaries of the main findings will also be made available in English.


Last updated: 14 October 2015