Youth Affairs

The development and future challenges of the youth sector arise from the conditions and development needs of young people, youth policy, youth work and the whole society.

As of 1 January 2021, Estonia had 273 627 young people between the ages of 7–26, which is 20,6% of the country’s total population.

The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for youth affairs, developing youth policy, organising youth work and managing the work of the Education and Youth Board. The Education and Youth Board is a government agency responsible for the implementation of Estonia’s education and youth policies. In cooperation with the Youth and Talent Policy Department of the Ministry, the Education and Youth Board implements the Estonian Youth Sector Development Plan 2021-2035. Strategic partners of the Ministry – non-governmental organisations within the youth sector – also play an important role in the implementation of the development plan.

The central planning of the development of youth affairs has been carried out four times at the national level. In 1999 the Youth Work Act was approved by the Parliament and 2001 the Estonian Youth Work Concept and the Estonian Youth Work Development Plan for 2001-2004 were prepared. 

In 2006 the Government of the Republic of Estonia approved the Youth Work Strategy 2006-2013. The objective of the strategy was to devise and implement coordinated and purposeful actions following the actual needs and challenges of young people in different spheres of life, i.e. the integrated youth policy. Youth work is one of the activity areas thereof besides education, culture, health care and other fields.

In 2013 the Government of the Republic of Estonia approved the Youth Field Development Plan for 2014-2020. The situation of young people and changes therein, developments in society and challenges faced by the state, situation of youth affairs and trends in Europe and all over the world serve as a basis for the development plan. The general goal of the development plan: young people have wide opportunities for development and self-realisation, which supports the formation of a cohesive and creative society.

At the end of 2021, the Government of the Republic of Estonia approved the Youth Sector Development Plan for 2021-2035. The Development Plan is based on earlier national and international agreements and decisions, its goals and courses of action are based on the challenges young people face, the status and development needs of the youth sector, the trends in the state and the society as well as the principles of integrated youth policy. The Development Plan has been written in cooperation with young people and other stakeholders and partners in the youth sector, its focus is on young people between the ages of 7-26.

The Ministry of Education and Research together with the Education and Youth Board implement a Youth Sector’s Monitoring and Analysis System through which relevant and up-to-date information about areas related to the lives of young people, as well as the youth sector, is gathered.

Last updated: 19 May 2022