You are here

Doctoral education reform project approved by the Government

10. September 2021 - 9:50

The Government has approved and sent to Riigikogu a project to change the Study Allowance and Student Loan Act and the Higher Education Act, creating a framework for doctoral education reform. The goal of the project is to increase the attractiveness of doctoral education, make the educational process more effective and ensure an influx of scientists in the academic sector and Estonian society in general.

According to Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna, we need more people with knowledge and experience gained through doctoral education to face the future challenges in Estonia and make the society more science-based. “The role of our doctoral students in a scientific career is becoming increasingly clear,” says Kersna. “Doctoral students are guaranteed the position of junior scientist in a university or in a scientific or development institution. The doctoral grant is replaced with a salary, and social protections are also expanded, such as paid annual leave and sick leave. When coming up with the changes, we wanted to diversify the options for completing a doctoral degree and make sure that said options take into consideration doctoral students’ backgrounds.”

The doctoral student can have a contract with another private company or public sector institution related to the field of their doctoral research. A doctoral degree completed in cooperation with partners outside the university is called a transfer of knowledge doctoral degree. In such a case, the doctoral research is conducted keeping in mind the needs of the company or the institution, and the doctoral student will continue working in the partner company or institution. The main goal of a transfer of knowledge doctoral degree is to prepare PhD specialists for the job market outside of academia and promote cooperation between universities and private companies.

Not signing a contract to conduct research remains an option for doctoral students. It is intended for those who pursue a doctoral degree outside their personal interest and for personal growth. They complete their doctoral degree alongside their main job and their doctoral research does not fit into a doctoral degree based on a university-company partnership or a young scientist programme or the doctoral student does not wish to sign such contract. In such a case, the doctoral candidate has the status of a university student, completing the curriculum based on an individual plan, but does not qualify for a doctoral student support grant.

The same project makes student loan applications easier. The loan agency and the applicant can agree on an interest rate no greater than six months Euribor + 3% a year. The maximum annual interest rate is 5%. Subject to agreement with the loan agency, it is possible to start repaying the loan 18 months after finishing studies. Now, it should be done 12 months after finishing the studies. Instead of two guarantors, one guarantor is now enough.

The project will also change the terms and conditions for needs-based support. Those arriving to study from third countries on a temporary residence permit will no longer be eligible to apply for funding.

According to the current plan, the changes will come into effect on 1 September 2022.

Veel uudiseid samal teemal

17.09.2021|Ministry of Education and Research

Liina Kersna: “Increasingly more parents want their child to be educated in Estonian”

According to the Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna, it is important to support educational institutions that use Estonian as the language of instruction and have non-Estonian-speaking students, the number of whom is growing every year at an ever-accelerating pace.

16.09.2021|Ministry of Education and Research

OECD: Most countries, including Estonia, have provided additional support for education during the pandemic

The newly published OECD Education at a Glance 2021 compilation of education statistics focuses on equal opportunities in education, indicating that a student’s gender, socio-economic status and country of origin influence performance and trajectories. The measures countries have taken to combat the COVID-19 crisis in order to ensure continuity and equitable learning during school disruptions are examined separately.