Recognition issues (Estonia)

The structure of the 3+2 has problems in devaluation of Bachelor degree. Although it is quite subjective, we have heard from the employers, state and the students, that they are unsure about the value of a master’s degree or whether a bachelor’s degree should be counted as ‘higher education’. That is because so many people nowadays have a Bachelors and it is no longer something that can be used to effectively differentiate candidates for a job.

The recognition of prior learning (RPL) is an established system in Estonian HEIs, but then in some HEIs the procedure and the recognition itself is charged by the HEI, in relation to the number of ECTS the student wants to get recognised.

Secondly, mobility between some fields from BA to MA is problematic, due to the fact that some HEIs are not recognising similar parts of an education programme of another HEI, but wish that the student would complete the necessary part again in the HEI they wish to apply to.

Thirdly, non-formal education and informal learning is usually not recognised with RPL and where it is we see it is to a small extent such as a formal subject in one HEI is only recognised if the informal experience is strictly connected to the students’ field of study.

The statistics show that people with higher education are more likely to be employed but more and more the required degree starts from master’s degree.

It is not known how many students the problem with implementation of RPL is affecting. On the third point, the general attitude towards recognition of non-formal education and informal learning is still on its way to be seen as beneficial to society.

The reform of degree structures is one of the fundamental ideas of bologna process and is implemented well in Estonia, it needs to be re-evaluated how the learning outcomes could meet the markets qualification requirements. Further development of RPL, recognizing learning outcomes between different HEIs in Estonia and recognise the value and learning outcomes of non-formal education and informal learning in RPL