Digital competence: teaching 21st-century skills

In Estonia, digital competence is listed in the curriculum as one of the general competencies
that teachers must develop in the learner integrated into the lessons. 

In the spring of 2020, digital technology in Estonia helped to continue learning and teaching, to communicate and to find solutions to problems. However, in order to use digital technology successfully, we need digital competence, ie the ability to solve problems with the help of digital technology. What is Estonia doing, to make sure that citizens know how to use a variety of e-solutions?

Development of digital competence

The Estonian national curriculum pays emphasis to the development of digital competences. It is one of the eight key competences that the schools in Estonia focus on.

To make it easier for teachers, Estonia has created simple and clear digital competence models. In this way, every Estonian teacher no longer has to invent his or her own wheel, but can focus on supporting the learner.

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The assessment criteria included in the learner model describe what the learner needs to know by the end of each school level. This makes it easier for schools to agree on which digital competence to develop in each subject. Based on digital competence models, it is good to analyze which skills need attention and which are already well known. 

The use of models is not mandatory – it is an opportunity for those who want to assess their competencies or find training that suits them.

The teacher’s digital competence model is based on the European Commission’s educator’s digital competence framework DigCompEDU, and the learner’s digital competence model is based on the digital citizen’s framework DigComp.

Generating interest in technology

In order to continue Estonia’s e-success story, we are aiming to generate interest in technology already at an early age. This may be one of reasons why in Estonia twice as many student enroll in ICT specialties than on average in developed countries. 

In 2012 Estonia launched the ProgeTiger programme, which aims to improve the technological literacy of teachers and students alike. A variety of courses and training have been undertaken to this end, including programming, robotics and computer hobby groups, which have proved to be very popular. More and more kindergartens and schools are involved in the programme.


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