IT Academy – Estonian way to shape ICT education

It is a challenge to determine whether the ICT graduates meet the expectations of employers. Estonia has once again found an innovative solution by asking employers to contribute to shaping education. 

In 2012, two important programs for Estonian technology education were launched – in addition to the ProgeTiger programme to create interest in technology the IT Academy programme to promote higher education in ICT, inspired by the shortage of ICT professionals, which in turn puts pressure on the higher education system. 

The IT Academy is a cooperation programme of the Estonian state, universities, vocational schools and information and communication technology (ICT) companies designed to raise the quality of ICT-related education, develop research in the field and ensure the necessary labour resources

The IT Academy programme is one of a kind,” explains Signe Ambre, the Programme Manager. “Together with all the parties, we have set collective objectives that consider the needs of entrepreneurs and state on the one hand, and the abilities of the universities and vocational education institutions on the other.“

The results are excellent, as every ninth student in Estonia chooses to study ICT at the bachelor’s and applied higher education level, which she confirms to be optimal. Moreover, the share of those who choose ICT at the master’s level has grown even faster in the last 10 years: every seventh student who enters master’s studies chooses to study ICT.

IT Academy focus areas

  • Development of ICT research with the aim of increasing the capacity of ICT research and development, linking research and development with teaching activities at all levels of higher education and developing cooperation with the field of entrepreneurship.
  • Development of higher ICT education, the aim of which is to contribute to graduates’ skills meeting the expectations of the labour market, the needs in ensuring Estonia’s economic development and the level of international competitiveness of higher ICT education. The activities have developed curricula; supported the implementation of studies, the implementation of new methodologies and the participation of lecturers and students in international competitions and conferences; and renewed the technology and laboratories required for teaching.
  • Development of vocational ICT education with the aim of raising the level of formal IT education (vocational secondary education) so that studying is attractive, study programmes and teaching are of high quality and students continue to study at a higher education level after graduating. Activities include the development of curricula, raising the quality of teaching, promoting cooperation with higher education institutions and entrepreneurs, motivating and developing the competencies of study organizers and study providers, the development of study materials and the updating of the technical base for conducting studies.

The IT Academy is coordinated by the Education and Youth Board of Estonia.

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