According to Eurostat, Estonia ranks 12th according to lifelong learning indicators among 33 European countries; a few years ago Estonia's rating was 20th. It appears from Eurostat information published this month that 9.3% of Estonians aged 25 to 64 supplemented their education last year; in Europe the figure was 10.6%. In 2007 there were considerably fewer Estonians involved in lifelong learning than the average for Europe.
Eurostat also collects information about countries that are situated in Europe but do not belong to the EU. The data are available for 33 countries and Estonia was 12th among them according to last year's indicators.
Education and Research Minister Tõnis Lukas particularly emphasised the sharp rise in Estonians supplementing their education. While previously there were 6-7 % of adults taking part in lifelong learning, in the past three years we have reached a level that is stably above 10%, the minister said. "Estonian society has made a swift bound into the category of mature societies," Lukas told press.
In many countries the trend registered by Eurostat is not similar to that in Estonia. In Latvia more than 8% of people took part in lifelong learning five years ago, but last year the figure fell to 5.3%. The percentage of participation has also fallen in Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ireland.
In addition to Estonia ten other countries have shown a rise, including Denmark where participation was nearly one third of the adult population, 31.6%. Estonia is also above the European average in terms of women taking part in lifelong learning, while the figure for men remains slightly below the average. In recent years, however, there has been a rising trend also among men.
(ER, ref BNS)
Lifelong learning sees increase in Estonia