On 19 November, professional certificates were issued to 24 new adult education specialists - increasing the total number of adult educators to 251.
However, the figure does not mean that there are only 251 educators in the Estonian adult education field. The total number of people engaged in adult education either as educators or supervisors is hard to tell, mainly because of numerous private training institutions that use ‘guest´ speakers who are unqualified to conduct adult training.
In order to rearrange the teams of Estonian adult educators and to increase their competences, the professional standard of an adult educator is awarded at levels III, IV and V since 2004 and from autumn 2007 also at level II. Although the current five-level professional standards system operates on a voluntary basis, the number of those taking the test is growing annually.
From the very beginning, the right to grant a professional qualification certificate to an adult educator belonged to the Association of Estonian Adult Educators Andras (AEAE Andras). There are several reasons for this. "Professional certificates regulate the labour market and support the competitiveness of adult educators. In addition, the system certainly helps to value their professionalism," said Ene Käpp, the Chairman of the AEAE Andras. "Without doubt, the training institutions with qualified adult education specialists are in a much better position. Besides, it gives assurance to the clients that the service offered is in compliance with the qualification criteria."
The next opportunity to apply for the adult educator professional qualification certificate will be in spring and the test can be taken only twice a year. The application process for the professional qualification costs 1,200 Estonian Kroons (76.69 euros). In the near future, the well-functioning Estonian qualification system will be harmonised with the 8-level European Qualifications Framework. The process will be based on the Professions Act and the European Qualification Framework. In 2010, there were 16 different qualification boards in Estonia; altogether 53,855 professional certificates, including those of adult educators, have been awarded. AEAE Andras, the umbrella organisation of the Estonian training institutions, cooperates with the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and is actively involved in political discussions related to adult education.
Agne Narusk -InfoNet