Estonia Now Leading in Education in Europe

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. outrank / ˌaʊtˈræŋk / (v) – to be higher than someone in rank

    She got the highest score in the math test and outranked all her classmates.

  2. collective / kəˈlɛk tɪv / (adj) – describing something done by more than one person

    The event was successful because of the team’s collective work.

  3. competency / ˈkɒm pɪ tən si / (n) – someone’s ability and skills

    Teachers check the competencies of their students using quizzes and homework.

  4. forefront / ˈfɔrˌfrʌnt / (n) – the leading position for something

    Japan is at the forefront of innovation. Scientists and investors around the world travel to the country to get new ideas.

  5. recipe / ˈrɛs ə pi / (n) – a method or way of doing something for a particular purpose

    The successful author shared her recipe for success in her new book.


Read the text below.

Estonia has outranked all European countries in a global academic ability test, and the small country is now planning to teach its best practices to the world.

Every three years since 2000, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) administers a test called the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to 79 countries. This test aims to gauge 15-year-old students’ capacity to apply their knowledge in reading, mathematics, and science in solving real-life situations.

Based on PISA 2018’s results that came out in late 2019, Estonia ranked first in Europe in the three subjects covered. The country also ranked fifth worldwide.

Estonia Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said that the PISA results show that young Estonians are among the world’s best in applying what they learned in school. He attributed this ability to the collective efforts of Estonian teachers, parents, and children. He also said that this is a reminder for everyone involved in the country’s education system that quality education greatly shapes young people’s success in the future.

Students in Estonia are prepared for basic learning competencies as early as age three or even younger. Estonian Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps shared that they have also adopted good practices from other countries’ education systems.

Now that Estonia is at the forefront of European education, Reps said that it is about time they share their recipe for educational success with the world. For this purpose, Estonia created a program that it can export, called “Education Nation – for the smartEST people in the world.” The program will showcase the country’s secrets to high-quality education.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• PISA only measures reading, mathematics, and science abilities. Do you think these three areas are enough to gauge students’ overall intellectual ability? Discuss.
• What challenges could Estonia face as they share their best practices in education with other countries? Explain.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, what are your country’s best practices in education? Discuss.
• What do you think are some aspects of your country’s education that need to be improved?