PISA 2022 results: Estonia’s education is the best in Europe

Work In Estonia
Author Work In Estonia

According to the recent PISA 2022 results, Estonia has upheld its position as a leader in education, demonstrating consistent excellence. In the latest assessments, which were published with a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Estonia ranks exceptionally well in mathematics, science, and reading, maintaining its status as a top performer in Europe and the top 4 across all of OECD.

“In terms of knowledge, Estonian students continue to be at the top of the world and at the top of Europe,” Kristina Kallas, Estonia’s Minister of Education and Research, said about the latest scores.

PISA 2022 emphasises mathematical literacy, defined as the ability to reason mathematically and use mathematics in various real-world contexts. This includes understanding and employing mathematical concepts, procedures, and tools to describe, explain, and predict phenomena, reinforcing that mathematics is integral to personal, civic, and professional life. Estonia also led Europe in natural science and shared 1-2 places with Ireland in reading performance. Estonia ranks exceptionally well, leading in Europe with 510 points, which translates to innovations and startup creation.

The results affirm the effectiveness and equity of Estonia’s education system, showing that academic achievement in the country remains largely independent of socioeconomic backgrounds. Another notable feature is the comparatively small impact of disruptions, such as the global pandemic. “Estonia experienced a significantly lesser impact during the period of the coronavirus compared to numerous other nations,” Kallas noted.

Growth mindset and entrepreneurial spirit of Estonia

Estonian students continue to exhibit a remarkable growth mindset, with a significant percentage believing in their ability to enhance their intelligence and skills through effort and persistence.

What’s maybe even more important, they enjoy studying. “Estonia’s students, in addition to possessing excellent knowledge and skills, generally express high satisfaction with their lives,” said Kallas. This helps to grow self-motivated and autonomous students. Estonia is among the countries where seven out of ten students feel ready for self-directed learning and do not rely on formal programs.

Considering this continuous performance, it’s no surprise that Estonia’s world-renowned status as an e-state and hub for innovative startups can be attributed to this educational foundation. The nation’s thriving startup ecosystem, including 10 successful unicorn companies, underscores the link between education and entrepreneurial success. Some of the most ambitious educational institutions, such as kood/Jõhvi coding school, were founded by Estonian unicorn builders, tech and startup community members.

Estonia: a beacon of educational innovation

Estonia’s commitment to education is evident in its society and its influence on the global stage. The country’s educational brand Education Nation showcases Estonia’s expertise, experiences, and smart solutions in education, further strengthening its international reputation.

Digital innovation remains a cornerstone of Estonian education, with schools utilising advanced technology to prepare students for a digital future. Yet, the balance between digital and traditional learning methods ensures a comprehensive and adaptable educational environment. The country also takes care of some other issues, such as safety. The sense of security is higher than on average in OECD countries for Estonian students.

All in all, according to PISA estimates, Estonia’s approach to education is characterised by its inclusivity and fairness, ensuring equal access to quality education regardless of background. The country’s vocational training, higher education, and adult education systems are noted for their quality, flexibility, and alignment with modern industry needs.

There is also an interesting parallel between the PISA results and Estonia’s performance as a startup nation with most startups and unicorns per capita. Both phenomena reflect a shared let’s-do-it mindset. The PISA test outcomes reveal that Estonian students embrace a progressive mindset, demonstrating a belief in their ability to shape the future. They are motivated to go the extra mile to enhance their intelligence and capabilities.

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