The growth in responsibility of librarians under country's changed conditions requires their high-quality professional education, flexible continuing education and professional development in at all levels. These areas will be discussed further on, alongside the traditions and development of Library and Information degrees in Estonia.
This paper is an overview of Library and Information Science (LIS) professional education in Estonia, about its traditions and possibilities today. Degree courses in LIS are offered by the Tallinn Pedagogical University, including advanced Masters and Doctors degrees.
Speaks about the Standard of Higher Education in Estonia, deals with current legislation and accreditation as the primary method for the assurance of quality in higher education in Republic of Estonia. Strong institutions of higher education are not only viewed as a top priority, but as a major prerequisite to the future grow and development of nations. To provide students with a higher education known for its quality is viewed as the only way to equip them to grapple with the complicated challenges of a rapidly changing world.
To a large extent it is the responsibility of today's librarian and information specialist competently to lead a demanding information seeker into the expanding information society.
This paper consist of the following parts:
According to the data of the National Library of Estonia's (NLE) department of library science, the 745 research, special and public libraries of our country had 3,149 staff on 1 January 1996, of whom 2,545 worked as librarians. Consequently, Estonia has about 2,500 professionals responsible for the collections, processing, storage and dissemination of information to the 1,46 million inhabitants of our country.
The librarians' increased responsibility demands good professional education, flexible continuing education and professional development at different levels.
The Standard of Higher Education (adopted 1996) specifies general requirements to higher education in Estonia and is a fundamental act for granting education licences and for accreditation of study programmes or higher education institutions (universities and applied higher education institutions). The Standard of Higher Education is valid for all stages or forms of higher education irrespective of owners or legal status of higher education institutions.
The Standard of Higher Education consist of the following parts:
According aim of this paper is more interesting to look at the standard of academic studies.
Academic studies comprise three-stage degree studies. The stages of academic studies are bachelor's study, master's study and doctor's study. Academic study shall be conducted in universities. Requirements and regulations for granting academic degrees shall be instituted by the university council .
Bachelor's study shall form the first stage of the academic study, consisting of studding and research, professional or other creative work. The goals of bachelor's study include:
The nominal time for studies shall be our years, the total capacity of studies - 160 credits. Bachelor's study shall be wide-ranged studies based on scientific treatment. Research, professional or other creative work, including final thesis, shall have a capacity of no less than 20 credits. No less than a half of the curriculum subjects shall be conducted by academic persons, having doctorate or other academic degree equal in value or by acknowledged creative artists in the field of arts and music.
Master's study shall form the second stage of academic studies, consisting of studying and research or other creative work. The goals of master's study shall include acquiring deeper theoretical and specialist knowledge and developing proficiency in research, professional or other creative work endeavouring to obtain preparedness for individual use of knowledge's and skills.
The nominal times for studies shall be two years, the total capacity of studies - 80 credits. Master's studies shall include tuition for no less than 20 credits. It shall be possible, according to requirements and procedures instituted by university council, to defend the master's degree without completing the master's study course.
The master's academic degree is divided into research and professional degrees. The curriculum for research degree shall include research for no less than 35 credits. The Master's thesis shall present a new scientific treatment of a specific problem. The curriculum for professional degree shall include research, development-oriented or other creative work for no less than 20 credits. Master's study for professional degree shall include special studies for developing proficiency in practical creative work endeavouring to attain a new solution for a specific creative problem.
No less than three fourths of the curriculum subjects shall be conducted by academic persons, having doctorate or other academic degree equal in value or by acknowledged creative artists in the field of arts and music.
Doctor's study shall form the third stage of academic studies, consisting of comprehensive research, professional or other creative work and interrelated studies. The goal of doctor's study shall be acquiring knowledge and skills in the chosen field for further work at the level of an independent professional. The nominal time for studies shall four years, the total capacity of studies - 160 credits. The doctor academic degree shall be divided into research and professional degrees. The curriculum for research degree shall include research for no less than 100 credits. The doctor's thesis shall be an independent treatise, presenting a new solution of a significant problem in a chosen field.
The curriculum for professional degree shall include research, development-oriented or other creative work for no less than 80 credits. The doctor's studies for professional degree shall include special studies for developing proficiency in creative work endeavouring to attain a new solution for a comprehensive creative problem in the chosen field.
All the subjects of the curriculum shall be supervised by academic persons, having doctorate or other academic degree equal in value or by acknowledged creative artists in the field of arts and music. Admission requirement for doctor's study shall be the master's degree or an equivalent level of academic education.
The primary method for the assurance of quality in higher education in Republic of Estonia is accreditation.
Accreditation is the process by which an institution or a curricula periodically evaluates its educational activities and seeks an independent judgement by experts that it achieves substantially its own educational objectives and meets the established standards of the body from which it seeking accreditation. Accreditation must be understood as a continuous evaluation process with the purpose of defining and improving the quality and effectiveness of the educational process .
The accreditation process can be divided into two stages:
A self study will be have tree main objectives:
The purpose of curriculum accreditation are:
During of the accreditation of a curriculum, its accordance with the higher education standard shall be evaluated, including the level of the applicant theoretical and practical tuition, the research and teaching qualifications the teaching staff and research workers, and the result of studies.
The accreditation process is organised by the Higher Education Evaluation Council of the Ministry of Education of Republic of Estonia. The final decision of the Council to accredit a curriculum will be based on a self study report, accreditations standards and the findings of a Peer Group .
There will be three accreditation categories;
The accreditation process will be initiated if it has either ordered by the Council or if it has been requested by the institution itself. Accreditation of a institution or a curricula is necessary for state recognition of its graduates.
There are two types of higher education institutions in Estonia:
According to the Law on Education (adopted 1992), everyone who has a diploma which confirms that he or she has graduated from:
has the right to compete for admission to the universities and institutions of applied higher education.
Universities are regulated by the Law on Universities (adopted 1995), the Law on Private Schools (adopted 1993), the Law on the Organisation of Research (adopted 1994) and the Law of the University of Tartu (adopted 1995). Institutions of applied higher education are currently unregulated - a draft Law on Applied Higher Education Institutions is currently being prepared .
The higher Education Evaluation Council shall organise the accreditation of the curricula of all universities, within four years from 1995, wen Law on Universities was adopted.
Estonia has the following types of institutions proving higher education:
The function of these institutions of higher education's generally clear and agreed-upon, they have a reasonable international reputation, their activity within their existing framework is generally effective.
The basic principles of our higher education policy are currently as follows:
Tallinn Pedagogical University (TPU) is one of public universities. Located in Estonia's capital city Tallinn, the university was founded in 1919 as the Tallinn Teacher Training Seminary. From this point on, the university has played an integral role in education and training students within Estonia. On January 30, 1992, the Tallinn Pedagogical University was promoted to full university status and TPU became one of public universities in Estonia.
Today TPU has developed into an educational and research establishment in Tallinn active in humanitarian, social and educational sciences and offering diploma and degree courses in more than twenty specialist subjects. The aims of the University are to offer modern education at the level of bachelor's, Master's and Doctor's degree, to facilitate high-level research, and to disseminate and form humanistic and democratic values within Estonian society.
The Standard of Higher education specifies general requirements to higher education in Estonia and is a fundamental act for granting education licences and for accreditation of study programmes or higher education institutions (universities and applied higher education institutions).
Since 1965 it has been possible to get a degree in librarianship at Tallinn Pedagogical University (TPU), witch was until 1992 Tallinn Teacher Training Institute. Unified curricula, compulsory in the whole Soviet Union, did not allow librarians to prepare for the peculiarities of the information environment in witch they had to work later on. The transition to an Estonian curriculum for a five-tear undergraduate course took place in 1988. Since 1990 it has united credit courses and the former course system .
Today Tallinn Pedagogical University offers courses in information studies, not in librarianship and bibliography as before, and the graduates get a bachelor's degree. The department of information studies is a part of the TPU faculty of social sciences, and the faculty is 13 strong. In 1996/97 the department had 102 undergraduates, and next year 20 freshmen will be enrolled. The admission for correspondence courses in information studies ended in 1993. In recent years the number of applicants per student place has ranged between 4,8 and 5,6 on average.
The number of TPU graduates in the field of information science and librarianship from 1969 to 1996 is 1,350, of whom 592 were correspondent students. The overall number of Estonian librarians with a university degree in librarianship or information science is 1,556. Of these, 724 studied by correspondence .
This flexible structure of studies allows the students to complete their own curricula according to their interests and goals, and gives them better opportunities to complete in the employment market .
Graduates, with an information degree, are prepared to provide information services and compile databases; they know how to search for information and they have research skills. They are able to process documents and analyse their content; they are acquainted with the traditional and electronic methods of information provision, and they know various reference sources and are able to put them to the use of readers.
It is also possible to do research for a PhD in humanities. This academic year four doctoral students are pursuing that goal. Previously Estonian librarians had to seek advanced degrees outside Estonia and study in the Russian language. Sixteen candidates' dissertations were defended in the Leningrad and Moscow Institutes of Culture and today considered to be the equivalent of a PhD in Estonia .
The certification of Estonian universities in the near future will be a basic for the assessment of LIS education as well.
The librarians' grown responsibility demands good professional education, flexible continuing education and professional development at different levels.