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General education schools

There are altogether 30 general education schools in Tartu that provide both basic as well as general secondary education. 21 of those schools are municipal schools, 6 are private schools and 3 are state-maintained schools.

Department of Education

+372 736 1423
[email protected]

Raekoja plats 12, 51004 Tartu


Basic education
Secondary education
International education

Basic education

General information

Basic schools in Tartu are schools of residence, where students can acquire education on an equally good level thanks to the partnership of school bodies, parents and communities surrounding the schools.

The city of Tartu is legally obliged to provide study places to 7-17-year old children who are residents of Tartu to enable them to acquire compulsory basic education; also to persons aged 17 or older who have not yet acquired basic education.

Tartu will ensure a study place for all children who become subject to compulsory school attendance in their school of residence. The basic school of residence of a child is determined by the department of education, using ARNO (www.arno.ee) – the system for management of education services. School selection is dependent on the length of the school route and the capacity of particular school buildings. The process starts by extracting data concerning the place of residence of children from the Estonian population register as of 10 March. The basic school of a child’s residence will be made public in the ARNO system on 15 March.

Schools will accept applications through the ARNO system as of 15 March. You can also submit a paper application to the school.

If parents wish to change the basic school of residence their child has been assigned to because, for example, the other child in the family is attending another school or because the family has moved elsewhere, they can submit an appropriate application to the department of education using the ARNO system.

Schools start accepting applications from parents whose child is not a resident of Tartu on 1 May.

Parents also have the right to apply for a study place in basic schools, private schools or state-maintained schools with citywide admission. Admissions to basic schools with a citywide admission policy generally take place in February and applications can be submitted until 10 March.

Graduation from basic school requires that students in grade 9 complete examinations with harmonised questions and assignments. For more information on final examinations in basic school visit: http://www.innove.ee/en/general-education/final-examinations/basic

You can find the list of basic schools here (in Estonian).

Photo by Heikki Leis
Photo by Heikki Leis

School allowance

School allowance is a type of benefit designed for children who start attending grade 1, 2 or 3 in Tartu provided that they live in Tartu and that at least one of their parents also lives in Tartu. The school allowance in Tartu is €50.

In order to qualify for the allowance, you must submit the same application as when determining the child’s basic school of residence to the city government using the ARNO system. Log into ARNO using your ID card, mobile ID or bank links in order to submit the application.

Applications can be submitted between 1 and 15 September and the relevant allowance will be transferred to the applicant’s bank account by 1 October. Applications can also be submitted to the school’s office.

Foreign languages

The Tartu City Government poses no limitations on which foreign languages can be taught in basic schools. Every school must use their curriculum to describe which foreign languages students attending that school can choose from (as foreign language A and B). Said curriculum should be prepared in cooperation with different interested parties (incl. parents). Schools are not required to (but have the option to do so by a decision of the head of school) open a study group for teaching a foreign language if the number of interested students is fewer than 14. Students attending a basic school in Tartu can continue their foreign language studied in any secondary school in Tartu. Students continue learning the same languages in secondary school as they did in basic school.

To help students get by more easily (when changing schools or continuing their education) we recommend that students focus on English as foreign language A or choose it as their second preference (foreign language B).

Last changed 07.12.2020

Secondary education

General information

To begin studies in a secondary school, students (their parents if the student is a minor) must submit an application with all the required documents to the school in the period between 15-28 June. In the case of the secondary school part of the Tartu Adult Secondary School, documents can generally be submitted until 25 August.

Students who have previously been studying in a foreign country must also submit a document certifying the level of education or studies they have acquired or completed abroad, or a certified true copy of such a document.

The procedure for the admission of students into the secondary school shall be established by the head of the school pursuant to the school’s terms for admission. Admission into all secondary schools offering full-time study is based on harmonised admission tests.

You can find the list of secondary schools here (in Estonian).

Photo by Juhan Voolaid
Photo by Juhan Voolaid

Harmonised admission tests

Five secondary schools in Tartu organise harmonised admission tests to apply for a place. Hugo Treffner Gymnasium, Miina Härma Gymnasium, Tartu Jaan Poska Gymnasium, Tartu Kristjan Jaak Peterson Gymnasium and Tartu Tamme Gymnasium work together to organise harmonised admission tests.

Applicants must register in a shared electronic information system and make a note of the schools of their preference. Tests will be taken at the school pre-assigned by the system. Conversations to decide whether that school will be able to provide a study place and whether the student is interested in that particular school will be held in April.

Open Doors Day

Students can learn about the study possibilities in a particular secondary school during Open Doors Days that usually take place in February.

Studies in secondary school

Studies in secondary schools take place on the basis of the national curriculum for secondary schools. Pursuant to the curriculum, students must complete at least 96 courses over the course of three academic years in order to graduate from secondary school. 63 of those courses are compulsory in all secondary schools in Estonia. Other courses (33 of which are compulsory) can be used by the school and students to develop, respectively, their characteristic features and special interests.

Secondary schools in Tartu offer a wide range of different elective courses that they use to form their distinct study branches or modules.

Basic education includes studying at least two foreign languages. The first foreign language or foreign language A will be taken up at a younger age, followed by the second foreign language or foreign language B. Secondary school studies also feature at least two foreign languages. Students must achieve a particular level of proficiency in both compulsory foreign languages (in writing and in speech). The language proficiency of secondary school graduates responds to levels B1 or B2 as described in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Secondary education includes an assessment of students’ knowledge and skills. Assessments vary from school to school, but in all cases students are given course grades at the end of each course and a final grade or a summative term-end grade upon completing all subject courses.

Studies in secondary schools in Tartu tend to follow a period-system. There are usually five 7-week study periods in one academic year.

Different work organisation compared to basic schools allows better implementation of individual curricula in secondary schools. Based on agreements made in schools, it is possible to take into account studies completed in music schools or in student academies organised at various universities. In-depth sport practices can also be taken into account as well as students’ health.

All secondary schools in Tartu provide opportunities for students to pursue their hobbies – sing in choirs, attend art or dancing studios.

The final examinations of secondary schools are state examinations and school examinations. State examinations take place once a year on the same day in Spring all across Estonia. Upon finishing secondary school, students must take state examinations in Estonian, mathematics and one foreign language, one school examination and write and defend a student research or a practical work. The foreign language state examination can be replaced by taking an international language examination. For more information on final examinations in secondary school visit: http://www.innove.ee/en/general-education/final-examinations/secondary-school

You can find more information on different schools on their respective websites.

Last changed 07.12.2020

International education

The primary target group of international education includes children of foreign diplomats, scientists, professors and other specialists who have taken up temporary residence in Estonia. International education aims to continue the education of said children without interruption on the basis of a comparable curriculum on a global or pan-European level.

Read more about international education here: Availability of international general education in Estonia

Miina Härma Gymnasium employs an international curriculum in Tartu; read more here!

Basic education in English can be obtained in the Tartu International School.

Preschool education in English can be obtained in the Tartu International Daycare, operating as part of the Tartu International School and the English-language study group in Terake.

Tartu International School
Tartu International School

Last changed 07.12.2020