Tallinn University (TU) is the third largest university in Estonia with about 8000 students (including 800 international students) and 800 employees, incl. 400 researchers and lecturers. TU supports the sustainable development of Estonia through high-quality research and study, education of intellectuals, public discussions and promotion of academic partnership. It is acknowledged both locally and internationally for its role as a centre for research and education. The university has committed itself to the strategic goal of becoming an international research university with a strong social conscience and an open-minded, flexible and collegial environment for academic and personal growth.
The School of Educational Sciences is the oldest academic unit in TU that conducts studies on the three levels of higher education, continuing education and research, development and creative activities. A number of study programs are offered on the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral level including educational innovation and leadership, educational sciences, early childhood education, primary teacher education, andragogy, special education teacher, pedagogy, vocational teacher education, and multiple subjects teacher education. All teacher training programs have a network and collaboration with a significant number of schools.
In the context of this project, primary teacher education is focused on. The study program is one of a kind at TU, consisting of a 5-year integrated study. Additionally, primary teacher education in Estonia has been university-based for more than 60 years. Graduates of primary teacher education receive a Master of Arts in Education degree. Additionally, many graduates teach in secondary education (in a subject they chose to study along primary teacher education) and lead extracurricular activities at their school. Primary teachers are recognized for their systematic work in building a strong, academical foundation for students. The results of their work, for example, are seen in PISA studies where Estonian students have consistently shown better results.
The University of Helsinki
The University of Helsinki (UH) is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. The University of Helsinki is also one of the best multidisciplinary research universities in the world and it is the only Finnish university to consistently rank in the top 100 of international university rankings. The University of Helsinki seeks solutions for global challenges and creates new ways of thinking for the best of humanity. Through the power of science, the University has contributed to society, education and welfare since 1640.
The Faculty of Educational Sciences is responsible for education for Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in education, educational psychology, home economics, and subject didactics. The basic education constitutes programs on the BA and MA levels as well as pedagogical studies for subject teachers. The activities are based on a diverse set of scientific, practical and societal competence, and substantial national and international networks and collaboration. The most important collaboration partners are the subject departments at the various faculties of the university, the two university practice schools and partner schools. The competence at the faculty is utilised by a variety of third-sector and private sector actors. There are approximately 300 faculty members among the academic staff. Teachers are educated in Finnish, Swedish and English-language programs.
The Swedish-language programs constitute general and adult education, primary teacher education, kindergarten and early learning teacher education and pedagogical studies for subject teachers. The primary teacher education (a Master’s program) and the kindergarten and early learning teacher education (a Bachelor’s program) are new since 2016. The Swedish programs have an academic staff of approximately 20 members, including three professors and one associate professor. The Swedish-language teacher education programs do not have a university practice school. Instead, they collaborate with partner schools and kindergartens in five municipalities.
Uppsala University (UU), founded in 1477, has a long history and rich traditions. At Uppsala University there are about 40.000 students, approximately 23.000 full-time students and 6.300 employees. Uppsala University is a broad research university with well-defined missions: to conduct research and education of the highest quality and to collaborate with the surrounding community.
The Department of Education (EDU) is one of the largest departments at UU. The Department of Education has around 200 teachers, researchers, and administrators. The department has around 3.000 students. The subject areas are Curriculum Studies, Educational Sciences and Educational Sociology. The most extensive education commission is within the core courses of the Teacher Education Programs. The Teacher Education Programs consist of Preschools and Preschool Classes, (Preschool Classes, preparatory for children aged 6–7). Primary Schools divided into a Preschool Class and grades 1–3 and grades 4–6. Secondary Schools Grades 7–9 and Upper Secondary Schools.
The Department of Education (EDU) at Uppsala University will be involved in this project. Since 2017, EDU has collaborated closely with several preschools and schools in the city of Uppsala, which are called “partner schools”. A partner school works with teacher educators and researchers at EDU more closely around placements of student teachers, action research projects, and school development projects. Furthermore, this kind of partnership helps teacher educators at EDU to explore student teachers’ learning from different perspectives since all student teachers within the partnership have access to the school continuously throughout the program. In this project, EDU would focus on teacher education for preschool class until grade 6. We would draw on our experiences and results from the partner school projects.