Report: Estonia strikes eye with hordes of «highly educated waitresses»

Tallinna Ülikoolis esitleti täna Eesti uut inimarengu aruannet.

PHOTO: Heiki Rebane / BNS

In Estonia, a remarkable amount of people work underneath their skills and academic knowledge acquired. This, as revealed by the fresh Human Development Report, being one of the two big risks of Estonian education. The other hazard: at all education levels, too few males are found.

«Often, people with higher education work at jobs not corresponding with their academic qualification,» write University of Tallinn political scientists Anu Toots and Triin Lauri, in HDR chapter dedicated to education. Also, unlike in other countries, higher education equals not higher salary.

True: people do work below their education in other countries as well, but in Estonia this amounts to a whopping third – significantly over the EU average (of 20 per cent).

Ms Toots and Ms Lauri do not dare to point out the reason for it, as yet. «This is such a little-studied phenomenon, it is not yet known what causes the incompatibility – whether the causes lie in economic structure or educational system.»

Still, they are able to point to a probable solution. «However, we find it written in the policy directives of the European Commission, that teaching creativity and enterprise is believed to be the cure against discrepancies between education and economy.»

However, looking and checking whether, in Estonia, there is indeed too little teaching on creativity and entrepreneurship, Ms Toots and Ms Lauri happened upon an interesting contradiction – in documents, these qualities are widely covered; in reality, they are not valued.

«As compared to basic school curricula in other countries, words like creativity and innovation are much more numerous in our case; however, of the teachers questioned, only 13 per cent considered teaching creativity to be important – the lowest level in the entire EU,» Ms Toots and Ms Lauri write in the report. In Finland and in Sweden, for instance, over 60 per cent of teachers are creative-minded.