The educational institutions function either as state bodies, state-owned public bodies, municipal institutions or private (non-profit or for-profit) organisations. They are all supervised by the Ministry of Education and Research. Education in culture is available on all educational levels. The Bologna process has, hitherto, mainly been understood within educational policies as suggesting a certain structure of higher education (3 years for a BA, 2 years for an MA, and 4 years for PhD studies; or the so-called “3+2+4 model”). The new examination system was initiated in 2001, and it has, by now, been adopted in all institutions of higher education. It has caused educational planners to advocate two specific objectives that for many university teachers seem difficult to be combined; namely, graduates from the 3-year BA education should on one hand be sufficiently competent in one specific sphere of study in order to possess enough competence to enter the labour market as professionals; while at the same time they should have a wide enough knowledge of other related subjects so as to enable them to enter MA studies in, not necessarily the same subject, but in another subject that belongs to the same wider field of study (e.g., humanities, arts, social sciences, etc). Another problem is that the MA and PhD level of education attracts much fewer students than it was originally expected. The Ministry of Education and Science finances the studies of a certain number of students, specified according to university and field of studies; the universities are entitled to enrol additional fee-paying students.
Besides Tallinn (capital of Estonia), higher arts education is available in Viljandi and Tartu. There are two public universities (Estonian Academy of Arts; Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre) and one public professional high school (Tartu Higher School of Arts) specialising in the education of professional artists, actors and musicians. In addition, there are two public universities (Tallinn University; University of Tartu) that have departments for professional education in the arts and music. Two private universities, the Euroacademy and the Estonian Business College Mainor have established curricula in fields related to design. Within Tallinn University, there is also an education programme in audiovisual media (The Baltic Media School). Viljandi Academy of Culture – previously called Viljandi Cultural College – was a professional high school until 2005, when it was merged with the University of Tartu as a regional college located in the town of Viljandi. In November 2012, the total number of students on the diploma and applied higher education level (ISCED97 5B) in this field was 1 100; the number of students at BA and MA levels (ISCED97 5A) was 2 431, including 1831 BA and 600 MA students), and there were 98 PhD candidates (ISCED97 6). Compared with the situation five years earlier, the number of BA and MA students has slightly diminished (2007/08: 2 567), while there are more students in the applied higher education (2007/08: 874) and PhD (2007/08: 68) levels.
In recent years, higher education in the field of cultural management has been available in several different institutions in Estonia. Diploma studies (ISCED97 5B level) are available in the Viljandi College (Viljandi Academy of Culture) of the University of Tartu, and MA curricula (ISCED97 5A) at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and the University of Tartu.
Music and arts are part of the curricula of primary and secondary schools. In 2004, there were 97 amateur schools for children, providing education in music and fine arts outside the ordinary school curricula. The number includes only municipal schools. Their number is growing rapidly due to an increasing interest from parents. A moderate fee is usually charged; this fee may be deduced from the parent’s taxable income. Previously oriented towards the aim of selecting and preparing children for professional musical careers, the children’s music schools have increasingly adopted a wider view of their role in the overall development of the children’s personality. In general, supplementary education for cultural workers is organised by a separate institution governed by the Ministry of Culture, namely, the Centre for Development and Education in Folk Culture.