A study conducted by the University of Tartu's Institute of Educational Sciences shows that 32 percent of students who enroll on a computer science course, leave or drop out within a year of commencing their studies. Researchers cite working alongside studies as one of the key reasons for the negative trend.
Labor scarcity in the IT sector means that everyone who is good in exact sciences will be quickly recruited, said Varmo Vene, deputy head of the Institute of Computer Science. Many find it difficult to combine work with full-time studies.
"There are also those who switch courses because they decide that computer science is not for them, and so they go on to study something different," Külli Kori, one of the educational scientists behind the study, told ERR radio news.
The researchers also discovered that another important factor is the result of the final high school exam in maths: students with lower scores are more likely to drop their degree course.
Margus Pedaste, the head of the University of Tartu's Pedagogicum, said that universities have to collaborate more with the IT industry so they could offer their students best possible apprenticeships. He added that the larger Estonian IT-companies have also started to value a master's degree in computer science.
Vene said that the educators need to raise awareness among the students about the IT-sector and the importance of finishing one's degree. "Perhaps we can also improve the support system and help the students catch up, so that the dropout rate would decrease," he added.
Editor: M. Oll