The signs so far show that interest in Estonia's universities among foreign students hasn´t decreased due to the coronavirus pandemic. There have been even more applications than last year for those coming to study at the Estonian Business School (EBS) or Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech).
TalTech takes about 500 students to its curriculums in English every year. About 100 of these are from Estonia, 100 from other European countries and about 300 from elsewhere in the world, ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported Tuesday night.
Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at TalTech Hendrik Voll said that the interest from students has been higher this year - all in all, there were 2,500 applications presented, out of which 1,300 met criteria.
Voll said that even though the time to submit the applications fell before the coronavirus outbreak, it didn´t affect the number of applicants.
"30 have confirmed their studies and to about 250, we have announced that we have to wait and see how the situation evolves. There are a few students who have withdrawn their candidacy," Voll said.
Chancellor at EBS Mart Habakuk said that for now they have stopped accepting applications from outside of the EU, though compared with last year, there were about one-third more of these this year - 330 against 240.
Students coming from outside of the EU form less than a tenth of all of the students; data on the interest of European and Estonian students will come at the end of June. However, Habakuk noted that there have been more visits to their web site than usual.
"It is too early to make any long-term conclusions but we are definitely looking hopeful. First signs regarding high-school and non-EU students are looking more positive than ever before," he added.
Hendrik Voll stated that the future perspective of universities is not set yet - regarding foreign students, it is not clear whether the situation will return to normal, enough for them to be able to come to Estonia.
In teaching, however, contact learning is inevitable in many technical fields, alongside e-learning, he said.
Voll noted that from mid-May, TalTech hopes to restore contact education to a limited extent, similar to that in general education schools.
"We will do this very carefully and we have given a signal that all students who cannot come - maybe some are in quarantine in Saaremaa, some are abroad - must also have the opportunity to do these things via distance learning," Voll explained.
"We will probably return to hybrid learning again in the autumn. Some things will remain virtual, some things will be classical and the structure of learning will change. It was changing anyway, but it got a little acceleration now," Habakuk said.
Tallinn University (TLÜ) confirmed that the admission process for students from outside the EU ended before the coronavirus, and interest was at the same level as last year.
Editor: Roberta Vaino