The schools network program prescribes Estonia having 24 state high schools by 2023, with the next schools to be opened in Saaremaa and Tabasalu.
The Saaremaa state high school will be opened on September 1, 2021 and should accommodate 540 students. The start of the 2021 school year should also see the opening of a state high school in Tabasalu, Harku Municipality in Harju County, also for 540 students.
The Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act obligates the state to maintain at least one high school in each county. In addition to Saaremaa, Lääne-Viru County also does not have one at this time. A state high school for 540 students will be opened in Rakvere in 2022. The city's municipal schools will close their high schools by then, while secondary education will be retained in Tapa and Tamsalu.
The new building of the Järva County State High School in Paide is set to be opened in 2021. The building will accommodate up to 252 students. Paide got a state high school back in 2016.
Three schools to be opened in Tallinn
Despite Tallinn and Harju County being home to roughly half of the Estonian population, the county only has a single state high school in Viimsi that was opened in the fall of 2018. There are plans for another six – three in Harju County and three in the capital Tallinn.
The first state high school in Tallinn will be opened near the Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) at Akadeemia tee 25 in the Mustamäe district. The school will accommodate 1,080 students and sport a sciences focus.
A state high school with a natural sciences focus is set to be opened at Kolde puiestee 67a in the Pelgulinn district that should cater to 1,200 students. Another state high school is to be opened next to the Estonian National Library on Endla street in Tallinn's city center. The Tõnismäe State High School will fit up to 900 students.
In addition to a state high school in Tabasalu, Harju County will get new schools in Laagri, Saue Municipality in 2022 and Jüri, Rae Municipality the following year.
In Ida-Viru Country, two state high schools will be opened in the city of Narva in 2023, with one teaching subjects only in Estonian. It was estimated four years ago that having two state high school in Narva would cost around €10 million.
On September 1, 2019, Estonia had 16 state high schools in 13 counties.
The first so-called county high school was opened in Viljandi on September 1, 2012. Next came the Lääne County Coeducational High School in Haapsalu and the Jõgeva High School in the city of Jõgeva. The Jõhvi High School, Pärnu Koidula High School, Tartu Tamme High School and Võru High School opened in the fall of 2015.
2016 brought the Põlva High School, Valga High School and Hiiumaa High School, with the Rapla High School, Paide High School and Viimsi High School added to the mix in 2018.
Other state high schools include the Nõo Science High School, Noarootsi High School (Swedish and Nordic culture focus), Tallinn Music High School and the language immersion Narva Old Town State School that all have nationwide admissions.
European Union funds are used for 85 percent of design and construction expenses of state high schools, with Estonia adding the remaining 15 percent.
Editor: Marcus Turovski