The ceremonial opening of a computer coding school based in Ida-Viru County took place Wednesday, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reports.
Set up last year, the Jõhvi coding school, known as Kood/Jõhvi is now housed in an older building in that town, and provides free courses to students via an innovative, self-learning and problem-solving approach.
The building was revitalized and refurbished (see gallery), involving around 40 firms and costing a little over €5 million, AK reported.
One student, Keiti Nurmbek, said she found the school's approach, which includes cooperative work with partners in problem-solving, suited her.
"We set up the teams ourselves, in other words we find ourselves who we want to work with," Nurmbek, from Ida-Viru County, said.
"At the start, that can be a little harder, when you are looking for someone to work with. But at some point, people will appear who you get on with, who you know you will get smooth cooperation with, and it grows from that. The search is not very difficult; it goes quite well," she went on.
The approach doesn't suit everyone, however – around 20 percent dropped out in the first academic year, AK reported.
Karin Künnapas, co-head of Kood/Jõhvi, said: "We have come to realize that this teaching methodology, which doesn't use teachers as such, is highly suitable for some people; it constitutes self-learning, plus there is a lot of teamwork."
"There are also some people who that does not suit. In the first academic year, we had people studying both here and from afar, so we have found ways to support these remote learners, so that they feel like they are part of the community and that they find the teams they want to work with," Künnapas added.
The school also provides accommodation for some of its students.
Self-discipline was key, Nurmbek said, adding that his might have been the reason why some people had decided it was not for them.
The school opened last year and spent its first academic year at temporary premises in nearby Sillamäe, as the refurbishment work in Jõhvi had taken longer than envisaged.
The new home used to house the old Jõhvi 'phone exchange, and has the capacity for 450 students, with accommodation spaces for 150 of these.
Accommodation and study are both free-of-charge to students.
The school started with the backing of well-known tech entrepreneurs in Estonia, and addresses a twin issue of providing IT education to all, in a country noted for its tech prowess, while also giving a boost to Ida-Viru County, one of the less affluent regions of Estonia.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera