According to the 55-page coalition agreement between the IRL and Reform Party, a total of 3,500 subsidized university slots for bachelor and master studies will be added within the next two years.
This means that the current yearly figure of 9,000 free university slots will increase to 12,500, Minister of Education, Tõnis Lukas told uudised.err.ee.
"As the number of [secondary school] students is dropping, the increased figure will not only meet the wishes of gymnasium and vocational school graduates, but also cater for the needs of those who for some reason have not immediately continued their studies after finishing high school," said Lukas.
He confirmed that the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications have sent the Education Ministry applications for adding slots in the economics, law and information technology fields.
"Nevertheless, we will consider the entire mechanism of state-commissioned education from the viewpoint of the needs of both enterprises and the nation," explained the minister.
Lukas also said that increasing free admission is not a panacea as even now the state funded university spots are not filled 100 percent. He said that the ministry is planning to make improvements in both upper and lower secondary education systems, so that more students would be able to continue their studies in challenging modern fields.
The additional funding will be directed towards those higher education providers which have high standards for admission and where the quality of education can be guaranteed.