Study IT in .ee (IT Academy program – ITA) is a cooperation program and brand, which helps to increase the quality of ICT education and to market the ICT programmes in Estonian higher education. Program will result in the improved quality, quantity and efficiency:
• Attractiveness, quality level and the success of graduation of ICT studies will grow;
• More and better qualified professionals will enter the labour market;
• IT-based entrepreneurship will increase;
• Recognition of Estonia as a destination country for IT studies will grow;
• Continuous emergence of international level academic and research staff will be maintained.
The measure of the quality of the ICT higher education will be the students’ future success in the labour market. For its part, the sector will provide jobs for all graduates from the ITA curricula. Internationally, the success will be guaranteed by education which is based on a strong theoretical basis, professors’ academic skills, targeted on meeting the needs of practical life, complemented by the entrepreneurship and interdisciplinarity.
ITA program will be launched from September 2012 with the following activities:
• Supporting the collaboration between universities to make the best use of resources;
• Strengthening the academic capability of universities by supporting internationalization and developing the career model for university teachers;
• Establishing a scholarship fund to support successful students;
• Carrying out the joint international marketing and recruitment of foreign students;
• Supporting studies of Estonian students in specific fields of ICT in foreign countries.
The selected existing ICT curricula with clear development objectives, approved by the experts will be involved in the ITA program during the initial stage. Additional curricula that meet the needs of the ICT sector and the needed level of quality will be added under the auspices of ITA during the following years. All the support schemes are based on public and open competitions, with preference to domestic and international cooperation between universities.
The academic year 2012/13 will start with the following curricula:
• Software Engineering – joint international Master’s curriculum of University of Tartu (UT) and Tallinn University of Technology (TUT), acceptance of 50 students in 2012, out of whom at least 30% are foreign students;
• Cyber Security – joint international Master’s curriculum of TUT and UT, acceptance of 50 students in 2012, out of whom at least 30% are foreign students;
• Computer Science – UT undergraduate curriculum, acceptance of 150 students in 2012;
• Informatics – TUT undergraduate program, acceptance of 150 students in 2012.
The Estonian Information Technology Foundation (EITF) will be responsible for the management and development of ITA, the strategic decisions will be adopted by the ITA Steering Committee. The ITA administrative unit in EITF will search for investments and provide funding to universities; measure and analyze the program’s effectiveness; communicate the expectations of employers and funders to the universities; influence the IT education development; coordinate ITA activities and marketing.
ITA will have approved indicators (number of graduates, dropout reduction, the number of foreign students, etc.), and those targets will be monitored on a regular basis.
€ 1.5M will be invested in the pilot phase in 2012. Significantly grown investments will help the program to achieve the following results during subsequent years:
• 2300 students will study in ITA curricula in 2015 and 212 young people will graduate from the Master’s and 290 from the Bachelor studies annually with the nominal period of study in 2015;
• The number of graduates from ITA curricula will increase by 100 in 2015 compared with 2011;
• The drop-out in ITA curricula will be reduced by 30% compared with 2011;
• Additional graduates will produce € 3M added value for the economy annually;
• At least 30% of students in the international Master’s curricula will be foreign students.