Pedagogicum Tartu Ülikooli õpetajahariduse uuendamisel. The role of the Pedagogicum in updating teacher education

  • Margus Pedaste


By 2008, several of the University of Tartu’s units had been actively
involved in teacher education and educational sciences for a long
time. It was possible to study to become a teacher in six faculties and
two colleges. Each unit stood for its own interests and, in communicating
with the university’s external partners, including the Ministry of
Education and Research, it may have appeared that the various departments
of the university were in competition with each other and
there was no institution to address general issues in teacher education.
The field was fragmented.
On 25 April 2008, a Rector’s Order was signed in preparation for
the establishment of the Pedagogicum. Three issues to be addressed
were identified to be coordinating activities, assuring quality of management
and maintaining an acceptable level of research activities.
The founding of the Pedagogicum was led by Professor Tõnu Meidla.
Under his leadership, the first statute was completed. The Pedagogicum
started work on 1 January 2009 and on 30 January 2009
Margus Pedaste was elected to be its first head. He holds this position
to this day.
Initially, the objectives of the Pedagogicum were to (1) develop
teaching staff and doctoral studies, (2) promote education through
research and analysis, (3) analyse and develop teacher training curricula,
(4) upgrade teaching methods and content and develop human
resources, (5) promote information and cooperation in the categories
mentioned above. Later, organizing funding for in-service teacher
education, launching the doctoral school project, developing and furnishing
university teacher education study laboratories, and other
development projects were included in the list of tasks. The Pedagogicum
has played an important role in applying, coordinating and
reporting on all these projects within the university. The renewal of
curricula for teacher training and the establishment of an Educational
Innovation Centre deserve to be highlighted separately. Both of these have been key activities in renewing teacher education at the
University of Tartu.
The Pedagogicum also has a very important role outside the university
according to its current statute. The Pedagogicum represents
the University in issues of teacher education and educational research,
organizes activities in these fields and makes proposals for initiating
and updating legislation on teacher education and education
in general. Teacher and school associations, the Ministry of Education
and Research and the Estonian Qualifications Authority are
very important partners in this regard. The latter certainly deserves
special attention because the Pedagogicum has had a key role in updating
the system of teachers’ professional standards in Estonia in
cooperation with the institution.
In addition to Estonian collaborations, the Pedagogicum also
supports international communication. All this groundwork has led
to the University of Tartu becoming the first Estonian university to
be mentioned in the prestigious international Times Higher Education
and QS World University Rankings in the field of educational
sciences in 2019. This shows that we are moving in the right direction
with our developments.