The country's adult literacy rate in 1995 was 99.8% for both men and women.
Prior to the 1990s, the Soviet system of education was followed. This was modified after Estonia's separation from the USSR. Both Russian and Estonian are taught. Estonian-language schools have 12 years of schooling with six years of primary and six years of secondary education. Russian-language schools have a total of 11 years of schooling. In 1997, primary schools enrolled 126,800 students. In 1996, secondary schools enrolled 112,288 students and employed 11,098 teachers. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 14 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, 98 % of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while 90% of those eligible attended secondary school. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 6.8% of GDP.
There are two well-known universities: the University of Tartu, founded in 1632, and the Talliva Technical University, founded in 1936, which mainly offers engineering courses. In 1997, all higher-level institutions had a total of 43,468 pupils and 4,435 teachers.