Minister of Education and Research (Estonia)

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The Minister of Education and Research is the senior minister at the Ministry of Education and Research ( Estonian: Eesti Vabariigi Haridus- ja Teadusministeerium) in the Estonian Government. The Minister is responsible for administration and development of Estonian educational system as well as for administration and funding of research and development activities on national level.


The Minister of Education and Research is chosen by the Prime Minister as a part of the government. The current Minister of Education and Research is Liina Kersna, who took the position on 26 January 2021.[ citation needed ]

The Minister is assisted in his/her work by the Deputy Minister, Secretary General, Secretary for General and Vocational Education, Secretary for Higher Education and Research, and Secretary for Youth Affairs and Foreign Relations.


Post of the Minister of Education was created at the birth of independent Republic of Estonia on 24 February 1918. From 1928 to 1936 the official title was the Minister of Education and Social Affairs. The end of the Republic of Estonia on 21 June 1940 marked also the end of independent governance of education in Estonia. The Ministry of Education continued from 1940 to 1991 under orders received from Moscow and was merged with the Educational Committee in 1988.

The Ministry of Education was re-established in 1989 to replace the Educational Committee of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. With the restoration of independent Republic of Estonia on 20 August 1991 the Ministry regained its supreme authority on educational issues. In 1993 the ministries of culture and education were merged to form Ministry of Culture and Education. 1996 the old order was restored and a separate Ministry of Education re-established. 2001 the Ministry was relocated to Tartu due to several economic and regional political arguments, but also due to successful lobby by University of Tartu.

On 1 January 2003 the Ministry of Education was renamed to Ministry of Education and Research in order to reflect better its focus and areas of administration. The title of the Minister has changed according to the changes in the name of the Ministry.

List of Ministers

1918 to 1940

NameTook OfficeLeft OfficeParty
1 Peeter Põld 24 February 191828 November 1918 Estonian People's Party
2 Karl Luts 28 November 191812 March 1919
3 Harald Laksberg 12 March 19199 May 1919
4 Johannes Kartau 9 May 191919 November 1919
5 Konstantin Treffner 19 November 19192 August 1920
6 Friedrich Sauer 2 August 192027 October 1920
7 Jüri Annusson 27 October 192027 January 1921
8 Heinrich Bauer 27 January 192122 November 1922
9 Aleksander Veiderman 22 November 192220 February 1924
10 Rudolf Georg Gabrel (acting)20 February 192427 March 1924
11 Hugo Bernhard Rahamägi 27 March 192417 December 1925
12 Jaan Lattik 17 December 192510 December 1927
13 Alfred Julius Mõttus 10 December 19275 December 1928
14 Leopold Johannes Johanson 5 December 192810 June 1929
15 Jaan Hünerson 10 June 192912 February 1931
16 Jaan Piiskar 12 February 193120 February 1932
17 Jaan Hünerson (2nd time)20 February 19323 October 1932
18 Hugo Kukke 3 October 193218 May 1933
19 Konstantin Konik 18 May 193321 October 1933
20 Nikolai Kann 21 October 193311 May 1936
21 Aleksander Jaakson 11 May 193612 October 1939
22 Paul Kogerman 12 October 193921 June 1940

1989 to Present

NameTook OfficeLeft OfficeParty
23 Rein Loik 28 December 198921 October 1992(none)
24 Paul-Eerik Rummo 22 October 199221 June 1994(none)
25 Peeter Olesk 21 June 199417 April 1995 Estonian National Independence Party
26 Peeter Kreitzberg 17 April 19956 November 1995 Estonian Centre Party
27 Jaak Aaviksoo 6 November 199530 November 1996 Estonian Reform Party
28 Rein Loik (2nd time)30 November 199617 March 1997(none)
29 Mait Klaassen 17 March 199725 March 1999 Estonian Coalition Party
30 Tõnis Lukas 25 March 199928 January 2002 Pro Patria Union
31 Mailis Rand 28 January 200210 April 2003 Estonian Centre Party
32 Toivo Maimets 10 April 200313 April 2005 Union for the Republic - Res Publica
33 Mailis Reps (= Mailis Rand, 2nd time)13 April 20055 April 2007 Estonian Centre Party
34 Tõnis Lukas (2nd time)5 April 20075 April 2011 Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica
35 Jaak Aaviksoo (2nd time)6 April 201126 March 2014 Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica
35 Jevgeni Ossinovski 26 March 20149 April 2015 Social Democratic Party
35 Jürgen Ligi 9 April 201512 September 2016 Estonian Reform Party
36 Maris Lauri 12 September 201623 November 2016 Estonian Reform Party
37 Mailis Reps (= Mailis Rand, 3rd time)23 November 201621 November 2020 Estonian Centre Party
38 Jaak Aab 25 November 202026 January 2021 Estonian Centre Party
39 Liina Kersna 26 January 2021 Estonian Reform Party

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