ProgeTiger is a joint initiative by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and the former organisation HITSA (Estonian Information Technology Foundation for Education), which has been running since 2012. On 1 August 2020, HITSA's activities were transferred to a new national authority in Estonia - the Education and Youth Board (Haridus- ja Noorteamet in Estonian). The new board is directly subordinate to the Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia.
The Estonian initiative targets the preschool, primary and vocational education sector on a national level and aims to chart a plan with which to technology and digital innovation can be fostered and integrated within official curricula. The initiative focuses on equipping teachers with the skills they need in order to be qualified educators in subjects like ICT (Information and Communication Technology), robotics and coding. At the same time, the project also targets school teachers in non-digital subjects too - to encourage them to integrate and implement technology and digital solutions in their teaching practices. Other target groups, such as parents, students and educators also fall within the initiative's scope. The project's second objective, apart from encouraging increased use of technology in teaching and learning, is to foster the interest of children and adolescents when it comes to the ICT sector.
Teachers can find a wide range of learning resources linked to digital skills on ProgeTiger's website, including training opportunities, so they can develop more structured approaches to fostering their students' interest in digital skills. In addition, the programme provides effective support to kindergartens and schools, helping them acquire different programmable devices and encourage the use of digital technology from an early age. Financial support for implementation is also available.
With these actions, ProgeTiger hopes to speed up the process of introducing coding lessons in kindergartens and primary schools within Estonia and streamline national, local and regional efforts in this area. The programme has been particularly successful in achieving its objective: ProgeTiger's training activities reached 85% of Estonian public school and 44% of kindergartens. In addition, more than 4.000 teachers were also trained in digital skills and technology. This approach has also largely contributed to the scalability and sustainability of the initiative - once trained and equipped, teachers and schools required little maintenance and only occasional on-site support. ProgeTiger has also been successful in engaging a large portion of Estonian society throughout the country's regions; however its replicability in other contexts is dependent on strong government involvement and funding. As a result of the programme's excellent outreach, the big majority of Estonian children get to know the subject of coding at a very early age.