Education in Lithuania
|Ministry of Education and Science|
|Minister of Education and Science||Gintaras Steponavičius|
|National education budget (2008)|
|Budget||1,28 billion LTL|
Education in Lithuania
Education is free of charge and compulsory from the age of 6 or 7 to 16 years, as stated in the national Law on Education. In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 98 percent. Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for Lithuania as of 2001. While enrollments rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children’s participation in school.
In Lithuania everybody has a right to education. Secondary education is compulsory until 16 years of age. Children start school when they are 6 or 7 years of age. The school year in Lithuania starts at the first of September and lasts nine months. The children have one month holiday during the school years. The school children can stay at school for 12 years, but some of them leave school after 10 years. These children enter vocational junior colleges or manual training schools. In these schools they can get both secondary education and qualifications necessary for a job.
Education in Lithuania has been centralized for a long time, but now almost every school has their own education system, but all systems do not differ from each other very much: children study almost the same subjects at all schools. Schoolchildren can transfer freely from one school to another.
Each class has its own classroom, where children have the most lessons, but there are special classrooms for physics, chemistry, biology, art and some other subjects. There are extra-curricular activities at some schools organized by clubs, sports and art societies.
After a secondary school, a vocational junior college or a manual training school, children can take entrance examination and enter the university.
Pre-school education under the pre-school education programme is provided to children from 1 to 6 years old. Institutional pre-school education is not compulsory and is provided upon parents' request. This kind of education can be compulsory in individual cases (to children from social risk families, etc.). Pre-school education is provided by public and private nurseries-kindergartens, kindergartens, and kindergartens-schools.
Pre-primary education is provided for one year. Education is provided to 6-year-old (in exceptional cases – five-year-old) children and is intended to better prepare children for school entry. Education is free, universally available, but is not compulsory. Parents have the right to decide whether their six-year-old child should be educated under the pre-primary education programme or not.
Pre-primary education groups are established in kindergartens or schools. In remote villages, municipalities can establish such groups in community multi-functional centres or children can be brought by school buses free of charge to the nearest school, where such group has been established. The following flexible pre-primary group models are offered to municipalities: groups working a few days per week, at weekends, or during school holidays, groups of a camp type, etc.
Children attending pre-primary groups learn new skills which will be useful in school: to interact with age-mates and stranger adults and orient themselves in a new environment. The following competencies are mostly developed through games: social, health protection, world recognition, and artistic.
If a child is educated at home, his/her parents are informed about pre-primary education novelties and consulted on important child's education issues. Upon parents’ request, children can be provided with special pedagogic and psychological assistance.
According to the Law on Education, children who have reached 7 years of age must go to the 1st form. If parents wish so and if the child is sufficiently mature to study under the primary education programme, he/she can start attending school from 6 years of age. The duration of the primary education programme is 4 years. Compulsory primary education can be obtained in kindergartens-schools, in primary schools and, which is less common, in basic or secondary schools.
Parents and children can also choose non-traditional education schools or individual classes/groups in municipal schools. Montessori, Waldorf, Suzuki pedagogical systems can be chosen in Lithuania.
Achievements and progress of 1-4 form pupils is not assessed with marks. Assessment is based on the idiographic principle, i.e. individual child’s progress made with regard to his/her personality is assessed and a criteria-referenced assessment is applied. Pupils are provided with assessment information orally or in form of a short description of their particular achievements. In the end of the trimester, semester or academic year, a summarized assessment is carried out by indicating the educational level achieved (satisfactory, basic, higher).
Children who attend schools for national minorities start learning Lithuanian (state language) from the 1st form. All primary school pupils start learning the first foreign language in the 2nd form.
Upon completion of primary education, pupils start studying under the 6-year basic education programme. The basic education programme is implemented by basic, secondary, youth, and vocational schools and gymnasiums.
The compulsory basic education programme consists of two parts: part I – a 4-year programme implemented in the 5-8th forms and part II – a 2-year programme implemented in the 9-10th forms (forms 1-2 in gymnasiums). Pupils can start learning the second foreign language in the 5th form and in the 6th form the second foreign language is compulsory. Pupils who study under the basic education programme must be engaged in social activities.
In form 9 (form 1 in gymnasiums), pupils are able to choose subject modules and study optional subjects following their bent and abilities.
Foreign pupils, who can’t speak Lithuanian, but wish to study in Lithuanian general education schools, can attend one-year developmental classes and developmental mobile groups.
In Lithuania, education is compulsory for children until they reach 16 years of age. Compulsory education is usually provided up to the 10th form. Upon completion of the 10th form, pupils can choose to undergo an Assessment of Basic Education. Achievements in Lithuanian, mothers tongue (Polish, Russian, Belarusian, and German), and Mathematics. Having completed the 10th form and obtained basic education, pupils can continue their studies under the secondary education or vocational training programme, or under the secondary education programme together with the vocational education programme for acquisition of the first qualification.
Youth schools are meant for 12–16 year old adolescents that have not managed to adapt to studying at schools of general education, lack motivation or have no other choice because of the social situation that they face.
Grading System in Lithuania
Usual grading system at Secondary School Level is ten-point scale.
|Result||Grade||Short description in Lithuanian||Short description in English|
|9||Labai gerai||very good|
|7||Pakankamai gerai||good enough|
|5||Pakankamai patenkinamai||satisfactory enough|
|2||Labai blogai||very bad|
|1||Nieko neatsakė, neatliko užduoties||nothing answered, task was not completed|
Secondary education is not compulsory and is usually provided for two years (forms 11 and 12 in secondary schools and forms 3 and 4 in gymnasiums). Pupils study according to individual education plans. The programme can include modules of the vocational training programme. Secondary education is provided in secondary schools, gymnasiums, and vocational schools.
Pupils can also choose education which mostly corresponds to their values, world outlook, religious beliefs, and philosophical views. Such education is provided in non-traditional education schools. Non-traditional education schools may operate according to their own programmes, but the total number of subjects and the total number of hours allocated for each subject in forms 1-12 can differ from the numbers specified in the state general education plans by not more than 25 percent.
In spring, upon completion of the secondary education programme, school-leavers take maturity examinations. Matura examinations may be of two types, i.e. school-lever or national-lever. To be awarded a Maturity Certificate, two maturity examinations must be passed: a compulsory exam in Lithuanian and one more optional exam. School-leavers who wish to enter higher education schools and receive state funding (except for studies of Arts), must pass at least 3 maturity examinations. In total, 6 maturity exams may be taken.
State examinations are conducted centrally — pupils of the graduation forms are registered in the database of the National Examination Centre; examinations are taken in municipal examinations centres; examination papers are encoded and sent to the National Examination Centre where they are assessed by hired experts.
Having completed the secondary education programme and passed maturity examinations, school-levers obtain secondary education.
Secondary and higher education obtained in other countries is assessed by the Lithuanian Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (home page www.skvc.lt).
Education of pupils in general education schools is financed through a state budget target grant under the principle of the pupil’s voucher. Every year, the state allocates, by taking into account the number of pupils, a special target grant to municipalities. The pupil’s voucher is allocated both for public and private schools. When moving to another school, a pupil takes his voucher with him. The pupil‘s voucher includes money for teachers‘ salaries, improvement of teachers‘ skills, textbooks, instructional aids, special psychological aid, cognitive activities of pupils, professional guidance, modules of professional artistic education programmes, administration, execution, assessment of maturity examinations, etc.
Utility expenses of private schools are covered by their stakeholders. Funds for schools of traditional religious communities are allocated by the state under the Agreement between the Republic of Lithuania and the Holy See.
After classes, pupils can choose various leisure activities provided in schools free of charge or attend separate sports, music, fine arts, art, aviation, and choreography schools, and children’s clubs. The latter activities are partially paid; professional artists, sportsmen, and teachers work with children.
In schools, pupils can be excused from attending weekly classes in Arts and Physical Training, if they have graduated from schools of art or study Fine Arts, Choreography, or Music in schools of art or non-formal education establishments specializing in sports. The long-term artistic education programme completed in children’s music, art, and sports schools or any other school can be recognized as a vocational education module.
Special education is provided in pre-school education establishments and general education schools of all types. If needed, general education programmes can be adapted taking into account pupil’s special education needs. Free assistance of special pedagogues, speech therapists, psychologists, and other specialists can be provided to pupils in schools as well as to parents and teachers in other institutions. A child’s need for special education is determined by a municipal pedagogical psychological unit or by a school special education commission.
Vocational training and life long learning
The vocational education system covers primary and continuing vocational education and orientation. Vocational training schools provide both qualification training and basic or secondary education. The duration of the programmes can be either two or three years depending on whether it is intended to provide basic or secondary education or whether it is adapted to persons with special needs. The duration of studies for students who have already obtained secondary education is 1 to 1.5 years. Requirements for vocational training programmes are set out by the General Requirements and Standards for Vocational Training of the Ministry of Education and Science. Vocational training programmes are developed by vocational training providers in cooperation with employers.
The training programme consists of two parts. The first part is common for all schools in the country and defines fields of professional activities, competencies, teaching goals, and assessment provisions. The second part is optional and covers teaching methods, subject programmes, teaching aids, etc. The programme must include the subjects or modules of Entrepreneurship, Civil Protection, Ecology, Information Technologies, and Foreign Language for Specific Purposes. 60-70 percent of the total time allocated to vocational subjects should be devoted to practical training. Usually, practical training is conducted at the school or in a company. Training can also be performed under exchange programmes.
The final qualification assessment is separated from teaching; pupils’ training is assessed by social partners.
Having completed the vocational training programme and passed examinations, pupils obtain vocational qualification. Pupils who have obtained secondary education are encouraged to continue their studies in colleges or universities. Successful graduates as well as graduates who have experience of work according to their qualification obtained receive additional points when entering higher education schools.
Primary vocational training is financed through the state budget. Vocational training providers receive financing by applying the methodology of the pupil’s voucher, i.e. calculation of teaching funds per pupil. The same principle is applied when allocating utility funds. Most of vocational school pupils receive grants. Continuing education is usually conducted through the funds of companies, institutions, the Employment Fund, other funds, or personal funds of pupils.
more information can be found here: Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania
Once students have reached 18 years of age, they are offered a variety of opportunities for further education. It is possible to continue one’s education in general education schools and centres for adults, by taking various courses or just using the Internet, reading books, or being interested in special literature.
Adults can obtain primary, basic or secondary education in adult schools, education centres, and general education schools with forms established for adults. General education of adults is organised by approx. 60 institutions in all municipalities of the country, which number about 12 thousand adults. These schools also provide non-formal adult education services.
The scope and subjects of study programmes for adults are adapted according to the needs. Adults who study under general education and non-formal education programmes can choose a flexible learning form that is most suitable for them — modular education, independent education, extramural education, or distance education. These forms allow adults choosing suitable time for their studies and a study programme, as well as planning their learning process on their own.
The modular learning method creates opportunities to study single subjects and complete the selected education programme within acceptable time frames as well as study for the purposes of self-education. Extramural students arrive to the adult school only for consultations and to take credit tests. Part of consultations under the correspondence and individual programmes (and all consultations for disabled people) can be provided distantly, by communicating with teachers with the help of information communication technologies — Internet sites, e-mail, or Internet Telephony Programs.
Adults study not only in order to obtain formal education, but also for self-expression, improvement of their skills, or communication with other people. On non-formal adult education courses and seminars adults tend mostly like to study foreign languages, Basics of Law and Business, Psychology, Computer Literacy as well as Arts, Literature, and Philosophy. Improvement of competencies in citizenship, traffic safety, and career management is also important. Non-formal adult education is organized by approx. 700 public and private institutions. Adult learning also takes place in the workplace and is organized by the employers taking into account their business demands.
Improvement of teacher's skills
During an academic year, teachers shall allocate 5 days for improvement of their skills. Every municipality has a teacher education centre, in which teachers can improve their qualification. These services are also provided by various private institutions.
There is a system implemented for the appraisal of teachers. The Regulations of the Appraisal of Teachers specify four teacher qualification categories: teacher, senior teacher, teacher-supervisor, and teacher-expert. Teachers or specialists in assisting the student can undergo appraisal at their own choice and in accordance with the procedure established in the Regulations, and pursue acquisition of any qualification category in one or several subjects (education fields, vocational training programmes).
Since 2010, students who enter pedagogical studies shall take a motivation test. The motivation test allows selecting the mostly motivated students. Future pedagogues with the best achievements receive an incentive – an additional target grant.