From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
For entities in Lithuania see Category:Lithuania
Partners situated in Lithuania
Lithuania in a nutshell
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika) is a country in Eastern, often referred to as Northern Europe or in Baltic Division. Situated along the south-eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, it shares borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland, and the Russian exclave of the Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania is a member of NATO and of the European Union. Its population is 3.4 million. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius. During the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. With the Lublin Union of 1569 Poland and Lithuania formed a new state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory. In the wake of WWI, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on February 16, 1918, declaring re-establishment of a sovereign state. Starting in 1940, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union then Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end in 1944 and the Nazis retreated, the Soviet Union re-occupied Lithuania. On March 11, 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare its renewed independence. Present-day Lithuania has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. Lithuania became a full member of the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007. In 2009, Lithuania will celebrate the millennium of its name.
Source: Wikipedia page on Lithuania
Lithuanian education policy
Pre-school education is considered to be part of non-formal education. It caters for children from 1 year to 7 years of age. These institutions (lopšelis–darželis, darželis, mokykla–darželis) fall under the authority of local governments. The fees parents have to pay are established by the founder. Attendance is optional. According to law, children can start compulsory education at the age of 7 (or earlier if the child is ready for school). It ends when they reach the age of 16. Public-sector primary and lower secondary schools are free. Priority enrolment in a public general education school is granted to children living in the catchment area of that school. A child may be enrolled in another general education school subject to the availability of free places. In 2009/10, the average class size at the primary level in public schools was 17.5. The law defines the maximum number of pupils per class as 24 in primary education and 30 in lower secondary education. Classes are mixed and made up of pupils of the same age. In primary schools, all subjects are compulsory (as defined in the Minister’s Order) and are the same for all pupils (except for moral education in which case parents may choose whether their children receive religious instruction relevant to a given denomination or lessons in ethics). In lower secondary schools, compulsory subjects (17) are studied by all pupils, but may be allocated a variable number of lessons. At the decision of each school, students can be offered a more intensive programme on foreign languages, fine arts, music and physical education.
Higher education comprises university-level courses offered by universities. They are provided at three academic levels: undergraduate (Bachelor’s) studies; graduate (Master’s) and post-graduate (doctoral) studies. The upper secondary leaving certificate (brandos atestatas) is required by all higher education establishments. Admission to studies takes place on a competitive basis. The usual admission criterion is a competition rating determined by the grades of some subjects, the number of which is usually no more than four, the results of school leaving examinations. At public higher education institutions, students admitted to state-funded places do not pay tuition fees. Both university-level and non-university higher education institutions may establish places for students who pay tuition fees. Students at non-State higher education institutions pay tuition fees which are set by the institutions themselves.
Lithuanian education system
According to Invest in Lithuania, Lithuania has two times more people with higher education than the EU-15 average and the proportion is the highest in the Baltic. Also, 90% of Lithuanians speak at least one foreign language and half of the population speaks two foreign languages, mostly Russian and English or Polish.
Vilnius University is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe and the largest university in Lithuania. Kaunas University of Technology is the largest technical university in the Baltic States and the second largest university in Lithuania. Other universities include Kaunas University of Medicine, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vytautas Magnus University, and Mykolas Romeris University.
Universities in Lithuania
Note: A portion of these universities have not updated their (English) sites plus facts & figures since 2005.
Adapted and Updated from: Wikipedia's List of Universities in Lithuania
Lifelong learning strategies
On 15 October 2008, an updated Strategy of Lifelong Learning was approved by the Minister of Education and Science and Minister of Social Security and Labour. The Strategy is planned to be implemented up to the year 2012. The Strategy of Lifelong Learning aims at enhancing opportunities for adult learning while improving the lifelong learning system, the quality of services, and maximising accessibility to education. '
European Qualifications Framework
Qualifications will be managed according to the National Qualification Framework which has been submitted to the Lithuanian Government for approval. Due to internal procedures, the National Qualification Framework is in the phase of final discussions.
Early leavers from education and training
On 18 January 2008, the School Improvement Programme Plus was launched. One of the goals for programme implementation is to develop educational services, their quality and availability by facilitating the improvement of assistance provided by the education system to general education, vocational education and training and higher education through upgrading the infrastructure of general education and developing the system of assistance to the pupil. The share of population aged 18-24 with basic education not taking up further education is projected at 9.0 percent in 2013 (compared with 9.2 percent in 2005).
In November 2006, a Strategy for the Development, Implementation, Assessment and Renewal of the Content of General Education for 2006-2012 was adopted. The Strategy provides for the upgrade of the curriculum on the basis of the development of key competences. Following the Strategy, general education content has been undergoing revision: Programmes of Primary and Lower Secondary Education have been developed and approved. The new content of general education is targeted at developing the key competences of the knowledge society. The revision of the content of general education programmes is geared to the differentiation and individualisation of learning with the main focus on learning outcomes and the relationship between the educational content and life. The Strategy also sets out the principles of management of the education content and provides for the municipalities to take decisions on the adjustment of the state level education content to the demands of the local communities, for schools to adapt the education content to the needs of the pupils and the school community, and for teachers to decide on adjusting the education content to the needs of the class and individual pupils. The Strategy does not provide for decentralisation of the general education content, rather it defines more precisely the principle of the interpretation and adaptation of the education content, and the rights of the education providers to do so.
In April 2006, the Government adopted a Plan of Long-Term Development of Higher Education 2006-2010. The Plan envisages the development of higher education along the following guidelines: improvement of the management of the higher education system, improvement of the internal management of state universities, reform of financing of higher education, renewal of study programmes and quality assurance of higher education. The new Law on Higher Education and Research specifies the main provisions of the reform. The reform is to introduce fundamental changes in the sphere of higher education and research. It is hoped that it will lead to the modernisation of the system of higher education in Lithuania and improvement of higher education quality. Among the measures to be introduced is the change of the financing methods of higher education by introducing the ’student’s basket‘ and improvement of support for students with the help of State-guaranteed loans. Also, new regulations for the management of the assets of State higher education institutions will be adopted.
Administration and finance
Institutions of university-level higher education and the newly established sector of "non-university" higher education, i.e. colleges (kolegijos) (following the new 2000 Law on Higher Education), are placed under the authority of the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology at the Ministry of Education and Science. The State grants universities considerable autonomy. The new Law on Higher Education and Research was adopted by resolution of the parliament in 2009.
Schools and post-secondary
In the beginning of the school year 2009/10, 98.9 % of students attended publicly funded education establishments financed by the central and local administration budgets. Private-sector education establishments are maintained by their founders. In 2009/10, there were 28 private-sector education establishments attended by 4 878 students. The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the development and implementation of education policies and defines the criteria for the allocation of financial resources. Since 2002, financing general education schools is based on a per capita model (whereby money follows the pupil). This system of financing provides for the budget of general education schools to be drawn on the basis of pupil ‘baskets’ (per capita), in addition to funds for education environment (operational resources and capital assets), targeted funds for implementation of programmes and projects, funds of sponsors, etc. Pupil ‘basket’ funds are allocated to municipalities as targeted grants. The funds of pupil ‘baskets’ are to be used for implementation of the education policy approved by the Minister of Education and Science, i.e. to remunerate the teaching and administrative staff, social pedagogue and librarian, acquire textbooks and other teaching aids and also implement teacher in-service training policy.
National responsibility for quality policy lies with the Ministry of Education and Science, for quality evaluation with the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (CQAHE), while quality assurance on the institutional level is the responsibility of higher education institutions themselves. External evaluation of new and operating study programmes is compulsory. Following the established procedures, all higher education institutions submit self-evaluation reports to the CQAHE, upon which the CQAHE assesses each study programme and makes a decision. After the Expert Council approves the conclusions drawn by the expert group, the CQAHE submits a proposal on accreditation to the Ministry of Education and Science which takes the ﬁnal decision. During recent years about 50 per cent of new study programmes received a negative evaluation and were not recommended for registration.
Schools and post-secondary
To assure the quality of education at general education schools, starting from September 2004, the methodology of internal audit (evaluation) has been applied in all general education schools. In 2007, performance of internal audits in general education schools was initiated under the newly approved Procedure for the Internal Audit of General Education Schools. In 2009, general education schools abandoned the internal audit. Instead, the National School Agency for Education Evaluation prepared, by order of the Minister of Education and Science, the Guidelines for Self-Evaluation of Quality in General Education School Performance. The Guidelines were approved by a ministerial order as guidance to be complied with by general education school leaders when analysing the state of school performance and management resources. In 2005, the Ministry of Education and Science established a National School Evaluation Agency with the main function of external improvement-oriented evaluation of general education schools. On a national basis, the external audit (evaluation) methodology has been applied from the 2007/08 school year onwards.
Lithuanian information society
There has been steady growth in almost all indicators. Growth in fixed broadband take-up continued last year, reaching 21%. The situation is somewhat better for household connectivity. Currently, 54% of households have a fixed broadband connection, a slight increase on 2009. The majority of Internet connections are broadband. Some 83% of broadband connections are at least 2 Mbps. The connectivity of businesses is slightly lower than the EU average (81% as opposed to 83% in the EU), and showed only marginal progress in the last year. Wireless Internet technologies are emerging, especially laptop use via a wireless connection outside the home or office, but are not yet widely used.
Regular and frequent use of the Internet in Lithuania is getting closer to the EU average (58% and 45% respectively). However, at 35%, Lithuania has an above-average proportion of the population that has never used the Internet. The take-up of Internet services has increased significantly over the past few years. The most popular activities are reading online newspapers, Internet banking, downloading, listening to and watching music and/or films, and seeking information about goods and services. Take-up of eCommerce by individuals with 11% lies well below the EU average (40.4%).
Although the online availability of public services for citizens increased in the last year, it is still far below the EU average at 69%. Take-up by citizens is also far below the EU average (at 24%) although slightly increasing. Availability is higher for services for businesses (at 75%), though still below average and unchanged since last year. Finally, take-up by businesses exceeds the EU average by 20 percentage points and is the third highest value in the EU.
ICT in education initiatives
Schools and post-secondary