STUDY IN LITHUANIA
Preschool education : Children can take part in pre-school education from birth until they start compulsory pre-primary education at the age of 6. The main aim of pre-school education is to help a child satisfy inherent, cultural (including ethnic), social and cognitive needs by taking into account each child’s individuality. All pre-school education institutions prepare and implement their pre-school education programs in compliance with the criteria for the preschool education curriculum approved by the Minister of Education and Science. Preschool education can be provided by private, state or municipal kindergartens, school-kindergartens, schools or other institutions, as well as freelance educators or other education providers. Preschool education in other languages can be acquired at the institutions providing pre-school education programs for ethnic minorities.4 hours a day (20 hours a week) of pre-school education is funded from the national or the municipal budget through the “student voucher” allocation system. Parents only make a financial contribution to cover the cost of meals and learning materials, however, municipalities can reduce the fees to families based on their social situation.
Pre-primary education : Pre-primary education is compulsory from age 6 to 7. Its purpose is to help a child prepare for successful learning according to the primary education curriculum. Pre-primary education is carried out according to a one-year general pre-primary education curriculum approved by the Minister of Education and Science. Its content is focused on the development of the child’s general competences social and health care, knowledge and understanding of the world, communication and artistic expression through integrated development activities. Preprimary education can be provided by private, state or municipal kindergartens, school-kindergartens, schools or other institutions, as well as freelance educators or other education providers. Pre-primary education in other languages can be acquired at the institutions providing pre-primary education programs for ethnic minorities. 4 hours a day (20 hours a week) of pre-primary education is funded from the national or the municipal budget through the “student voucher” allocation system. Parents only make a financial contribution to cover the cost of meals and learning materials, however, municipalities can reduce the fees to families based on their social situation.
Primary education: According to the Law on Education, children who have reached seven years of age must attend the first form. If parents so wish and if a child is sufficiently mature to study under the primary education program, they can start school earlier. The duration of the primary education program is four years. Compulsory primary education can be obtained in kindergarten-schools, in primary schools and, less commonly, in basic or secondary schools. Parents and children can also choose schools of non-traditional education or individual classes/groups in municipal schools. Montessori, Waldorf, Suzuki or Jesuit pedagogical systems can be selected in Lithuania. Achievements and progress of pupils in forms 1-4 are not assessed with marks. Assessment is based on the idiographic principle, i.e. The individual child’s progress made concerning their personality is assessed and a criteria-referenced assessment is applied. Children who attend schools for national minorities start learning Lithuanian (official language) from the second form.
Lower secondary education : After completion of their primary education, pupils begin the 6-year lower secondary education program. The lower secondary education program is implemented by basic, secondary, vocational education and training schools, pro-gymnasiums and gymnasiums. Education can take place outside the school: in museums, parks, etc. by adjusting the educational process accordingly. General education plans, which schools use to develop their plans, stipulate that the learning environment at school must provide opportunities for active education of pupils, their individual learning, learning in groups of various sizes and also for practical, experimental, theoretical and other activities. Meanwhile, teachers must be provided with opportunities to work innovatively using modern education technology: faster internet, intranet, interactive whiteboards, computers, modern classrooms and classroom equipment, libraries, etc. The compulsory lower secondary education program consists of two parts: part I – a 4-year program implemented in the 5th-8th forms and part II – a 2-year program implemented in the 9th-10th forms (1st-2nd forms of the gymnasium). Pupils can start learning the second foreign language in the 5th form and in the 6th form the second foreign language is compulsory. In the 9th form (1st form of the gymnasium), pupils can choose subject modules and study elective subjects according to their interests and abilities. If the school wishes, students who find it difficult to learn or vice versa, students who are high achievers, can opt to, for some of the time, study according to individual education plans. In Lithuania, education is compulsory for pupils until they reach 16 years of age. Compulsory education is usually provided up in the 10th form (2nd form of the gymnasium). After completion of the 10th form, pupils must take the basic education achievement test in the Lithuanian Language, Mathematics and an elective basic education achievement test in the Mother Tongue (Belarusian, Polish, Russian or German). After acquiring a basic education and obtaining the basic education certificate, they may continue learning under the programs for secondary education or vocational education and training or under the combined program for secondary education and vocational education and training to acquire their first qualification. Education is compulsory and free of charge for children from 7 till 16 years old.
Upper secondary education : Upper secondary education is not compulsory and usually lasts two years 11th-12th forms of the secondary school (3rd-4th forms of the gymnasium). Pupils study, according to individual education plans; the program may include the modules of the program for vocational education and training. Upper secondary education is provided in secondary schools, gymnasiums and vocational education and training in schools. Pupils can also select education that corresponds to their values, world outlook, religious beliefs and philosophical views. Such education is provided in schools of non-traditional education. Schools of non-traditional education may operate according to their programs, but the total number of subjects and the total number of hours allocated for each subject informs 1-12 can only differ from those specified in the state general education plans by not more than 25%.
Education of pupils who come from foreign countries : Pupils who have completed part of or the full primary, basic and secondary education program of a foreign country or an international organization either abroad or in Lithuania, have the right to select a state, municipal or private school (free of charge for citizens only) and to be admitted to it just like any other Lithuanian pupil according to a commonly accepted procedure. The school where a pupil, who has completed part of or a full international general education program, is admitted recognizes and accepts the pupil’s results. However, if a graduate of an international general education program, does not have a document verifying their learning achievements, the school may determine compliance of the learning achievements with those required under the general primary, basic and secondary education programs. The school prepares an integration plan for those pupils who have completed part of or a full international general education program and, if necessary, an individual education plan; the school also sets a suitable period for the pupil’s adaptation. If the pupil can achieve a satisfactory level of knowledge and skills during the adaptation period, the school prepares his learning plan and provides educational assistance. The school carries out a needs assessment for learning the Lithuanian language and organizes learning in a bridging course/group (for an academic year or a shorter period) for pupils who do not know the Lithuanian language or have only a basic knowledge of it.
Pupils with special educational needs : The majority of pupils with special educational needs are educated at general education schools together with their peers through inclusive education. General education, vocational education and training and other programs are adapted for pupils with special educational needs. These pupils may complete education programs within a shorter or a longer time than that prescribed. Pupils with very extensive or extensive special educational needs can study at designated general education schools up to 21 years of age.
Matura examinations : After completion of the secondary education program, school leavers take the mature examinations. Pupils must pass two mature examinations: a compulsory examination in the Lithuanian Language and Literature and an elective examination. In total, school leavers can select no more than five examinations and take six examinations. Generally, most school leavers select three examinations. In addition to the mandatory examination in the Lithuanian Language and Literature, the most popular are national examinations in English, History and Mathematics. Examinations are criterion-referenced assessment. Examinations are conducted in a centralized manner and are organized by the National Examination Centre of the Ministry of Education and Science.
Vocational education and training : There are 74 vocational education and training institutions in Lithuania attended by over 45,000 students. Vocational education and training institutions are being restructured as self-governing institutions to attract businesses into their management and to bring vocational education and training closer to labor market demands. The vocational education system covers initial and continuing vocational education and training. The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the vocational education system. The Ministry is also the stakeholder of the majority of vocational education establishments. The majority of these state budgetary institutions and some (20) are self-governing institutions. Municipalities, social partners and other stakeholders may participate in governing a vocational education establishment on equal terms with the main stakeholder (the Ministry of Education and Science). Vocational schools provide both training leading to a qualification and basic or secondary education. The duration of the programs 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 acquired secondary education is 1 to 2 years. Requirements for vocational education programs are set out by the General Requirements and Vocational Education and Training Standards of the Ministry of Education and Science. Vocational education programs are developed by vocational education providers in cooperation with employers. The education program consists of two parts. The first part applies to all schools in the country and defines the fields of professional activities, competencies, teaching goals and assessment provisions. The second part is optional and covers teaching methods, subject programs, teaching aids, etc. The program must include Entrepreneurship, Civil Protection, Ecology, Information Technologies and Foreign Language for Specific Purposes as subjects or modules. Of the total time allocated to vocational subjects, 60-70% should be devoted to practical training. Usually, practical training is conducted at the school or in a company. Training can also be part of a mobility program. The final assessment of qualifications is an independent one and is assessed by accredited competences assessment institutions. Having completed the vocational education program and passed examinations, students obtain a vocational qualification. Students who have completed their secondary education can continue their studies in colleges or universities. Successful graduates, as well as graduates who have work experience according to their qualifications, receive additional points when entering institutions of higher education. Using the aid from EU Structural Funds, practical training centers for relevant branches of industry (sectoral practical training centers) equipped with modern facilities are being established at institutions of vocational education and training. It is planned to open a total of 42 sectoral practical training centers. They will be used not only by students of vocational education and training institutions but also by students of universities and colleges. Well-equipped workshops will be open to everyone who wishes to enhance or acquire a profession. The sectoral practical training center – is a vocational education and training institution or a division thereof providing initial and continuing vocational education and training services to all residents of Lithuania and equipped with modern practical training facilities for one or several branches of industry.
Non – formal education : After school, pupils can select various non-formal education activities and these are provided in general education schools. Most of these activities are free of charge or paid for the pupil’s education voucher. Pupils can also attend classes at various non-formal education schools, such as sports, music, fine arts or art schools, leisure centers or children’s clubs. Classes are partially subsidized and fees are determined by the owner (founder) of the school.
Would you like to study in Lithuania? You are always welcome to come and find out how good it is to study in the country that was the first in Eastern Europe to establish a university.
Professional qualifications acquired in Lithuania are recognized abroad. Besides, our country has signed agreements on academic exchanges with 16 countries around the world. Each year over 1,000 students and teachers leave for studies or internships abroad.
Public schools of higher education use Lithuanian as a language of instruction, but other languages are also possible if a curriculum is linked to another language or if classes are held by foreign teachers, or if studies are carried out under study programs for foreigners or in case of academic exchanges.
The best graduates are offered state-funded places at schools of higher education, in other words, they are not charged for the tuition. The number of the lucky ones by fields of studies or programme is fixed by the Government on annual basis. All the rest may choose among paid studies. Each school of higher education has its own tuition fees, which can be covered with the state-sponsored loan. Applicants to Lithuania’s universities, who are emigrants and foreigners of Lithuanian origin, may be assigned up to four extra points to the total enrolment score, including two points given to all the emigrants and foreigners of Lithuanian origin, and the other two – to the graduates of Lithuanian schools abroad. Currently, there are six Lithuanian comprehensive schools operating outside Lithuania, namely: the February 16th Gymnasium in Germany, Punsk March 11 Lyceum in Poland, Moscow Jurgis Baltrušaitis Secondary School in Russia, Riga Lithuanian Secondary School in Latvia, also Rimdžiūnai and Pelesa secondary schools in Belarus. The state-funded places (50 at universities and 50 at colleges) are also available for the residents of the European Union and the Economic Area, other foreigners with permanent residence in Lithuania, as well as emigrants of Lithuanian descent. For those who cannot speak Lithuanian but wish to pursue studies in this language, a one-year equalizing course may be arranged.
Studies in Lithuania follow degree or non-degree programmes at colleges and universities. There are three cycles of studies: first, professional Bachelor’s or Bachelor’s Degree, second, Master’s degree and the third would be the doctorate. Studies may be part-time and full-time. College higher education studies are designed to prepare for professional activities. Full-time studies as a rule take three years, while part-time studies – four years. At least one quarter of study programme is taken by practical training. Graduates are awarded Professional Bachelor‘s Degree. Practical work experience and additional studies (their duration is established by each school individually) provide for the possibility of continuing studies in Master‘s Degree programme. College studies are provided by public and private colleges. University studies are designed to provide universal general education, theoretical preparation, the highest level of professional skills. University degree programmes can be integrated by linking the first and the second cycles, for example, when studying medicine. Full-time undergraduate (Bachelor’s) course lasts four years; part-time course usually lasts five years. Graduates acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. Graduates may continue studies in post-graduate programme which takes 1.5 to 2 years. Those who wish to link their lives with academic activities may continue studies in pursuit for the doctoral degree (duration – four years). University studies are provided by universities, academies and seminaries. Study programmes are offered by 24 colleges (including 11 private colleges) and 23 universities (including 9 private universities).
Students with good achievements may be provided with incentive scholarships following ther procedure prescribed by a respective school. Students meeting specific criteria established by the Government may also be provided with social scholarships.
Academic year is divided into semesters and holiday periods. The beginning and end of an academic year and a semester as well as holiday spans are established by each school of higher education individually. In summer students are entitled to at least one month uninterrupted holidays.