The Lithuanian Education System


The Lithuanian Education System - A short introduction

The Lithuanian Education System


A short introduction


The Lithuanian education system is implemented at 7 levels, which are comparable to the ISCED classification system. Education institutions can be state or non-state (municipal, private or other). According to the Lithuanian Constitution, education is compulsory until the age of 16 (ISCED levels 1 and 2).

LEVEL 1 (ISCED 1): primary education (compulsory education)
Primary education is provided by “primary school”, “kindergarten school” or other schools (same curricula). It is a four-year curriculum. According to the School Education Act, children start attending the first grade of primary education in the calendar year when they turn seven years of age. Upon their parents’ request, primary education may begin before the time specified above if the child has achieved the maturity required for this kind of education at that time. The purpose of primary education is to provide an individual with the basics of moral, cultural and social maturity as well as elementary literacy and numeracy. During primary education children are not given grades. At least two or three times per year the teacher discusses the learning progress with the pupils and their parents.

LEVEL 2 (ISCED 2): basic education (compulsory education)
The purpose of basic education is to provide an individual with moral, socio-cultural and civic maturity, general literacy and numeracy as well as with basic knowledge of technology, to foster the intent to continue learning, etc.
Basic education is a six-year curriculum (grade 5 to 10) provided by various types of schools. Basic schools, secondary schools and gymnasiums that provide basic education have the same curricula. The basic education curriculum consists of two education cycles, i.e. cycle I for grades 5–8 and cycle II for grades 9–10. Basic, secondary schools and gymnasiums provide grades 5–8 and grades 9–10. 12–16 year old adolescents that do not manage to studying at basic, secondary school or gymnasiums due to a lack in motivation or who have no other choice because of their social background can attend “youth school” (special needs school). Youth schools provide basic education and pre-vocational training in grades 6–10.

Vocational training
Grades 9–10 can alternatively be completed at vocational schools (lower secondary education). At ISCED-level 2 vocational schools offer the curricula for basic vocational training stage I. If students choose 3 years of training at this stage they attain basic education and a qualification. If they choose 2 years of training they achieve vocational qualification.
However, vocational training is not only provided as grade 9 and 10 of the basic education system but can alternatively be completed on ISCED level 3 or 4. Students can choose to complete their vocational training at vocational school, stage 1 (grade 9, 10, ISCED 2), at vocational school, stage 2 (ISCED 3), at vocational school, stage 3 (ISCED 3), or at vocational school, stage 4 (ISCED 4). The four stages run alternatively and differ as to their prerequisites (see graphic).

LEVEL 3 (ISCED 3): upper secondary education
Secondary education is offered to 16/17 year old students that have completed basic education. Secondary education is finished after completing a 2 year curriculum at secondary school and gymnasium grade – 11 and 12, vocational or other schools. The graduates have to pass four matura examinations (school leaving exam): the Lithuanian language is a compulsory subject, while the other three are chosen. The purpose of the secondary education curriculum is to acquire general academic, socio-cultural and technological know­ledge, moral, national and civic maturity and the basics of vocational competence and/or qualification (in the case of vocational school). Subjects offered as part of the secondary education are humanities, natural sciences, technology and the arts. The secondary education curriculum consists of compulsory and  chosen subjects.
At vocational schools pupils can choose the curriculum of stage II of the basic vocational training or the curriculum of stage III. In the first case they are offered a two-year training resulting in vocational qualification. The three-year curriculum of stage III results in secondary education and vocational qualification.

LEVEL 4 (ISCED 4): post-secondary education at vocational schools
Post-secondary level vocational training is intended for secondary school graduates interested in a vocational qualification. Students enrol at age 18/19 and graduate by age 20/21. The duration of the education depends on the complexity of the profession and can be 1 – 2 years.
LEVEL 5 (ISCED 5): post-secondary studies at high schools
The purpose of post-secondary studies is to assist a person in attaining a post-secondary education level and in acquiring a particular qualification. By the Law on Education, the enrolment of students for post-secondary studies at high school stopped in 2003. Since the year 2000, there was an institutional reform implemented. Within the reform, the quality of high schools was evaluated. High schools, which were sufficiently qualified to provide curricula of higher non-university education, were reorganised into colleges. High schools, which were evaluated negatively or did not apply for evaluation, were reorganised into another types of institutions (for example, vocational schools).

LEVEL 6 (ISCED 5): post-secondary higher education at colleges and universities
Higher education can be attained by either completing university studies at universities or by com­pleting non-university studies at colleges. Universities can also be called academies, seminaries and higher education institutions.
Non-university studies at colleges: Colleges organise studies for young people (19 year old) and for adults who are willing to acquire higher practical non-university education. The students achieve vocational qualification after 3 – 4 years (part-time or full-time). Colleges offer economics, administration, art, technologies, languages, and other studies which are also provided at universities. However, college studies are based on applied research, and universities on scientific research.
Undergraduate university studies consist of 3,5 up to 4,5 years. Graduates are awarded a Bachelor’s degree and (or) a professional qualification.
Master studies are open to those that have completed a Bachelor’s degree. The duration of Master studies is 1,5 – 2 years. Graduates of Master studies are awarded a Master’s degree.
Specialized professional studies are intended to help individuals prepare for a job that requires special practical skills. They are designed for individuals who have completed undergraduate studies at universities. The duration is 1 – 1,5 years. Graduates of specialized professional studies obtain a professional qualification.
The volume of studies is measured in credits. One credit corresponds to 40 relative hours of student work (in classes, laboratories, etc.) or to one working week.

LEVEL 7 (ISCED 6): postgraduate studies
Doctoral studies and post-graduate art-studies are organized by university-type institutions and research institutes. The purpose of doctoral studies is to train scientific researchers. At the end of the studies, students have to present and defend a doctoral thesis, and they are awarded a doctoral degree (PhD). The duration of studies is 3 - 4 years. Post-graduate art studies are designed to train art teachers for higher education institutions and facilitate the specialization of artists. Students work for 2 years on an art project. After the art project is presented and defended, the qualification degree of Art Licentiate is awarded.

Adult education
Adults may choose to study at adult schools or adult education centres, vocational schools, colleges, universities, labour market training centres in accordance with formal and non-formal education programmes, or attend courses organized by private companies or public organizations as well as study at distance education centres.

Administration of education
The Ministry of Education and Science formulates and executes the national policy in the areas of education, science and studies, drafts strategic education plans, annual programmes, submits proposals and resolutions to the Government, organises matura examinations, approves the general content of teaching, training and studies under the framework of formal education programmes as well as teaching, training and study plans), national standards for attained education levels (except for higher education), standards for vocational training, guidelines for study areas in higher education, accreditation criteria applicable to curricula and the order of accreditation, etc.

The County Governor’s Administration implements the national education policy in the county, approves strategic education plans for the county, supervises the activity of subordinate education providers, forms the network of special schools and, together with municipal institutions, ensures the teaching of learners with special needs in accordance with programmes of compulsory and general education, etc.

Municipalities execute the national education policy in the municipality, approve strategic education plans for the municipality as well as the general plan for restructuring of the school network, form the network of pre-schools, pre-primary schools, primary, basic and secondary schools, ensure the environment necessary to provide compulsory education to children, initiate the formation of the network of vocational training and adult education providers in line with the needs of the population, independently form the network of non-formal education providers, etc.
The school founder ensures the execution of the national education policy, as well as the execution within the school of relevant laws and other legislation providing for school activities, etc. Usually municipalities play the role of the founder of schools of general education (primary, basic, secondary, youth schools and gymnasiums); however, non-governmental, confessional organisations as well as private individuals may also be the founders of such schools. The founder of State-funded vocational schools and schools of general education that accept children from all over the country is the Ministry of Education and Science. The founder of State-funded colleges is the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. The founder of State universities is the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.

Several facts about Lithuania

Location: the Republic of Lithuania is a European country on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. Lithuania borders the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Poland.
Area: 65 300 square kilometres.
Capital: Vilnius.
Language: Lithuanian, belongs to the group of Indo-European languages.
Population: 3 440 000; 83.5% are Lithuanians; 6.7% Poles, 6.3% Russians,1.2% Belarussians, 2.3% others.
Administration: The territory of Lithuania is divided into 10 counties. The counties consist of territories of nine cities and 51 regional municipalities.