Lithuania

Rita Dukynaitė
Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania

Overview of Education System

In Lithuania, parliament defines the basic principles, structures, and objectives of education, while the Ministry of Education and Science devises and implements educational policy through various subordinate institutions. The Ministry of Education and Science defines the curriculum and determines teacher salaries, requirements for teacher qualification, priorities for developing teacher education, the assignment of educational staff, and requirements for heads of schools.

Primary and basic schools follow a national curriculum, which schools and teachers are expected to adapt to their particular needs. Local municipalities are responsible for administering and financing most general education and vocational schools, with the exception of national-level schools. The administration of nonformal education is decentralized under the jurisdiction of local municipalities and includes extracurricular activities, optional curriculum hours, and the establishment of nonformal schools and their curricula (e.g., music, sports, and art). The municipalities also are responsible for the assessment of schools, administrators, teachers, professional development, and student achievement.

The levels of education in Lithuania are divided according to ISCED 2011 (International Standard Classification of Education). Preprimary education in Lithuania is optional for children ages 1 to 6. Education is compulsory for students ages 7 to 16. Upper secondary school comprises Grades 11 and 12. Gymnasia form a parallel system of education lasting four years and corresponding to Grades 9 to 12. Currently, public schools are being reorganized into three types: primary schools (Grades 1 to 4), pre-gymnasia (Grades 1 to 8, or Grades 5 to 8), and gymnasia (Grades 9 to 12).

The mathematics and science curricula in Lithuania do not differ according to school type or educational track.

Languages of Instruction

In Lithuania, the official national language is Lithuanian. In most schools, the language of instruction is Lithuanian, but there are a considerable number of schools in which the language of instruction is the mother tongue of the majority of the school’s student population—usually Russian or Polish. In a small number of schools, the language of instruction is German, English, French, Belarusian, or Ukrainian. All schools with a language of instruction other than Lithuanian teach Lithuanian as a second language and the official national language. In primary and basic schools, which include the fourth and eighth grades, respectively, mathematics and science are taught in the school’s language of instruction.