6.1 General context
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Main trends in young people's participation in education and training
Organisation of the education and training system
Main trends in young people's participation in education and training
As stated in the Education and Training Monitor 2020 Lithuania, Lithuania’s tertiary attainment rate (30-34) was the second highest in the EU (57.8% v 40.3%) and recent tertiary graduates had a high employment rate (87.6% v 85%) in 2019. The results of the first pilot of the Eurograduate survey show that only 50% of tertiary qualified people are employed in a job that matches their degree and field of qualification 5 years after graduation. Moreover, the share of those not working in the field they graduated from increases 5 years after graduation (from 7% to 17%), signaling that there is a misalignment between labour market needs and skills supply, also due to a lack of business-science interactions. The announcement that lower average marks in school exams will be required for entry to universities and technical institutes will increase participation – compensating for the shortfall in student enrolments – and funds for universities which are dependent on it. However, it may further reduce the quality of new entrants, make Lithuanian universities less attractive to foreign students and negatively impact on the balance between the teaching and research missions. Funding for the latter tends to significantly fluctuate depending on the cycles of EU funds. This provides strong incentives for universities to focus on maximising student numbers rather than increasing the scope and impact of research activities, (Martinaitis et al., 2020).
As stated in the Education and Training Monitor 2020 Lithuania, spending on education is represents a relatively high share of total general government expenditure. General government expenditure on education as a proportion of GDP in 2018 was at the EU average (4.6%), and above it as a proportion of total general government expenditure (13.4%; EU-27 9.9%). Teachers’ salaries represent 69% of education expenditure, but this share is expected to increase as the government has been introducing salary increases across all education levels to foster the attractiveness of the profession. Steps have been taken to foster digital competences from early ages. More effective introduction of ICT into teaching practices is possible if teachers are provided with more professional learning opportunities. The COVID-19 outbreak can have long-term consequences for existing inequalities in student outcomes and participation rates. Some progress has been made on reorganising the school network, but a better allocation of resources is held back by a lack of a shared understanding of the aims of the reorganisation. Quality and labour market relevance of vocational education are poor, lowering participation and employment rates.
Organisation of the education and training system
The education system of Lithuania comprises the following:
1) formal education (primary, basic, secondary education, formal vocational education and training and higher education studies);
2) non-formal education (pre-school, pre-primary, other non-formal education of children (as well as the teaching supplementing the formal education) and of adults);
3) informal education;
4) educational assistance (vocational guidance, informational, psychological, socio-pedagogical, special pedagogical and special assistance of education, healthcare at school, consultation, in-service training of teachers and other assistance).
Vocational education and training can be completed in vocational schools by young people from the age of 14. The training comprises the imparting of both theoretical and practical knowledge. Four types of vocational training programmes can be distinguished. Type 1 For young people from the age of 14 who have not gained a basic education leaving certificate which forms the basis of vocational education and training. This framework also affords the opportunity of gaining the lower secondary school leaving certificate. Type 2 3-year vocational education and training for those who have gained the basic education leaving certificate. They acquire a VET qualification (skilled worker status). Type 3 For those who have passed the upper secondary school leaving certificate, 1 to 2 years of vocational training. Type 4 For those who have passed the upper secondary school leaving certificate, 3 to 4 year course of training comprising higher education and occupational qualification. Some modules correspond to bachelor level, and credit for these may be transferred to a later course of higher education study. Vocational education and training, however, is not very popular with young Lithuanians.
Lithuania has academic (universities) and non-academic institutions of higher education (colleges). Students gain entry via selection procedures which mostly involve consideration being accorded to marks obtained in the upper secondary school leaving certificate. Higher education is based on the European credit system. The duration of the course of study leading to the acquisition of a Bachelor degree (basic higher education study) is 3.5 to 4 years. Integrated studies, such as medicine studies or law studies which are concluded with a Master degree take up 5 years or longer. Bachelor studies can be followed by a one or two year vocational qualification diploma, or a Masters degree which in turn can be followed by a 4-year doctoral studies.
As stated in the Law on Education, Education is an activity intended to provide an individual with a basis for a worthy independent life and to assist the individual in the continuous cultivation of abilities. Every person has an inherent right to learn. Education is a means of shaping the future of an individual, the society and the State, based on the acknowledgement of the indisputable value of the individual, his right of free choice and moral responsibility, as well as on democratic relationships and the country's cultural traditions. Education protects and creates national identity, guarantees continuity of the values that make a person's life meaningful, grant social life coherence and solidarity, and promote development and security of the State. Education serves its purpose best when its advancement leads the overall development of society. Education is a priority area of societal development that receives State support.
As stated in the Law on education, the education system of Lithuania comprises the following: 1) formal education (primary, basic, secondary education, formal vocational education and training and higher education studies); 2) non-formal education (pre-school, pre-primary, other non-formal education of children (as well as the teaching supplementing the formal education) and of adults); 3) informal education; 4) educational assistance (vocational guidance, informational, psychological, socio-pedagogical, special pedagogical and special assistance of education, healthcare at school, consultation, in-service training of teachers and other assistance). The Law on Education provides detailed explanations of the following concepts:
- Accreditation – the procedure in the course whereof an authorized institution recognises that an evaluated education programme, education provider meets the set requirements.
- General education – primary education, basic education, secondary education.
- Formal education – education implemented according to education programmes approved and registered in accordance with a procedure laid down by legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, the completion of which results in the attainment of primary, basic, secondary or higher education and/or a qualification, or in the recognition of a competence necessary to carry out work or fulfil a function regulated by the law.
- Education level – personal development, competence, qualification of a particular level recognised in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania.
- Competence – capability to perform a certain activity on the basis of the entirety of acquired knowledge, abilities, skills and values.
- Qualification – the totality, recognised in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, of person’s possessed competences or professional experience and possessed competences necessary for a certain activity.
- Freelance teacher – a natural person engaged in activity of an education provider on an individual basis.
- Lithuanian Qualifications Framework – a system of levels of qualifications set in the Republic of Lithuania and based on the competences necessary for person’s activities.
- Lithuanian studies – teaching of the Lithuanian language, history, culture of the State of Lithuania and introduction into the present of Lithuania as well as creation of conditions for self-expression in the Lithuanian language in a foreign state.
- School – a legal person, a branch of a legal person or any other organisation of a Member State, established in the Republic of Lithuania according to the procedure laid down by legal acts, whose main activity is formal and/or non-formal education.
- School community – the teachers, learners, learners’ parents (guardians, curators) and other persons in a single school, connected by teaching relationships existing at that school and by common educational goals.
- School maintenance funds – funds indirectly associated with the education process for the school's physical plant management and operation, learners’ transportation and funds allocated to cover other maintenance costs.
- Teaching funds – funds directly necessary in respect of the education process, i.e. funds allocated for salaries in accordance with the Teaching Plan, in-service training of teachers and other persons involved in the training process, textbooks and other teaching aids as well as the organisation and administration of the training process, the school library, psychological, special-pedagogical, special and social-pedagogical assistance, vocational counselling, health improvement activities carried out by schools and other teaching needs.
- Form of learning – mode of the organisation of learning offered by an education provider and chosen by a learner.
- Learner – a person who engages in learning.
- Teacher – a person who educates learners according to formal or non-formal education programmes.
- Non-formal education – education according to a variety of programmes geared to satisfy education needs, provide in-service training and acquire an additional competence, with the exception of formal education programmes.
- Non-state school – a school the owner or one of stakeholders of which is not the State or a municipality.
- Pedagogue – a person who has acquired the higher education (the post-secondary education acquired before 2009 or the specialized-secondary education acquired before 1995) as well as the qualification of a pedagogue.
- Qualification of a pedagogue – the totality, recognised in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, of person’s possessed competences or professional experience and possessed competences necessary for training learners.
- Compulsory education – compulsory State-guaranteed education until the age of 16 of citizens of the Republic of Lithuania residing in the Republic of Lithuania and aliens having the right of permanent or temporary residence in the Republic of Lithuania according to primary and basic education curricula.
- Informal education – independent learning based on information a person obtains from various sources and his practical experience.
- Municipal school – a school the owner or one of stakeholders of which is a municipality (where the State does not participate in the capacity of stakeholder).
- Special educational needs – need for assistance and services in the course of the training process, arising from person’s exceptional capabilities, congenital or acquired disorders, adverse environmental factors.
- Education – training and the provision of education; informal education; also the totality of activities of learners, their parents (guardians, curators), educational institutions, teachers and other education providers, educational assistance specialists.
- Educational institution – a school or an educational assistance establishment.
- Educational assistance – assistance provided by specialists to learners, their parents (guardians, curators), teachers and education providers, the aim of which is to increase effectiveness of education.
- Educational assistance establishment - an establishment the main activity of which is the provision of educational assistance.
- Education programme – description of pre-defined formal or non-formal education endeavours aimed at the achievement of a set result.
- Education programme module– a pre-defined and independent part of an education programme.
- Education monitoring – continuous analysis, assessment and forecasting of the state of and changes in education.
- Education provider – a school, a freelance teacher or any other education provider (establishment, enterprise, organisation as well as a legal person or any other organisation of a Member State, or their branches established in the Republic of Lithuania whose main activity is other than education) that is entitled to provide educational services in accordance with the procedure laid down by laws of the Republic of Lithuania.
- Training – the cultivation of moral, intellectual, physical capacity through communication and teaching.
- Member State shall mean any Member State of the European Union or another country of the European Economic Area.
- State school – a school the owner or one of stakeholders of which is the State.
- Universally available education – education guaranteed by the State to all citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and aliens having the right of permanent or temporary residence in the Republic of Lithuania.
For more information on national education system see Eurydice portal.