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The National Sports Development Strategy (2011-2020) dedicates main attention to the social mission of sport and to the attempt of creating conditions to include all social groups into physical education and sports activity. This strategy covers the majority of activities (sports clubs, sports medicine centers, sports bases, sports management, sports science, media and other areas) and aims to promote healthy lifestyle to the broader society including young persons. The 2011-2020 National Sports Development Strategy has many facets, including: providing recommendations for physical activity levels for the general population; making policy suggestions to improve the infrastructure and urban planning considerations in order to improve opportunities for exercise; and implementing a clearly formulated national campaign for PE and public awareness of physical activity. Many stakeholders are involved in this campaign: the Department of Physical Education and Sports, Lithuanian national radio and television companies, as well as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local municipal organizations. This multifaceted approach is useful in promoting behaviour change in the population, providing information about physical activity and, crucially, ensuring that projects to promote physical activity are implemented. Youth sports and health policy measures are included in the Interinstitutional Action Plan for the implementation of the State Sports Development Strategy for 2011-2020.
In 2010 the Parliament of Lithuania has adopted the National Sport Development Strategy for 2011-2020, which serves as a national policy strategy on physical activity, specifically addressing Sports for All promotion. This is supplemented by the Interinstitutional Action Plan for the Implementation of the 2011-2020 National Sports Development Strategy, and together, these plans aim to create conditions for greater inclusion of youth in sports and physical activity in Lithuania. Three main themes make up the strategy: increasing general public awareness of the benefits of physical activity; promoting healthy lifestyles through physical activity, physical education (PE) and sports; and creating the right conditions for citizens to engage in sports and exercise. More specifically, this includes initiatives to encourage young people to participate in voluntary sports activities; recommendations that establish and implement minimum standards for local sports and health infrastructure; and environmental restructuring to encourage children, adolescents and elderly people to participate in healthy lifestyles and sports. The 2011-2020 National Sports Development Strategy also serves as a national recommendation on physical activity (supplemented by the Interinstitutional Action Plan for the implementation of the State Sports Development Strategy for 2011-2020 for its development). The aim is to promote physical activity among the Lithuanian population, in line with WHO’s Global recommendations on physical activity for health (2010), with adults exercising for at least 0.5 hour every day, children exercising for 1 hour every day, and at least 500 000 people participating in national sports development programmes; however, no specific national survey exists for monitoring and surveillance of physical activity in children and youth.
The state and municipalities allocate investments for the development of physical education and sport infrastructure (stadiums, parks, cycling paths etc.). These investments are allocated in accordance with the procedure laid down by municipal budgets approved by the municipal councils. Investment projects in the field of physical education and sport can be also drawn up in collaboration by the ministries, the Department of Physical Education and Sports, municipalities in compliance with the Programme of the Government, documents of strategic planning and strategic plans of municipalities.
Examples of good practice:
Physical Education and Sports Support Fund
Sports for All activities in Lithuania are mostly financed by the Physical Education and Sports Support Fund. All government organizations and NGOs in the field of sports and physical activity may apply to receive funding to finance their activities.
Lithuanian Physical Education Badge programme
Every year at the beginning and the end of the school year, all schoolchildren can test their physical fitness and their sports-related knowledge by taking physical fitness and theoretical tests (on healthy lifestyle, personal hygiene and sports history). Participants are awarded badges, certificates or elite diplomas according to the test results and performance improvement, signed by the Minister of Education and Science and the Director General of the Department of Physical Education and Sports.
Sunday is a sport’s day
“Sunday is a sport’s day” is a regular physical activity promotion event organized by the non-profit-making organization “Healthy City” (Sveikas miestas) in the centre of Vilnius. Every Sunday, various sports are presented, and citizens have the opportunity to participate. This physical activity promotion event is sometimes “copied” by other municipalities and various organizations.
National programme to teach children to swim
The main purpose of the long-standing national programme is to teach schoolchildren to swim and to behave safely in and near water. The programme is based on the principle of cooperation, involving school administrations (municipal general education institutions), sports NGOs and higher education institutions. Teachers are invited to integrate topics related to safe conduct in and near water into lessons and extracurricular activities.
According to the Law on Physical Education and Sport physical education and sport exercise is mandatory in the programmes of formal education (with the exception of higher education institutions). Physical education lessons are mandatory not less than three hours per week and organized in compliance with the general programmes of schools of general education of Lithuania, education standards and general requirements for health safety. In higher education according to the Law on Physical Education and Sport there must not be less than two hours per week of physical education and sport exercise in the first two years of studies.
Physical activity for children of pre-school and pre-primary education programmes is be mandatory during the whole period of education by designating not less than one hour per day. In other educational establishments which carry out programmes of non-formal education physical education exercise might be carried out in accordance with the approved teaching plans and (or) curricula. Qualification requirements for teachers to work in the educational establishments referred are laid down by the Law on Education, and for teachers in institutions of higher education – by the Law on Higher Education.
The Department of Physical Education and Sports 1) takes part in shaping the policy of the Republic of Lithuania in the field of physical education and sport, as well as pursue it; 2) draws up a long-term physical education and sports strategy and a development programme, strategic action plans of the institution, control their implementation; 3) approves a list of strategic sports; 4) disposes of state budgetary appropriations, funds of the Republic of Lithuania Foundation for the Support of Physical Education and Sport as well as other funds received in a legal manner, exercises control over the use thereof; 5) coordinates activities of the entities from the system of physical education and sport in the field of physical education and sport; 6) cooperates with the Lithuanian communities abroad in the field of physical education and sport; 7) sets the qualification requirements for heads of physical education and sports institutions, coaches and specialists, their performance evaluation, granting of categories, the procedure for issuing certificates for physical education and sports activities; 8) promotes the development of the physical education and sport information system and sports science; 9) accumulates and analyses statistical information about physical education and sport.
The Ministry of National Defence and the institutions from the national defence system within their competence, organizes and ensures physical fitness of solders, creates opportunities for solders to practice sport and participate in sports competitions. The Ministry of Social Security and Labour develops physical education and sport of the disabled as a means of their integration into society, support the initiatives and programmes of physical activity of the family and community. The Ministry of Transport and Communications regulates the issues concerning the organization and management of qualifications of sportsmen and specialists of aviation sports, flight safety, control of the technical status of aircrafts, flying, motorboat, automobile and motor cycling sports. The Ministry of Health develops the principles of healthy lifestyle, draw up and coordinate programmes for enhancing physical activity, draws up drafts of legal acts related to enhancement of physical activity, participate in solution of the issues regarding the use of doping in sports, lay down the requirements for health check-ups of sportsmen. The Ministry of Education and Science within its competence, formand implementthe physical education and sports policy in the establishments carrying out the programmes of formal and non-formal education. The Ministry of the Interior takes care of physical fitness of the officers of the internal service system, creates opportunities for these persons to practice sport and participate in sports competitions. Other Ministries and state institutions within their competence, participates in the formation of a physical education and sports policy, implement it and create conditions for the development of physical education and sport.
The municipal councils form a physical education and sports policy in the municipality. Municipal councils set up and liquidate physical education and sports institutions, may, in accordance with the procedure laid down by themselves, fund the activities of sport education centres, sport clubs and other non-governmental sports organizations which function within the municipal territory but do not carry out public administration functions. Municipal councils may set out the criteria and procedure for awarding grants which would be paid from municipal budgets to sportsmen, as well as the criteria and procedure for awarding bonus payments which would be paid from municipal budgets to members of the municipal teams. Municipalities implement a strategy of the development of sports facilities in the municipality, ensure their accessibility to the residents, in accordance with the procedure laid down by the municipal councils, fund participation of teams in national and international competitions, carry out educational activities, shape a positive attitude of the people residing in their territory towards the importance of physical education and sport to health, approve sports teams of city and (or) district municipalities.
Non-governmental physical education and sports organizations, registered in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts, develop Olympic, Paralympic, deaflympics and special Olympics, Sport for All movements in Lithuania, various sports, groups of sports or sport for all. Physical education and sports organizations have the right to unite into associations in accordance with the procedure and for the purposes laid down by laws.
Physical education and sport clubs are the main sports institutions. Sport clubs may be established for sport amateurs and for professional sportsmen. Amateur sport clubs are public legal entities whose purpose is to satisfy public interests in the field of physical education and sport, to unite sport amateurs and sportsmen for physical activity, healthy lifestyle, development of physical education and sport, to aim at qualitative and quantitative results of physical education and sport. A unit of an educational and scientific establishment uniting sportsmen of one or several sport branches, sport amateurs, sports promoters may also be regarded as a amateur sport club. Professional sport clubs are private legal whose purpose are to develop professional sports as an economic activity, to aim at quantitative and qualitative sport results.
A national sport (sport branch) federation must be recognized by the Department of Physical Education and Sports. The federations 1) organize official national championships; 2) form sports teams of Lithuania and represent Lithuania in international competitions; 3) ensure preparation of Lithuanian teams and their participation in competitions; 4) upon the receipt of permission of the Department of Physical Education and Sports, organize international sports events, international, complex sports competitions in Lithuania.