The education system in Lithuania covers: preschool, general secondary, vocational, college, higher and adult education. These types of education are offered at: preschool education establishments, schools of general education, institutions and enterprises of vocational education, colleges, higher education institutions and institutions of complementary and non-formal education. According to the Constitution adopted in 1992, education is compulsory until the age of 16. Education at state and municipality general education schools, vocational schools and junior colleges is free of charge.
Pre-primary education lasts one year. It is provided to 6-year-old children (in exceptional cases – 5-year-old children) and is free of charge, and universally available, but not compulsory. Pre-primary education groups are set up in kindergartens or schools.
General education lasts for 12 years and is acquired in three stages: primary - 4 years (1-4 classes); lower secondary - 6 years (5-10 classes); and secondary - 2 years (11-12 classes). Gymnasiums admit all applicants who have completed eight classes in a general education school. Gymnasiums have a four-year curriculum. General secondary education can also be acquired at youth and vocational schools of appropriate level. Youth schools provide lower secondary education to 12- to 16- year-old pupils who have trouble in adapting to society, learning problems or those who have interrupted their studies. Adults can acquire general secondary education at adult general education schools and in special classes at general education schools. The school year starts on September 1st. In certain districts, where national minorities dominate, the general secondary studies can be organized in the local language but basics of the state language are still mandatory. For more detailed information on the school system, please consult the Ministry's website at: http://www.smm.lt
There two types of higher education institutions: universities (university, academy or seminary) representing university sector of higher education and colleges representing non-university higher education sector.
Universities offer university level degree granting studies and award Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral degrees. Colleges offer college level degree granting studies and award Professional Bachelor’s degrees. Both universities and colleges can also offer non-degree granting studies.
In Lithuania, the following degrees can be awarded:
- 1st cycle: Professional Bachelor or Bachelor;
- 2nd cycle: Master;
- 3rd cycle: Doctor of Sciences or Doctor of Arts.
Applicants to 1st cycle of studies are required to have secondary education or an equivalent qualification. Professional Bachelor degree is awarded after completion of college level study programs which are more oriented towards preparation for professional activity and applied research. Professional Bachelor’s degree programs require completion of 180-210 credits. After completion of the studies Professional Bachelor’s Diploma is awarded.
Bachelor degree study programs are oriented to expand one’s general education and provide knowledge in certain field of science or art and offer the background necessary for further study or professional activity. The programs require completion of 210-240 credits. Compared to college studies, university curriculum is more academically oriented. After completion of the studies Bachelor’s Diploma is awarded.
Applicants to 2nd cycle of studies are required to have a Bachelor’s or Professional Bachelor’s degree. Master degree study programs are designed to prepare for independent research activity or any other activity the performance of which requires scientific knowledge and analytical competence. The programs require completion of 90-120 credits. After completion of the studies Master’s diploma is awarded.
The Master’s degree may also be awarded after completion of integrated long-cycle university studies, which combine the 1st and 2nd cycle of university studies. Traditionally, these studies are offered in several fields of medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, law, and religious studies. Workload of the programs is 300-360 credits.
Applicants to Doctor of Science degree or Doctor of Arts degree studies are required to have a Master’s degree or a comparable qualification. The purpose of doctoral studies of science is to prepare scientists who would be able to independently conduct research and experimental (social, cultural) development work, and to solve scientific problems. The purpose of doctoral studies of art is to prepare artists researchers who would be able to create, interpret and develop research based on art practice. Duration of doctoral studies is usually of 4-6 years. After completion of the studies Doctoral Diploma is awarded.
Non-degree granting study programs can be provided by colleges and universities and do not lead to a degree. The aim of programs is to prepare students for independent professional practice or to upgrade professional qualification. To this type of programs belong residency programs in medicine, odontology, veterinary medicine and programs in pedagogical studies. Duration of residency studies is from 2 to 6 years. Certificate of Residency is awarded after completion of residency studies.
The workload of non-degree pedagogical studies is from 30 to 120 credits. Certificate of studies is issued after completion of other non-degree granting studies.
The quality of higher education institutions and programs is assessed externally by the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education. There are two types of accreditation in Lithuania: institutional and program accreditation. More information on the accreditation is available at: http://www.skvc.lt/en/content.asp?id=1 .
Main Lithuanian universities:
Vilnius University www.vu.lt
Vilnius Gediminas Technical University www.vgtu.lt
Mykolas Romeris University www.mruni.eu/lt
Vytautas Magnus University www.vdu.lt
Kaunas University of Technology www.ktu.lt
Lithuanian University of Health Sciences www.lsmuni.lt
Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences www.leu.lt
Klaipėda University www.ku.lt
Vilnius Academy of Arts www.vda.lt
Information was prepared on the basis of websites www.smm.lt (Ministry of education and science) and www.skvc.lt (Centre for quality assessment in higher education)