In Lithuania, free and compulsory schooling for ten years applies to children between the ages of 6 and 16. However, most pupils attend school for a total of twelve years. The country has Lithuanian, Russian, Polish and Belarusian language elementary schools. There are also bilingual and multilingual schools as well as private schools.
The level of education in the Baltic countries was higher during the Soviet period (1944–1991) than in the Soviet Union as a whole. The former Soviet education system, which was authoritarian and ideologically colored, has been reformed since independence. Nowadays, however, a debate is being held that the quality of education must be further increased in order for the country’s education to be competitive at EU level.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Lithuania, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
The Polish minority has long demanded increased linguistic rights for minority schools. The Polish-speaking group has strongly criticized, among other things, a new version of the school law from 2011. It meant that the teaching of Lithuanian language was increased in minority schools and that it became compulsory for all schools to carry out the same final test in Lithuanian. The new school law led to a political conflict (see further Modern History).
Lithuania has about 20 universities and about the same number of universities. Most important is Vilnius University, founded in 1579, and Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. In Vilnius there is also the Belarusian exile university European Humanity University, which was moved to Lithuania in 2005 since the year before had been shut down by the regime in Belarus.
In the mid-2010s, just over half of all Lithuanian 25- to 34-year-olds underwent some form of higher education, which was a significantly higher proportion than the EU average of just over a third. Only two EU countries had a higher proportion: Cyprus and Luxembourg.
- Topmbadirectory: Offers information about politics, geography, and known people in Lithuania.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
98.3 percent (2016)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
99.8 percent (2011)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
12.3 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
12.3 percent (2015)
Norwegian air defense will protect Lithuania
The government signs a contract with the Norwegian arms manufacturer Kongsberg to buy an air defense system for € 110 million. Defense Minister Karoblis says the new air defense will give Lithuania sufficiently strong protection to withstand a full-scale Russian attack long enough for NATO to come to the rescue.
Social Democrats oppose party leadership
The Social Democratic party group in Parliament votes to remain in government cooperation, despite the party leadership deciding to leave the government. The group said in a press release that the decision to cancel government cooperation was premature and based on emotions. Party leader Gintautas Paluckas says those who oppose the party leadership may be excluded.
The government is cracking down
The government loses its majority in Parliament when the Social Democratic Party breaks off cooperation with the dominant Lithuanian peasants and green alliance (LVŽS) after less than a year. The Social Democrats say that cooperation has been grating all the time and that LVŽS has set the tone for almost all issues. However, the Social Democratic Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius says he is leaving his party in order to remain in the government. LVŽS has 57 of Parliament’s 141 seats. The minority government’s chances of survival are expected to be put to the test for the first time when Parliament will vote on the state budget for 2018, which is expected to take place in early December.
Suspected Internet fraudsters are being handed over to the United States
A Vilnius court decides that a Lithuanian man accused of swindling US data giants such as Facebook and Google of more than $ 100 million should be extradited to the United States. According to the indictment, he has been guilty of data fraud, money laundering and identity theft. The man’s lawyer claims that the charges are so vaguely worded that they would not hold in a Lithuanian court.
Ten years for Russian spy
A man designated as an employee of the Russian security service is sentenced to ten years in prison for spying. According to the court, he must have traveled to Lithuania repeatedly using false ID documents. The 40-year-old man is accused of trying to bug President Grybauskaité’s residence and office.
A Russian citizen is sentenced to 10.5 years in prison and a Lithuanian to 5 years for espionage on behalf of Russia. (28/2)
Russia is suspected of fake news
In an e-mail to the Lithuanian parliament’s president, it is alleged that German-speaking men raped a 15-year-old girl living near a barracks for German NATO soldiers. The task quickly turns out to be false and prosecutors initiate a criminal investigation. The e-mail should have come from a country outside the EU and NATO spokesmen are pointing the suspicions at Russia. “We can expect more from this,” says Czech General Petr Pavel, head of NATO’s military committee. He is based on data from NATO’s intelligence operations.
NATO battalion arrives
Thousands of soldiers who are part of a German-led NATO battalion are stationed in Lithuania. Later in the year, a US-led force is sent to Poland, a British to Estonia and a Canadian to Latvia. They will help to strengthen the defense alliance’s protection of northeastern Europe as a result of Russia’s activities in Ukraine.
The fence against Russia
Lithuania will build a 13-mile-long and two-meter-high fence along the border with Russian Kaliningrad, the government announces. The fence will be ready by the end of the year and intends, among other things, to prevent “provocations”, similar to the one when an Estonian intelligence officer was introduced to Russian soil during the weapons threat 2014. Lithuanian authorities also hope to put a stop to cigarette smuggling from Kaliningrad.