NON-STATE ACTORS IN EDUCATION

1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Multi-level regulations 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring 

 

  1. Terminology

The Education Act of the Republic of Lithuania (1991) regulates the education sector from ECCE to secondary education. While, discussing the non-state education providers refers to a non-state school and a private tutor (the term used freelance teacher). A non-state school is defined as a school whose owner is not a state or municipality (definition #20). The act does not provide any comprehensive typology of non-state education providers. Only through other definitions, it is possible to infer that private tutor shall be perceived as a non-state actor as well. When it comes to the regulation of non-state schools, the whole Education Act applies to all education providers universally unless it is specified otherwise.

The Higher Education and Research Act (2009) does not provide a definition but rather types of higher education institutions (HEIs) and basis of activity. In this regard, non-state HEI is more flexible and can operate in three forms: as public legal entity, private legal entity, or seminary of priests acting as a religious community. Whereas state HEI can operate only as public legal entity (Article 7). The Act mentions non-state HEI when it is regulated differently than the public universities.

 

  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

State schools

In Lithuania, most schools in primary (4 years beginning at age 7) and secondary education (8 years beginning at age 11) are state and municipality owned schools. Primary and lower secondary education are compulsory while upper secondary is not. Schools are categorized into four types: primary schools (4 years, beginning at age 7), progymnasiums (8 years, age 7 to 14), basic schools (10 years, 7-16 years), and gymnasiums (4 years, age 15-18) (Education Act, Articles 9, 10, 11, 41).

General education schools are categorized into state and municipality owned schools with most of them being municipality schools (97%) (Aikos database). The MoESS uses their right to establish a state school when they see a need that municipalities do not respond to it. For example, MoESS has established a few schools in Vilnius region (where Lithuanian speakers are the minority) to satisfy the need for schooling in Lithuanian language, as local governments prioritize schools with teaching language of ethnic minority. In other cases, the MoESS has established schools with a unique profile: engineering, music conservatories, art gymnasiums, military schools, as well as schools to support children with specific educational needs. The owner of these schools is MoESS, funding comes from the state budget, management is following the Education Act, and usually, there is no defined value orientation.

When it comes to municipality schools, statistical data allows to group them based on teaching language, peculiar pedagogies, extent of educational support available/ severity of learning difficulties, etc. The schools that offer other than state language of instruction comprise 15% (135) of all municipality schools in the country with most of them (95%) offering schooling in Polish and Russian languages (Aikos database). The owner of these schools is municipality, funding allocated from the municipal budget, management is appointed by a mayor of a municipality, and value orientation is usually undefined (secular, mainstream).

Non-state managed, state schools

No information was found.

Non-state funded, state schools

No information was found.

2.2 Non-state education provision

In the school year 2020/2021, non-state education providers enrol 5% of schoolchildren in 79 schools (8% of all registered schools). Based on ownership, funding, and management, all of them are government-aided, non-state schools.

Independent, non-state schools

As all private schools receive funding from the government, non-state schools are classified as state-funded, non-state schools, and therefore, Lithuania does not have independent, non-state schools.

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

Based on the statistics that National Education Agency collects, private schools could be analyzed on the education level, location, legal status, and language of schooling. No official data is collected on value orientation, profit orientation, and other characteristics. Looking at the list of the private schools, some schools still stand out from the rest, e. g. catholic schools, schools that follow alternative pedagogies (Waldorf, Montessori, Suzuki, etc.), and international (Aikos database).

Regarding financing, the school funds are comprised of two main types of costs/expenses – 1) teaching/schooling costs and 2) school maintenance costs. All registered schools in Lithuania, irrespectively of their owner, receive funding from municipalities dedicated to cover teaching costs, which include teacher salaries, learning materials, educational support, etc. The amount of funding that the school receives depends on the classroom size, the schoolchildren characteristics (e.g., migrant children and children with severe learning difficulties have the highest coefficients). Whereas school maintenance costs are covered by the owner.

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found.

2.3 Other types of schools

Homeschooling

From 2020 September 1, schoolchildren can be taught at home according to the general curriculum of pre-school, primary, basic, and secondary education. Families that choose this type of schooling are required to sign an agreement with a school that would monitor the learning process (Education Act (amendment of 2019 December). Education in a family setting will be possible if no violations of children's rights have been identified in the family in the last two years, including substance use, violence, minimal or moderate childcare intervention measures, etc. A school that has a contract with a family will provide students with textbooks, provide consultations for children, create conditions for participation in non-formal education activities and events, and a program that develops social and emotional competencies. Twice a school year, the school will assess the student's learning achievements and progress and evaluate whether the student's socialization needs are being met (Description of the procedure for implementing family education, 2020). MoESS estimates that homeschooling may be relevant for 200 Lithuanian students (Press Release of the Ministry, 2020).

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

No information was found.

Unregistered/Unrecognised schools

No information was found.

 

  1. Governance and regulations

All education levels of non-state education provision are regulated similarly as the state sector. Early childhood education and care (hereinafter ECEC) at the national level is regulated by the MoESS, however, it is highly decentralized and remains mostly at the jurisdiction of municipal governments. Primary and secondary education is governed on a mixed model – while the MoESS regulate various aspects of education content, assessments, certificates, teacher qualifications; municipalities make decisions on the establishment of schools and their network characteristics as well as cover school maintenance costs. Whereas higher education being autonomous in many respects, is regulated exclusively at the governmental/ MoESS level. Overall, the regulation of non-state education is covered by the same units/divisions as the public education providers at the MoESS; which are structured according to the education levels.

Vision: Non-state education was first recognized in the Education Act in 1991. Throughout the years the role of the non-state sector has grown, as have objectives set by the state towards it. In the current National Education Strategy 2013-2022, non-state schools are mentioned along with the state and municipality schools. The vision is that education system is comprised of these three types of schools that are constantly improving and cooperating with each other; while their employees hold authority in the society and lead discussions on the development of the education system, the success of the Lithuanian state, and cultural and economic development (p. 22).

 

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education
 

According to the Education Act (Article 7), pre-school education takes place in the family, and at the request of parents, it is provided according to the ECEC program. ECEC institutions accept children from 1 to 5/6 years. Public ECEC institutions comprise 75% of the providers (Aikos database). However, private providers play a relevant role, especially in most populated municipalities, as it fulfils the needs that public sector cannot meet.

While pre-school education is optional, one year of pre-primary education is compulsory for all children. This program can be implemented by both ECCE institutions and primary schools. This education level is regulated by the MoESS and municipalities do not have the same role as in the case of ECCE.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: In order to legally register a private kindergarten, its founder has to select a legal form, choose a name, prepare and notarize the founding documents, and submit them to the Registry of Legal Entities (Methodological Recommendations for Non-State Preschools). The charges of registration slightly depends on the legal form of the new organization. The fees that the founder has to pay include charges for a name reservation, registration of legal form, also notarial fees. The body responsible for the registration of legal entities is a state enterprise called Centre of Registers (liet. Registrų centras).

After taking care of legal registration, all new educational institution has to register with a Registry of Educational and Science Institutions (see more on Multi-level regulations).

Licence: In order to qualify for a state/municipality support a founder must receive a hygiene permit, meet teacher qualification requirements (see more in Teaching profession) and prepare a preschool education program (and preprimary education program, if ECCE plans to implement it too). Hygiene permit is issued to organizations that meet requirements regarding school site and premises, lighting, ventilation, water supply and sewerage, maintenance of equipment and toys, class size, daily routine, childcare for children under 1, etc. (Hygiene Standard 75:2010, 2010). The permit is issued for an indefinite period of time (Rules for Issuing Hygiene Permits, 2010).  

The state fee for hygiene permit depends on the size of the premises.

Financial operation

Profit-making: No information was found.

Taxes and subsidies: Two of the most populated municipalities have financial measures to encourage the establishment of private ECEC institutions. Their policy is to transfer 100 euro per child per month to private ECEC to reduce the monthly fee and compensate families (Decision of Kaunas Municipal Council T-553 (2014); Decision of Vilnius Municipal Council No I-64 (2017)).

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: All pre-school education providers must follow Description of Criteria for Preschool Education Programs approved by the MoESS. This provides guidelines on topics to be covered in the individual ECCE programs. Municipalities acting as a founder/owner approve documents prepared by public kindergartens. The same logic should apply to an owner of private kindergartens. Whether this works in practice remains unclear, as municipality institutions do not inspect private kindergartens.

Teaching profession: A pre-school teacher at any type of preschool must have higher or post-graduate education, must have completed one of the teacher training programs for ECEC institutions or in the field of education and have the qualification of an ECEC teacher. Regarding working conditions, Hygiene Standard 75:2016 (2010) regulate the maximum number of children in a group based on their age, as well as a minimum number of employees based on group size and children age.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: Private providers determine their monthly fee (Education Act, Article 70.11).

Admission selection and processes: The procedure of admission is determined by an owner (MoESS, 2019).

Policies for vulnerable groups: In certain cases established by the MoESS and the Minister of Social Security and Labor, pre-school education may be compulsory for a child from a disadvantaged background (Education Act, Article 7; Description of the Procedure for the Establishment and Appointment of Compulsory Pre-School Education). In addition, there is a certain policy regarding ethnic minority pre-primary education: in schools with a teaching language of the ethnic minority, at least 4 hours per week shall be allocated for education in the Lithuanian language (Education Act, Article 30.2.1).

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: Upon registering to the Registry of Educational and Scientific Institutions, private ECCE has to submit some information on the children and teachers (Methodological Recommendations for Non-State Preschools, 2013).

Inspection: No information was found.

Child assessment: Each ECEC determines the process of child assessment in their own education program. Whereas, regarding the child assessment at the pre-primary level, the regulation specifies that each graduating child must receive a descriptive assessment (Procedure of Pre-primary Education Organization).

Sanctions: Activities might be interrupted due to severe issues with hygiene permits and failing to take proper measures to remove violations (Rules for Issuing Hygiene Permits, 2010).

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: A school can start activities after registering in the Register of Legal Entities in accordance with the procedure established by the Civil Code and the Register of Legal Entities. An owner of a non-state school can choose its legal form (Education Act, Article 43.2). While choosing a proper name, school founder has to follow certain rules (Rules for Establishing and Writing School Names, 2011). After registering a legal body, a school shall register to the Registry of Educational and Science Institutions (see more on Multi-level regulations).

Licence: School shall start the admission and teaching of pupils only after a certain process. First, the founder shall have a proper building/premises which would meet a number of criteria and obtain a hygiene permit (Hygiene Standard 21:2011, 2011). Then, they have to form a team of teachers, and make sure that they have teaching qualifications. And last, a school may implement general education programs if it meets a number of general (Article 25) and special criteria (Article 26) specified in the Rules for the Establishment of a Network of Schools Implementing Formal Education Programs (2011). Among them, one of the most important is that only formal education programs registered in the Register of Studies, Curricula and Qualifications may be implemented at a school. Other general criteria include an obligation for teachers and education support specialists meet teacher qualification requirements (Article 25.2), adaptation of school environment to meet the special educational needs of students (Article 25.3), ensured right to choose between the subjects of compulsory moral education: religion or ethics (25.4); capacity to provide psychological, special pedagogical, social pedagogical assistance, vocational guidance, and health care (25.5). When it comes to the size of a class, non-state school owner can determine the number of pupils in a class. (25.7)

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): Regulations regarding water sanitation and hygiene applicable to all schools implementing general education programs are set out in the Hygiene Standard 21:2011 (2011) approved by the Ministry of Health. According to the Hygiene Standard, the supply of cold and hot water in schools must meet the requirements for the safety and quality of drinking water. Cold water must be supplied to science classrooms where research work on chemicals and mixtures is carried out; construction material workshops; art cabinets. Hot and cold water must be supplied to food handling rooms; training kitchen; washbasin by the canteen; showers; toilet; health cabinet (Chapter VIII). In schools with primary and secondary education programs, changing rooms must be provided separately for women and men; showers must be separated by partitions; next to the changing rooms should be access to toilets (Article 35). When organizing physical education lessons, primary school pupils must be given the opportunity to change for boys and girls separately (Article 35.1). The changing rooms should have direct access to the shower rooms (Article 36).

Financial operation

Profit-making: No information was found.

Taxes and subsidies: No information was found.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: MoESS approved the Description of Primary, Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary Education Curricula (2015), and periodically approves each of the formal education programs. All types of schools that provide formal education are obliged to follow them according to their level of education. In addition, there is a Concept of Non-traditional education that allows schools to use alternative pedagogies. Among the approved pedagogies there is Waldorf, Suzuki talent development; Catholic education system; concept of Jesuit pedagogy, etc.

Textbooks and learning materials: Each teacher chooses textbooks and learning materials themselves. However, schools (using the funding dedicated to cover teaching costs, which is a governmental aid to all schools, private schools including) can purchase only those textbooks that have been assessed. The details on the textbook assessment criteria are specified in the Description of the Procedure for Assessing and Providing the Conformity of General Education Textbooks and Teaching Materials with Legislation (2019).

Teaching profession: According to the legal acts, a person has a right to work as a teacher in either state or non-state school once they have a teacher qualification defined in the Description of Teacher Qualification Requirements (2014) and meet the reputation criteria and certain characteristics specified in (Articles 48.8 and 51) the Education Act. Teacher salaries in private schools are determined in accordance with the procedure established by law. Regarding working conditions, a teacher has the right to work in a mutually respectful, psychologically, mentally and physically safe environment, to be protected from all forms of violence, to have a hygienic and well-equipped workplace, to receive information, expert, counselling and psychological assistance (Education Act, Article 49.4). These provisions are laid down at the Act of Education and shall apply to all teachers in all types of schools.

Corporal punishment: Education Act states that “any form of violence is prohibited in educational institutions”, including students against students; educational staff against students; students against staff, etc. In cases of violence, the headmaster must notify relevant stakeholders and provide them with access to psychological assistance (Article 23).

Other safety measures and COVID-19: No additional information was found.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: The tuition fee is determined by the owner of the school. The Education Act (1991) specifies that fees are set on a contractual basis (Article 70.1).

Admission selection and processes: According to the Education Act (Article 29.5), the procedure of admission for a non-state school shall be established by the school owner (in accordance with the requirements for admission to the relevant programs established by the Education Act).

Policies for vulnerable groups: According to the Education Act, children with special educational needs shall have access to the school closest to their home; while children with mobility disabilities or intellectual disorders or those living further than 3 km away from school shall be offered transport options to arrive at school, etc. (Articles 34, 35, 36). Other cases of social assistance provided by state or municipality are specified in the Social Assistance to Pupils Act (2006).

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School board: The school council is the highest self-governing institution of both state and non-state schools, consisting of students, teachers, parents and representatives of the local community. Education Act specifies the accountability of the council (Article 60.3), requirements for its members (Article 60.4), and the scope of decision making (Article 60.2).

Reporting requirements: All schools shall publicly share information on the formal and non-formal education programs implemented at a school, their options, admission conditions, paid services, teachers' qualifications, the most important results of the external evaluation, school community traditions and achievements (Education Act, Article 26).

School inspection: The Education Act specifies that external school evaluation shall be initiated by “the institution implementing the rights and obligations of the school owner” (Article 37.6). In the public sector this is typically a municipality, whereas in the case of non-state schools – owners themselves.

Student assessment: Education Act itself specifies the purpose of the assessment of student achievements. The actual process and forms of assessment is regulated by other decisions of MoESS. In both private and public primary schools, assessment and record of student progress shall be in a form of comments and assessment folders. Pupils shall be encouraged to reflect and self-assess their achievements. Grades/marks are not to be used in primary schools (Description of primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education curricula 2015, Article 81). In all schools of lower secondary education, grades, comments, cumulative works and assessments are used to record information on pupils' knowledge and understanding, application of knowledge and assessment of higher thinking abilities (Description of primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education curricula 2015, Article 84). Upon completion of the upper secondary education curriculum, pupils demonstrate maturity-affirming competencies in the accumulated set of works and assessments, passed maturity exams and/or prepared maturity work (Description of primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education curricula 2015, Article 87). MoESS has published possible assessment scales in general education.

Diplomas and degrees: Diplomas are issued under the procedure established by the MoESS, specified in Description of the Procedure for the Issue of Certificates and Maturity Certificates (2007). The certificates are fully recognized.

Sanctions: School activities might be interrupted due to the issues regarding hygiene permit and the teacher qualifications.

There are two types of HEIs: universities and colleges (kolegijos), which may be public, owned by the state, or private, owned by non-state actors. For a while, the number of HEIs has fluctuated due to the governmental efforts to merge public universities and at the same time private actors starting new schools. The proportion of non-state education providers in higher education is the largest among all education levels. 42% of colleges and universities are private.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: A non-state HEI may be established by legal or natural persons registered in the Republic of Lithuania, other EU Member State, or other foreign country (Higher Education and Research Act (2009) Article 34.4).

Licence: To obtain a licence, HEI must meet certain requirements. First, the Security Department has to conclude that the intended activities of the HEI do not pose a national security threat. Second, HEI submits a plan to implement programs in at least 3 fields of study (university) or 2 fields of study (college) within 12 months from the date of issuance of licence. At least half of the study programs must be implemented in Lithuania. Third, the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education determines that the material base, personnel are suitable for the implementation of the planned study programs, scientific and or artistic activities, etc. (Higher Education and Research Act (2009), Article 42). The permit is issued for an indefinite period.

Financial operation

Profit-making: No information was found.

Taxes and subsidies: No information was found.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: General curriculum requirements are specified in lower-level policy document approved by MoESS. The rules specify the overall structure/scope of first and second study cycles in credits, as well as credits for professional practices, final thesis, specialisation and elective parallel study fields (Requirements for the Conduct of General Studies (2016)).

Teaching profession: There are four positions of teaching staff in all HEIs: professor, associate professor, lector, and assistant. The minimum qualification criteria and basic functions for each of teaching position are defined in Article 65 of the Higher Education and Research Act (2009). HEIs must hold open and public competition for these positions and employ for a term of 5 years. The attestation of teaching personnel shall be organized every 5 years; HEI decides on the qualification requirements and the procedure themselves (Article 72). The salaries are determined by HEs in their own remuneration policy.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: A HEI determines the tuition fee, which must be specified in the rules of admission and study agreement (Article 83).

Admission selection and processes: The minimum admission requirements for undergraduate programs are set in Article 59 and apply to all applicants no matter the HEI. The HEIs are free to decide the relevant subjects for each study field that expect applicants to have credits, as well as principles and criteria of competitive score calculation and the entry threshold. When it comes to admissions to graduate degree programs, the HEIs are free to determine the procedure (Article 59). HEIs must specify the procedure for admission and expulsion of students in their founding documents (Article 35.2.3)

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board: The management is not regulated by law. The private HEIs are free to specify its management structures in the founding documents, whereas public HEIs must have collegial governing bodies – the council and the senate, as well as a sole governing body – the rector (the Higher Education and Research Act (2009), Article 26.4).

Reporting requirements: All HEIs must inform founders and the public on the measures for ensuring the quality of studies and scientific activities, the use of funds allocated by the state; the results of external quality assessment and accreditation, and quality assurance of internal activities. Also, HEIs are bound by law to publish annual activity reports on their website. The detailed content of it is regulated by Article 8 of the Higher Education and Research Act.

Inspection: In Lithuania, external evaluation and accreditation of higher education institutions is performed by Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education. Study programs are accredited at least once in 7 years. A HEI may not conduct studies in a non-accredited field of study. Study programs have to be registered in the Registry of Studies, Training Programs and Qualifications. Article 48 of Higher Education and Research Act specify the procedure evaluation of foreign HEIs.

Assessment: According to the Description of General Study Requirements (2016) the study program is implemented through modules (subjects); which are completed by an examination or evaluation of the student's independent work (project) by assigning it to an excellent, typical or threshold level of study achievements according to the student's study achievement assessment procedure approved by the higher education institution.

Diplomas and degrees: The Higher Education and Research Act (Article 58) states the diplomas to be issued to graduates of each degree (bachelor, master, doctoral). Also, it emphasizes the difference between graduate diplomas issued by universities and colleges, which are recognized differently. However, there is no discrimination between diplomas based on the factor of school ownership.

Sanctions: The MoESS shall revoke the licence of any HEI if at least one of the following circumstances becomes apparent: the licence was obtained by fraud; HEI has not started activities in 12 months after receiving licence; the HEI does not implement study programs for 6 months; during the re-evaluation, the activities of the higher education institution are evaluated negatively; HEI engages in activities prohibited by law; the HEI has become insolvent and/or its activities endanger the interests of students; etc. (Article 43)

3.2 Multi-level regulations

This regulation applies to Early Childhood Care and Education and Primary and secondary education.

Registration: After taking care of the legal registration, all new educational institution has to register with a Registry of Educational and Science Institutions, which passes the information on a new school/kindergarten/HEI to the relevant municipality, MoESS and ensures access to it to the public. The municipality receives the application and verifies the submitted data, if the data is accurate, the municipal administration makes a decision to register the new school and saves the data to the Registry database, which become accessible to all individuals online. Non-state state actors should be motivated to be in this registry in order to receive state/municipality aid – class basket funding, support to non-formal education, etc. (Methodological Recommendations for Non-State Preschools, 2013).

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring

Private tuition seems to be a widespread phenomenon in Lithuania. Research keeps showing that at least 2/3 of high school seniors use tutors or attend private courses to increase their chances to enter universities; and 1/3 of them hire a couple of tutors (Šaučiūnaitė and Kazlauskienė, 2012). However, the concept of private tutor is not legally defined in Lithuania.

This means the standard teacher qualification is not institutionally required from them. And their activity is based on a self-employment certificate. The same applies to private tuition enterprises. They pay the same taxes as every other professional.

The closest thing that the Education Act regulates is the so-called freelance teachers. Usually, they function as non-formal education providers. Officially there are 1100 freelance teachers who have registered themselves in the educational registry (Aikos database).

Entry/Establishment

Freelance teachers must register themselves in the Register of Educational and Scientific Institutions (liet. Švietimo ir mokslo institucijų registras) and submit a copy of the self-employment certificate. Each municipality administration has an employee, who verifies the registration data and makes a decision on registration (Vilnius municipality information, 2021).

The rights and responsibilities of freelance teachers are stated in the Education Act. They have a right to implement early childhood education, pre-school education and other non-formal education programs, modules of formal education programs, modules of programs supplementing formal education programs and meeting the needs of students' self-expression, and after obtaining a licence, formal vocational training programs.

Financial operation and quality

Freelance teachers work with self-employment certificates or establish a private firm. They pay taxes based on the form of their employment as every other professional. There is no information on profit regulation.

According to the Education Act, freelance teacher has a right to work according to their own individual programmes, choose the methods and forms of pedagogical activity, and provide educational assistance. Defined responsibilities include ensuring the safety of students; having an environment for education that meets hygiene requirements; carrying out the educational process agreed with the student; conveying the educational content in an understandable and clear manner, and in Lithuanian language, when it is established by legal acts (Article 50).

Teaching profession

A freelance teacher is not allowed to tutor those students whom they teach in school according to the syllabus of the same subject (Education Act, Article 50). Further, Šaučiūnaitė and Kazlauskienė in their article (2012) conclude that freelance teachers are not subject to additional requirements regarding their professional qualifications, ethics, etc., which are required of a regular teacher. There is no legal act that explicitly obliges freelance teachers to have a teaching qualification. The MoESS representative from the related division explains that it is a derivative requirement.

 

This profile was drafted by the Network of Education Policy Centers (NEPC).

 

 

Last modified:

Tue, 07/12/2021 - 14:30