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Agreement on National Education Policy (2021-2030)

Agreement on National Education Policy
(2021-2030)

Political parties represented in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the parties), together with the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania, and the National Education Council,

  • aware of the fact that education is a key priority of the Lithuanian state as a foundation for country’s progress and public good;
  • stressing the importance of creating equal opportunities and equity of access to education for all;
  • aiming to ensure that education outcomes depend as little as possible on individual negative social, economic or cultural predicament;
  • recognising that the education of every individual in Lithuania requires state investment and long-term commitments;
  • appreciating the contribution and importance of self-government at all levels in the education system and supporting the self-government of schools and teachers, which would take care of profession-relevant provisions;
  • enabling education to produce stronger democratic society and culture, and to promote national, civic and political awareness and mutual trust, and ensuring that Lithuania’s development and international recognition of education build on knowledge from world-class research and development (R&D), culture and art;
  • seeing the speed, scale and trends of global change, recognising the systemic importance of the educational, scientific and cultural community for the formation of a free, critical and creative personality to meet future challenges and recognizing that education fulfils its purpose when its development exceeds the general development of society;
  • considering the enormous change in the field of information technology and communication and realising the importance and benefits of the digital transformation of education and the application of the latest information technologies in the field of education;
  • aiming to reach agreement between political parties[1] on practical actions, which would ensure the continuity of long-term decisions in the field of education, the consistency and coherence in the development of education, and the sustainable growth in the funding of the education system,

agree on the following key commitments:

1. To take an integrated action and provide for pre-school education for all children. To ensure the coherence of pre-school, preprimary and primary education programmes, and to enable teachers to apply diverse education methods in education process. To guarantee safe education environment for all children, preventing bullying and violence, ensuring that all educators and other staff acquire and regularly improve socio-emotional and other competencies that allow recognising and responding to different education needs of children.

2. To develop, by 2024, a single quality standard for general education accessible to all children, both rural and urban, including foreign Lithuanians and children from ethnic communities and minorities, in response to the challenges of the 21st century, ensuring essential everyday skills (linguistic, natural science, information technology, financial, cultural and civic literacy), and competencies for complex real-world-problems, and fostering values ​​needed to operate in a fast-paced, ever-changing world.

3. To ensure that all publicly funded public, municipal and private education providers participate in the education quality management system:

  • schools and their owners or an institution exercising the rights and duties of the owner make their progress reports publicly available;
  • regular external evaluation of activities and education quality in education establishments.

4. By the end of 2023, to pilot and roll out inclusive education measures in at least five municipalities of different type and their schools, and to consistently expand the network of schools practising inclusive education. To develop the system of education assistance across education establishments so that the number of children per one education assistance specialist does not exceed the requirement.

5. To systematically integrate cultural content, art forms and creativity-promoting methods in formal and non-formal education so as to provide for holistic education opportunities and address the most pressing education issues, including through the help of cultural and artistic creators, cultural and artistic institutions, non-governmental organisations and experienced teachers. In the training of teachers and the implementation of professional development programmes, to develop teachers’ skills to use creativity-geared techniques in the teaching process.

To seek quality implementation of cultural education and the cultural passport and their roll-out across all the education levels.

6. To carry out, by 2027, an integrated universal ICT literacy programme for all those who learn and study. To incorporate the development of essential ICT literacy competencies in pre-school education programmes.

7. To provide, by 2024, for career education, vocational guidance and counselling for all students through training of career professionals, a sustainable funding model, and the involvement of social stakeholders.

8. To organise at least half of vocational training programmes in a practical form (apprenticeships, on-the-job training, practical training, etc.), thereby raising the quality and attractiveness of vocational training.

9. To expand, by 2027, the non-formal education basket so as to include post-3 children, focusing on children from socially vulnerable families, or those with individual education needs. To introduce an achievement evaluation model allowing children in general education schools to build a basket from non-formally acquired competencies.

10. With a view to making teaching an attractive profession, to create clear career opportunities and provide for attractive working conditions:

  • from 2027 on, to link teachers’ qualification categories with teachers’ performance outcomes and higher education qualification and science (art) degrees;
  • to provide for dignified conditions to leave the teaching profession for pre-retirement-age teachers and education assistance specialists by providing for a possibility of keeping social guarantees;
  • to ensure teacher’s competence and discretion in deciding, evaluating and selecting techniques and scope of teaching/learning through reduced petty bureaucratic oversight but increased long-term responsibility for the outcomes;
  • by 2024, to facilitate as best as possible retraining of representatives of other professions to work as teachers, vocational teachers or education assistance specialists;
  • to finance opportunities from public funds for already working teachers to acquire additional teaching qualifications;
  • to reimburse professional development-related expenses and those that directly relate to professional activities;
  • to continuously build leadership skills in school leaders through targeted support measures, leadership skill programmes for school leaders, a mentoring system, and better career planning opportunities.

11. From 2024, to introduce equal minimum requirements in higher education admissions, regardless of the funding of studies. For the purpose of widening the social dimension in higher education and introducing alternative admissions in higher education, to provide, by 2024, for increased access to higher education and equal opportunities for all those who meet the minimum level of skills to acquire higher education.

12. To revise the funding model for studies so that it better responds to the needs of society and market, is more embracive in terms of social dimension in higher education and is focused on quality training. By 2024, to chart and implement a financial scheme for quality in studies.

13. On R&D and artistic activity funding, by 2024, to introduce basic funding for R&D and artistic activity, along with the public competitive funding of science and funding of the results of research (art), which would consist of the requisite current funds from the state budget.

14. By 2024, to work out and launch a national programme in the field of science of education.

15. To strengthen, by 2024, career development of researchers, in line with the principles of the European Research Area and the European Higher Education Area.

16. To develop and implement a scheme of earmarked financial support for lifelong learning (e.g., checks, basket (grants), individual accounts, etc.), enabling wide public access to support for education/learning and using it at personal discretion to acquire professional and general competencies. To develop learning opportunities for seniors (third century universities).

17. By 2024, to work out a system for the recognition of competencies gained through informal and non-formal learning and ensure its accessibility to all those who wish to continue learning in the formal education programme.

18. While maintaining education providers’ autonomy, to provide municipalities with higher independence and responsibility for reasonable use of education funds, efficiency of the network and education outcomes. To facilitate functional cooperation between municipalities in the field of education.

The commitments agreed in this document will require an increased funding for education, as set out below. The parties to this agreement recognise this and undertake to support relevant decisions required to ensure sustainable and equitable financing:

  1. With the steady annual growth of public funding from 2022, at the end of 2030, the amount of state and municipal budgets per pupil in general education and vocational training reaches at least 24% of GDP per capita (in 2017 - 17.8% (complete secondary education).
  2. With the steady annual growth of public funding from 2022, at the end of 2030, allocation per student reaches at least 36% of GDP per capita (2017 value - 25%).
  3. With the steady annual growth of public funding from 2022, at the end of 2030, the state budget allocations for R&D activities in higher education and the general government sector reaches at least 1% of GDP, by the end of 2024 - at least 0.75% of GDP (2018 value - 0.3%).

SUCCESS INDICATORS:

  • By 2027, at least 70% of children from 2 to 5 years from rural areas participate in the preschool education programme (46.3% in 2019-2020).
  • Number of schools compliant with the principles of education and universal design––internal and external: current value - 1, interim value in 2024 - 60, in 2030 - 300.
  • In 2030, all schools are equipped with physical and virtual laboratories for STEAM teaching.
  • In 2027, 35% of secondary school graduates acquire a vocational training and training qualification (current value - 26%).
  • By the end of 2024, teacher’s average wage is 130% of the country’s average, while projecting sustainable wage growth post 2024.
  • By the end of 2024, the average wage of lecturers, research staff and other researchers is 130% of the country’s average, while projecting sustainable wage growth post 2024.
  • In 2030, at least 35% of 8th grade students from disadvantaged social, economic, and cultural backgrounds study in higher education (current value - 25%).
  • The share of those employed by qualification level in the first year after graduation is 60% of total admissions (in 2019, one year after graduation, only 42% of the first cycle university graduates, 65% of the second cycle university graduates and 30% of college graduates worked in high skilled jobs).

This agreement will be effective until 2030 and it will be enacted through required legislation and other decisions adopted by relevant public authorities, taking no account of election cycles, campaigns, outcomes and changes in political power, but involving social partners.

Over the duration of this agreement, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, together with the delegates of the parties signatories to this agreement, will annually assess progress of this agreement before the adoption of a national budget.

For the agreeing parties:

Chair of the Liberals Movement of the Republic of Lithuania  Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen

Chair of the Freedom Party Aušrinė Armonaitė

Chair of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Vilija Blinkevičiūtė

Chair of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union Ramūnas Karbauskis

Deputy Chair of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė

Chair of the Labour Party Viktoras Uspaskich

[1] If a year is not specified in the agreement, it is presumed that the implementation is expected by the end of 2030. A specific year will be indicated only if the implementation of the action is expected before 2030.

Last updated: 03-01-2022