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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Administration and governance at central and/or regional level


2.Organisation and governance

2.6Administration and governance at central and/or regional level

Last update: 17 June 2022

Education policy at the national level is established in strategic documents and laws and in the legal acts that implement the laws. The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (Parliament; further – the Seimas) adopts the strategies and laws. The Government of the Republic of Lithuania (further – the Government), the Ministry of Education and Science and other state institutions adopt other legal acts. An institutionalized regional level and regional legislation were no longer in place when, in 2010, counties were abolished. The local level is the municipality and the school. Their role and functions are described in section 2.7. Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level.

Formation and implementation of national education policy


The Seimas forms the national education policy. It adopts laws that regulate the educational field, for example the Law on Education, the Law on Vocational Education and Training, the Law on Higher Education and Research, etc. The Seimas also adopts a national education strategy every 10 years, which is prepared by the Government. It can adopt guidelines for policy change in individual areas of education. For instance, in 2017 the Seimas adopted Guidelines for Change at General Education Schools. The Seimas considers and approves the annual state budget and funds for municipal budgets. This includes the approval of funds for education (funds for the ‘pupil’s basket’ and ‘student’s basket’, for universities, for other educational and scientific institutions, etc.). Another important function of the Seimas is that it exercises parliamentary scrutiny over the implementation of strategic documents, laws and so on. It also establishes state universities.

President of the Republic

The President of the Republic of Lithuania (further – the President of the Republic) may formulate a national education policy. Aside from other duties, the President of the Republic can present drafts of laws and legal amendments for the Seimas to consider, present policy change guidelines and veto laws that have already been approved. For example, in 2017, President Dalia Grybauskaitė presented the Seimas with a new draft version of the Law on Vocational Education and Training. She has also initiated amendments to the Law on Education, in which she introduced terms of office for school principals. Bullying and violence at educational institutions are being addressed with other initiated amendments to the Law on Education. On the initiative of the President or the Republic, the Seimas has approved Guidelines for Changing Science and Innovation Policies. In addition, the President of the Republic approves the country’s ministers including the Minister for Education and Science.


The Government, the Ministry of Education and Science and other ministries participate in the formation and implementation of the national education policy. The Government prepares the national education strategy and may submit drafts of laws to the Seimas. It also approves development programs in a specific area or in several areas, as well as legal acts that implement the laws. For example, it approved rules for the development of a network of state and municipality schools, the calculations for the ‘pupil’s basket’ and so on. The Government prepares the drafts of the state and municipality budgets which includes all public funds for education. The Government also establishes state colleges.

Ministry of Education and Science

Powers of the Ministry of Education

In Lithuania, the Ministry of Education and Science is part of the Government and part of the executive branch of power. It forms, implements and ensures national policy on education and research and higher education studies.

According to the Law on Education[i], the Ministry of Education and Science is primarily responsible for the quality of education. It submits to the Government drafts of amendments to the laws, other legal acts and financing for education.

The Ministry of Education and Science coordinates the activities of the municipalities’ education departments (local level) in implementing state education policy and it presents the general regulations of these departments to the Government for approval. It also establishes qualification requirements for managers and specialists of education departments in municipal administrations.

The Minister for Education and Science approves the criteria for pre-school education curricula, the General Curriculum Framework for Pre-Primary Education, the Description of the Procedure for Pre-Primary Education, and the general content of formal education and training (descriptions of primary, lower secondary, upper secondary education programs, general curricula and teaching plans). The Minister also approves the criteria for education programs supplementing formal education financed by state or municipal funds.

Structure of the Ministry of Education and Science

The Ministry of Education and Science is headed by the Minister, which is a political appointment. The Prime Minister recommends the candidate to the President of the Republic, and the President appoints and dismisses the Minister from office. The Minister of Education and Science is accountable to the Seimas and the President of the Republic and is directly subordinate to the Prime Minister.

The Minister for Education and Science has his/her own team, the members of which are appointed on the principle of political (personal) confidence. The team is comprised of a few Vice-Ministers, Advisor (Advisors), a Spokesman and others.

The Ministry administration is composed of departments, divisions and other structural units and is headed by the Chancellor, who is a state servant and is not a political figure. At present, the Ministry of Education and Science consists of seven departments:

  • Department of General Education, comprised of the Pre-School and Primary Education Division, the Lower and Upper Secondary Education Division and the Division of Education Support
  • Education Quality and Regional Policy Department, comprised of the Regional Policy and Analysis Division, the Division of School Activity and the Division of Regional Schools
  • Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology, which includes the Division of Higher Education Studies, the Division of Science and Technology and the Innovation Division
  • Lifelong Learning Department, comprised of the Vocational Education Division, the Non-Formal Education Division and the Teachers’ Activity Division
  • International Cooperation and European Integration Department, which includes the Division of the European Union and International Organisations and the Bilateral Cooperation Division
  • Department of European Union Assistance Coordination, comprised of the European Union Assistance Management Division and the European Union Assistance Programme Implementation Division
  • Finance Department, which includes the Division of Financing Education, the Division of Financing Research and Higher Education and the Investment Division

There are also other divisions and structural units that do not belong to the departments, including the Foreign Lithuanians Division and Bureau of Strategic Programmes, the Law Division, the Communication Division, the Internal Audit Division, the Human Resources Division, the Division of Information Systems and Document Management, the Accounting Division and the Maintenance Division.     

Educational institutions subordinated to the Ministry of Education and Science

Educational institutions that are subordinate to the Ministry of Education and Science include the following: 

  • Education Development Centre − designs and produces the national curriculum of general and continuing adult education; initiates, develops and implements educational innovations; initiates and carries out work related to quality assurance.
  • National Examination Centre − organises and conducts the evaluation of learning achievements in lower secondary education; administers Matura and other examinations; conducts national and international comparative studies of pupils’ educational achievements.
  • Centre of Information Technologies in Education − organises and coordinates the continuing professional development of teachers and other staff of educational institutions and organisations in the area of information and communication technologies (ICT). The Centre organises the development of a strategy and programme for ICT implementation in the education system. It coordinates the implementation process, collects, stores and structures information on the Lithuanian education and science system and carries out the analysis of ICT data in education. The Centre also establishes, develops and manages educational databases, registries and information systems and coordinates their usage.
  • Education Supply Centre − coordinates the preparation and implementation of national education programs and projects; publishes educational and methodological literature; arranges the provision of educational institutions with teaching aids, software, popular science, children’s, methodological literature and other sources of information; and organises continuing professional development events for the staff of educational institutions.
  • Qualification and Vocational Training Development Centre − manages the Lithuanian Qualifications Framework; improves the quality of vocational education and training; enhances the attractiveness of vocational education; and strengthens cooperation among the participants of vocational training provision.
  • National Centre for Special Needs Education and Psychology − forms a national strategy for the provision of special educational, special, psychological and social educational assistance in the country; develops a system for the provision of related assistance; and puts in place a system for supplying the country with special teaching aids.
  • National Agency for School Evaluation – this is in charge of the internal self-evaluation of the quality of schools’ performance; organises and coordinates the external evaluation of the quality of performance in schools; submits the data necessary for educational monitoring; and performs the selection, training and certification of external evaluation assessors.  
  • Lithuanian Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education − assesses upper secondary and higher education attained abroad; informs about higher education studies available in Lithuania and abroad; encourages higher education institutions to improve the quality of studies; and drafts legislation related to research and higher education.
  • Agency for International Science and Technology Development Programmes in Lithuania − is involved in implementing innovation policy and measures to promote the development of all forms of innovation, innovation networks, and business and science cooperation in Lithuania.
  • Education Exchange Support Foundation − helps institutions and individuals who implement educational ideas to take advantage of opportunities provided by international cooperation projects, offering guidance to potential applicants and providing information about various programs and activities in the area of education and vocational training.
  • Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre − organises and carries out monitoring of research and higher education systems. The Centre is involved in the design and implementation of research, higher education and innovation policies and insights into the strategic planning of the research and higher education system, and makes proposals for the development of legislation regulating higher education and research monitoring.
  • State Studies Foundation − administers state loans, grants and state-supported loans to students.
  • Other educational institutions

State educational self-governing institutions

Participation of the public at large in formulating education policy and making educational decisions is promoted by the following state educational self-governing institutions:

  1. Lithuanian Education Council − performs expert evaluation and provides consultations on the strategic issues of educational development in Lithuania.
  2. General Education Council − initiates and approves the development of projects relating to curriculum changes in pre-school, pre-primary, primary, lower and upper secondary and special education, teachers’ qualifications and their continuing professional development, as well as the provision of supplies to schools.
  3. Council of Higher Education − an expert authority under the Ministry of Education and Science on strategic issues of higher education development.
  4. Lithuanian Council of Non-Formal Adult Education − considers Lithuania’s main prospects for the development of non-formal education and performs an analysis of projects related to the development of the non-formal adult education system.

Centralization/decentralization of Lithuanian education system

The Lithuanian education system can be called decentralized or at least partially decentralized. After evaluating it in several sections, it can be seen that decision-making takes place on several levels. Below are some sections that reveal the relationship between centralization and decentralization.

Formation of education policy

The directions of education policy are set at the national level. This is described at the beginning of this section. The municipality (local level), based on the directions of national education, forms its own educational strategy lasting several years taking into account the needs of the community, the municipality and the region. The municipality also sets tasks and measures to achieve the goals set in the strategy.

Organisation and administration of education

At the national level, education is organized through laws and general procedures describing the principles and criteria for organizing education. For example, at the governmental level the rules for the development of the network of state and municipalities schools are approved. These establish the basic principles of how the municipality should manage the network of schools and set up, reorganize, or liquidate educational institutions. According to these rules, the national authorities − the Seimas, the Government or, in particular, the Ministry of Education and Science − cannot decide for the municipality how many schools should be in operation or where to set them up or close them.

Another example is the participation of schools in national pupils’ achievement testing. The Ministry of Education and Science has approved a description of how to organise and implement national pupils’ achievements testing in grades 2, 4, 6 and 8. The school itself and its founder decide whether the school will take part in the testing. The assessment of lower secondary education achievements after the completion of grade 10 and Matura examinations after 12 classes are organised at the national level and are the same for all pupils. Their organization is the same throughout the country.

One more example is the appointment of school principals. Again, the Law on Education sets out the procedure for appointing the heads of educational institutions. But the competition itself is organized by the school’s owner, and the Ministry of Education and Science has minimal participation in the organization of the competitions. In addition to the founder of the school, the school community also has a voice in this process. Its representatives participate in the selection of the headmaster. Through the school council, the community evaluates the work of the school principal. If the council evaluates the annual report of the school principal negatively several times in a row, the principal can be discharged from office.

Education curricula descriptions, subject curricula and general teaching plans are all set at the national level. The school develops its own curriculum but it can only depart from a nationally designated curriculum in certain cases. More information is provided about this in the sections on teaching and learning at a particular stage of education.

In the case of state higher education institutions, the Law on Higher Education and Research states that higher education institutions are autonomous. However, the mechanism for the management of higher education institutions is described in detail in the law. It specifies which bodies should be governing the higher education institution and how they are constituted. Higher education institutions develop their own study programs but they are accredited by a state institution. More information about the functions of municipalities and schools can be found in the section 2.7. Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level.


The basic principles of financing state educational institutions are established in the laws of specific fields − the Law on Education, the Law on Vocational Education and Training, the Law on Higher Education and Research, etc. These indicate that learning at state and municipal educational institutions is carried out in accordance with the principle of ‘money follows the pupil’. This is the ‘pupil’s basket’ in pre-school, pre-primary, general education and vocational education and training, and the ‘student’s basket’ in the higher education studies. The methodology used to calculate a so-called basket and how much money in the basket can be used is indicated in the methodologies approved by the Government. These funds are allocated to schools as a targeted grant, and the school founders or the school itself cannot use funds for other purposes. However, the methodology leaves some space for the educational institution itself to distribute these funds because usually it is indicated that for a specific aspect the institution can allocate from X to Y per cent funds.

The basket for non-formal children’s education is also distributed to municipalities through the Ministry of Education and Science. The Ministry of Education and Science has approved the methodology for the use of funds for non-formal children’s education in order to use the funds efficiently so that their size would not depend solely on local politicians. The methodology specifies the minimum and maximum amounts per child. It also suggests what the priorities for allocating funds can be. However, the municipality itself determines the exact amount of funds and sets priorities for which these funds will be allocated first. The municipality approves the procedures for handling and settling their funds.

From 1 September 2018, the salaries for general education and vocational education and training teachers are calculated on a full-time payment system[ii]. This is established by law. On the basis of this methodology, each school itself formulates what kind of teachers it needs and the workload of these teachers, taking into account the needs of their school and the community. The salaries of university lecturers are determined by the higher education institution itself.


[i] All of the powers of the Ministry of Education and Science are indicated in Article 56 of the Law on Education (Švietimo įstatymas). These are the powers that define the relationship between the ministry and the local level in terms of centralization and decentralization.

[ii] Detailed information about the full-time payment system is provided in section 14.2 National Reforms in School Education.