Skip to main content
European Commission logo


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: 12 March 2024

Education policy at the national level is defined in strategic documents and laws and in the legislation that implements those laws. The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (the Parliament; hereafter – the Seimas), adopts the strategies and laws. The Government of the Republic of Lithuania (hereafter – the Government), the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and other state institutions adopt other legislation. The institutionalized regional level and regional legislation are no longer in place, because the counties were abolished in 2010. 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 is responsible for forming 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, and so on. 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 The Seimas considers and approves the annual state budget and the funds for municipal budgets. This includes the approval of funds for education (funds for the ‘pupil’s basket’ and ‘student’s basket’, for universities, and for other educational and scientific institutions). Another important function of the Seimas is to exercise 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 (hereafter – the President) may formulate a National Education Policy. Aside from other duties, the President 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. In addition, the President approves the country’s ministers including the Minister for Education, Science and Sport.


The Government, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport 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 programmes in a specific area or in several areas, as well as legislation that implements 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, and also establishes state colleges.

Ministry of Education, Science and Sport

The powers of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport

In Lithuania, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport 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], tthe Ministry of Education, Science and Sport is primarily responsible for the quality of education. It submits to the Government drafts of amendments to the laws, other legislation, and financing for education.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport 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 the qualification requirements for managers and specialists of education departments in municipal administrations.

The Minister for Education, Science and Sport 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 programmes, general curricula and teaching plans). The minister also approves the criteria for education programmes that supplement formal education financed by state or municipal funds.

The structure of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport

The Minister of Education, Science and Sport is a political appointment. The Prime Minister recommends the candidate to the President, who appoints and can dismiss the minister from office. The Minister of Education, Science and Sport is accountable to the Seimas and the President and is directly subordinate to the Prime Minister.

The Minister for Education, Science and Sport has their own team, the members of which are appointed on the principle of political (personal) trust. The team is comprised of a few Vice-Ministers, Advisor(s), a Spokesperson and others.

The administration of the ministry is composed of departments, divisions and other structural units and is headed by the Chancellor, who is also a servant in a position of political (personal) trust. At present, the ministry consists of seven departments:

  • Department of Education, comprised of the Education Programmes Division, Teachers Division and the Division of Education Support.
  • Education Network Policy Department, comprised of the Division of School Activity and the Division of Lithuanians Abroad.
  • 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 and the Non-Formal Education Division. 
  • International Investment Coordination Department, which includes the Division of International Investment Implementation and the Division of the International Investment Planning.
  • Department of Administration, comprised of the Procurement Division, the IT Systems and People Service Division and the Asset Management Division.
  • Finance Department, which includes the Division Education and Sport Finance, the Division of Research and Higher Education Finance and the Investment Division.

There are also other divisions and structural units that do not belong to the above departments, including: the Sport Group and International Cooperation Group, the Law Division, the Communication Division, the Strategic Planning Division, The Organisation Development Division, the Human Resources Division, the Financial Accounting Division and the Institutions activity Division.     

Educational institutions subordinated to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport

In 2019, the institutions under the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport were reorganised to optimise the network of institutions subordinated to the ministry, to reduce their management costs and to rationalise the use of material and financial resources. The Educational Development Centre, the Centre for Special Needs Education and Psychology, the Education Supply Centre, the National Examination Centre, the Centre for Information Technologies in Education and the National Agency for School Evaluation were merged into a single National Education Agency. It is responsible for monitoring the implementation of educational content and the organisation of educational assistance, developing and implementing strategies for educational innovation and inclusive education, organising the examinations for learning achievements, the external evaluation of school performance, the selection of the heads of educational institutions, etc. Educational institutions that are subordinate to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport include the following: 

  • 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.
  • Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education − assesses upper secondary and higher education attained abroad; informs on higher education studies available in Lithuania and abroad; encourages higher education institutions to improve the quality of their studies; and drafts legislation related to research and higher education.
  • 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 programmes and activities in the area of education and vocational training.
  • State Studies Foundation − administers state loans, grants and state-supported loans to students.
  • Other educational institutions

Self-governing state educational institutions

The participation of the public at large in formulating education policy and making educational decisions is promoted through the following institutions:

  1. Lithuanian Education Council − established by and accountable to the Seimas, which performs expert evaluation and provides consultation on the strategic issues of educational development in Lithuania.
  2. General Education Council − established by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, that initiates and deliberates the development perspectives of projects relating to curriculum changes in pre-school, pre-primary, primary, lower and upper secondary and special education, teacher qualification development aims and provides insights into supplies to schools. 
  3. Lithuanian Council of Non-Formal Adult Education − established by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, which 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 the Lithuanian education system

TThe Lithuanian education system can be described as decentralized or at least partially so. After evaluating it in several sections, it is noticeable that decision-making takes place on several levels. Below are some sections that reveal the relationship between centralized and decentralized activities.

Formation of education policy

The direction of the education policy is set at the national level. This was described at the beginning of this section. Based on the direction of national education, the municipality (local level), forms its own educational strategy covering several years and 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 its strategy.

Organisation and administration of education

At the national level, education is organized through legislation and general procedures that describe the principles and criteria. For example, at the governmental level the rules for the development of the network of state and municipality 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. Based on these rules, the national level authorities − the Seimas, the Government or, in particular, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport − cannot decide for the municipality how many schools should be in operation, where to set them up or indeed, close them.

Another example is the participation of schools in the national pupils’ achievement testing. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport has approved a description of how to organise and implement the national pupils’ achievement testing for grades 4 and 8. The school itself and its founder can decide whether the school will take part in the testing. The assessment of lower secondary education achievements after the completion of grade 10 and the 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 recruitment and selection itself is organized by the school’s owner, and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport has minimal participation in the organization of this process. The school community also has a voice. Its representatives participate in the selection of a head teacher. 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, they can be discharged from office.

Education curricula descriptions, subject curricula and general teaching plans are all set at the national level. The school can develop its own curriculum but 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 the various stages 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 these institutions is described in detail in the law. It specifies which bodies should be governing the higher education institution and how they should be constituted. Higher education institutions develop their own study programmes but they are accredited by a state institution. More information about the functions of municipalities and schools can be found in section 2.7. Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level.


TThe basic principles of financing state educational institutions are established in the laws covering specific fields − the Law on Education, the Law on Vocational Education and Training, the Law on Higher Education and Research, and so on. 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 described as 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. The method used to calculate a so-called basket and how much money is in the basket can be used to indicate 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, this approach leaves some room for the educational institution itself to distribute these funds. Usually, it is indicated that for any specific aspect the institution can allocate the funds within a range from X to Y per cent.

The basket for non-formal children’s education is also distributed to municipalities through the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The ministry approves the methodology for the use of funds for non-formal children’s education in order to use the funds efficiently so that the amounts would not solely depend on local politicians. The approach specifies the minimum and maximum amounts per child. It also suggests what the priorities for allocating funds might 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.

Since 1 September 2018, legislation has determined the salaries for general education, vocational education and training teachers be calculated on a full-time payment system. On the basis of this, 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 its community. The salaries of university lecturers are determined by the higher education institution itself.

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