In Lithuania, teachers are trained in higher education institutions – universities and colleges. The prospective teachers study according to pre-school education, primary education or concrete subject study programs. Educators working with children with special needs are trained according to special pedagogy study programs. Applicants for arts educational studies usually have to pass an entrance exam where they must demonstrate their artistic skills. Sports achievements are evaluated when entering the study program for sports and physical education. When entering language teaching, there is no additional assessment of the language that the applicant wants to study.
Institutions, levels and models of training
Teacher training is described in the Regulations on Teacher Training (Pedagogų rengimo reglamentas) (further – Regulations). The new Regulations were adopted on 29 May 2018, and the teacher training system that is described in the Regulations was created in 2018.
Until September 2018, higher education (further – HE) institutions – universities and colleges – were providing initial teacher education (further – ITE). The Regulations adopted on 29 May 2018 state that Teacher Training Centres (further – Centre) and other HE institutions that have cooperation treaties with Centres provide initial teacher education. The Centre is a university that meets the requirements set by the Minister for Education and Science. It has to concentrate the state’s (regional) educational potential and cooperate with other HE institutions that provide initial teacher education study programs.
Duration of ITE study programs
There are various forms of ITE study programs.
In the case of Bachelor’s or Professional Bachelor’s[i] integrated pedagogical studies, their duration corresponds to the Bachelor’s and Professional Bachelor’s requirements. Bachelor’s pedagogical studies last for 4 years (240 ECTS), while Professional Bachelor’s pedagogical studies last for 3 years (210 ECTS).
A study module on pedagogy comprises 60 ECTS. These study credits are usually distributed through one year.
The scope of an educational subject or pedagogical specialization[ii] is no less than 60 ECTS. Up to 180 ECTS can be allocated to a few modules of educational subjects or pedagogical specializations.
No less than 30 ECTS are given to school (teaching) practice.
Requirements for a teacher’s qualification
The Specifications on Requirements for a Teacher’s Qualification (Reikalavimų mokytojų kvalifikacijai aprašas) state which program or programs a teacher must finish.
Pre-school teachers have a degree in either a pre-school education teacher’s study program or an education study program and have acquired a Teacher’s Qualification.
Pre-primary teachers have a degree in a pre-school or a pre-primary education teacher’s study program and completed a 40-hour course on work in pre-primary groups or a similar course during the studies.
Primary education teachers have a degree in either a primary education teacher’s study program or an education study program and have acquired a primary education Teacher’s Qualification. A primary education teacher teaches pupils all subjects. Other subject teachers can teach arts or languages.
Lower secondary and upper secondary education teachers have a degree in a specific course study program in the subject they are teaching. In some cases, a teacher can have a degree in one of the study programs (see table).
Requirement for which programs should be finished*
Philosophy or ethics teachers training program.
Philosophy or ethics program.
Mathematics teachers training program.
Mathematics, statistics program.
Mathematics and (or) informatics teachers training program.
Mathematics, informatics, informatics engineering, information technologies program.
Nature and human (integrated natural science course 5–6 grade)
Biology, chemistry, physics and (or) geography teachers training program.
Biology, chemistry, physics and (or) geography program.
Integrated natural sciences course 11–12 (gymnasium III–IV) grade
Biology, chemistry and (or) physics teachers training program (can teach relevant parts of courses depending on the studies completed).
Biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, ecology and environmental education, biophysics, chemistry, chemistry engineering, environmental engineering and (or) physics program (can teach relevant parts of the courses depending on the studies completed).
Biology teachers training program.
Biology, biochemistry, biophysics, ecology and environmental and (or) bioengineering program.
Chemistry teachers training program.
Chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, environmental engineering and (or) ecology and environmental education program.
Physics teachers training program.
Physics and biophysics program.
History teachers training program.
History and (or) political studies program. From 1 September 2019 only a person who finished the history training program can be a history teacher.
Basics of citizenship
History teachers training program.
History, sociology, law and (or) political studies program.
Economics and entrepreneurship
Economics teachers training program.
Any teachers training program and complete minimum 40 hours economics and entrepreneurship program and education course.
Art 5–10 (gymnasium I–II) grade
Art and (or) drawing teachers training course.
Art, design, art criticism and (or) architecture program.
Music 5–10 (gymnasium I–II) grade
Any music teachers training program.
Any music program.
Technologies 5–10 (gymnasium I–II) grade
Applied crafts, crafts, home economics and technologies and or art teachers training program.
Arts 11–12 (gymnasium III–IV) grade
Subject equivalent to any music, art, drawing, choreography, theatre teachers training program.
Subject equivalent to any music, art, design, choreography, theatre, directing, art criticism, audio-visual art, architecture program.
Technologies 11–12 (gymnasium III–IV) grade
Applied crafts, crafts, home economics and technologies and or art teachers training program.
A program that meets technology studies, audio-visual art, architecture, management and business administration, recreation and tourism, economics, or a program in the field of technology studies.
Physical education teachers training program.
Physical education, sport program.
Pupils with special educational needs (speech disorder, poor hearing, deaf, blind, partially blind, intellectual or development disorders, complex disabilities) can be taught in groups or classes by teachers with a teaching qualification in the field of special pedagogy.
Pupils with health issues, movement and posture disorders, behavioural and emotional disorders are educated by teachers of pre-school, pre-primary, primary education or subject teachers. They have to complete a minimum 40-hour course in special pedagogy according to the program approved by the Minister for Education and Science.
Models of ITE
Concurrent and so-called adjacent models are used in ITE. The Teacher’s Qualification can also be obtained after completion of the professional pedagogical studies (in a consecutive way) or in alternative ways.
A person studying in a concurrent way completes a Bachelor’s or Professional Bachelor’s teacher training study program. A study module on pedagogy is integrated into the teacher training study program. On completion of the program, a Bachelor’s or Professional Bachelor’s pedagogical degree and a Teacher’s Qualification are acquired.
A person studying in an adjacent way completes a study module on pedagogy alongside a Bachelor’s or Professional Bachelor’s non-pedagogical study program. On completion of the studies, a Bachelor’s or Professional Bachelor’s main study degree and a Teacher’s Qualification are acquired.
Those who have already acquired a tertiary education and want to become teachers can choose a consecutive model. That is, to complete the professional study program that is based on the study module on pedagogy. On completion of the professional study program on pedagogy a Teacher’s Qualification is acquired.
On 14 September 2017, the Minister of Education and Science approved the Model of Initial Teacher Training (Pedagogų rengimo modelio aprašas) (further – Model). It describes the admission criteria to initial teacher education. It is a complex selection procedure during which the following aspects are evaluated:
- Personal learning achievements (competition score[iii])
- Personal qualities and values
A Model introduces innovation – the motivation to become a teacher should be evaluated repeatedly during the study’s pedagogical practice.
Evaluation of personal learning achievements takes place when entering any study program at a higher education institution. A motivation test is an additional evaluation that is used when entering specifically pedagogical study programs that provide a Teacher’s Qualification.
Educational requirements for entrants[iv]
Applicants to be admitted to the Bachelor’s or Professional Bachelor’s teacher training studies are required to have completed at least an upper secondary education.
Admission to the Master’s degree programs requires a Bachelor’s degree or any other relevant higher education.
Admission to Doctoral studies in education requires a Master’s degree or an equivalent diploma of higher education.
Applicants for non-degree professional pedagogical studies must have completed a higher education.
Assessment of motivation
Persons who apply for state-funded study places in the first-cycle study programs within the group of the education and development field leading to teaching qualifications must take a motivation test. The order for the motivation assessment is set by the Minister for Education and Science in the Description of the Procedure for Assessing Motivation (Motyvacijos įvertinimo tvarkos aprašas).
Applicants for university and college teacher training study programs have to pass the same motivation test. The motivation assessment consists of two parts:
- a structured non-standardised written questionnaire
- a semi-structured interview
Written evaluation. All entrants are presented with three identical written questions. They are asked to explain the choice of the field for their planned professional career, discuss a situation in which they have encountered a variety of people (differences in personalities) and disclose their activities at school and/or other communities. Assessment is focused on whether the entrants provide arguments in their responses for their choice based on their own experience; highlight their personal qualities and moral values; reveal their understanding of the incomparable dignity of every person and their openness to people’s diversities; reflect on their social activities and their importance; and demonstrate an appropriate culture of linguistic expression.
Interview. During individual interviews with the members of the evaluation commission, entrants are asked five to seven questions. The questions are related to factors of choosing the field of their prospective professional careers, their teaching experience and ways of overcoming learning difficulties and also their cooperation experience and their long-term vision of professional activities. Assessment is focused on whether, in their responses, the entrants substantially relate the issues discussed to educational activities, reveal their disposition to solving problems, reflect on conditions for successful cooperation and personal responsibility and demonstrate adequate communication.
Evaluation commission. The members of the evaluation commission perform a motivation evaluation. The Association of Lithuanian Higher Education Institutions for Organising Joint Admission (LAMA BPO) appoints the members. Two commission members evaluate the written questions and interview. One of these must have a higher education degree in the field of psychology and the other must be an experienced academic at a higher education institution. These two persons must be from different higher education institutions.
Organisation of admission to the field of studies in pedagogy
LAMA BPO organises centralised admission to the first-cycle and integrated study programs. Admission is implemented according to the LAMA BPO adopted description of the procedure for the general admission to the first-cycle and integrated studies in Lithuanian higher education institutions for a specific year. Every year, LAMA BPO announces dates for the admission of the documents, the procedure for the formation of the competitive score and an admission list. It sets the procedure and dates for the evaluation of motivation to enter the ITE study programs. A person can submit a request to study and copies of documents via the LAMA BPO system.
The main admission takes place from the first half of June to the second half of July. If there are free study places left, additional admission is organised to fill in these study places. This happens in the second part of August. Concrete dates are set and announced every year.
Evaluation of motivation for studies in teacher training takes place at HE institutions in Vilnius, Kaunas and Šiauliai. Every year, LAMA BPO sets concrete dates. The motivation evaluation tends to be held from the second half of June to the first half of July. An additional admission lasts for one or several days in August.
Admission to Master’s, Doctoral and non-degree professional pedagogical studies is organized by a higher education institution. It also sets the admission requirements, usually consisting of the competitive score according to learning achievements. Candidates take a motivation test. Applicants for studying under these programs must also have completed a corresponding level of higher education. Applicants to arts pedagogical studies must have an education in the respective arts. In some study programs, priority is given to those students who have work experience in the chosen specialisation and who teach the study-related subject at school.
Curriculum, level of specialisation and learning outcomes
Preparation of study program
ITE study programs are prepared and registered in the same way as other programs.
HE institutions prepare the ITE study programs, in accordance with Specifications on the Education and Training Studies Course Group (Švietimo ir ugdymo studijų krypčių grupės aprašas), approved by the Minister for Education and Science. The Minister for Education and Science approves the prepared program after evaluating the recommendations of the Educators Qualification and Studies Programs Commission. The Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (SKVC) evaluates the approved program. If the external evaluation is positive, the SKVC accredits the program and registers it.
Competencies needed for a teacher
The Regulations on Teacher Training (Pedagogų rengimo reglamentas) (further – Regulations) state that general and special competencies are needed in order to acquire a Teacher’s Qualification. These are gained through a study process and then deepened and developed throughout the working years as an educator.
Subjects included in the study program
The Specifications on the Education and Training Studies Course Group state which subjects have to be covered in ITE programs of all forms:
- Education science theory, historical, philosophical, sociological and intercultural aspects of analysis of education and training
- Knowledge of the teaching subject or chosen educational specialty
- Personal development and personal maturity
- Motivational and teaching theories
- Group processes and their dynamics in the learning environment
- Planning and management of the learning process (planning educational content, its purpose and tasks, in accordance with learners’ experience and difficulties)
- Application of learning strategies, methods and technologies in the education environment
- Methods of assessment and self-assessment of achievements
- Diversity of learners, taking into account the context of those with special educational needs (inclusive education) and those who are talented
- Didactics and methodology of the teaching subject
- Reflective practice, professional development; cooperation inside the institution and with other professionals
- Healthy living and human safety
- Sustainable development of a person, society, organisation
- Education management, leadership, implementation of self-government at the school, community, municipality and national levels
- Educational policy, its trends and implementation at the institutional, inter-institutional, national and international levels.
The Regulations on Teacher Training (Pedagogų rengimo reglamentas) set the requirements for the academic staff of the Centre and other HE institutions:
- At least 30% of teacher educators who work in the study field that provides the Teacher’s Qualification must have experience of pedagogical or administrative work. Experience must be acquired in an educational institution or educational aid institution, which has to amount to at least two years over last 10 years.
- The theoretical subjects of pedagogy and subject/pedagogical specialization didactics should be taught by teacher educators whose scientific and artistic activities correspond to the subject they teach.
- At least half of teacher educators who work in the study field which provides the Teacher’s Qualification have to cooperate with pre-school and general education schools, VET and educational aid institutions. Cooperation must take place in the field of research in the development of a subject or pedagogical specialization didactics, educational tools, methodological materials, etc.
- Teacher educators must know at least one foreign language at the C1 level according to European language levels (CEFR).
- At least half of university lecturers have to carry out international research activities and participate in international academic mobility programs.
Additional requirements are set for practice supervisors and mentors who work in the study field that provides the Teacher’s Qualification.
A teacher educator who has a Teacher’s Qualification and has acquired at least a Master’s degree (or equivalent higher education qualification) can be a practice supervisor. He/she also must have at least 5 years’ pedagogical work experience in a corresponding educational institution.
A teacher educator can be a mentor if he/she is engaged in practical pedagogical activities and has the right to do so in accordance with the procedure established by the Minister for Education and Science.
Qualifications, evaluation and certificates
The system of higher education qualification degrees acquired in Lithuania is unified. The Minister for Education and Science sets general requirements for study implementation (bendrieji studijų vykdymo reikalavimai) for all study programs. These requirements state that a qualification degree is awarded when a student completes a study program and reaches the study results set in the study program. The competences required for future teachers are described in the sub-section Curriculum, Level of Specialisation and Learning Outcomes.
The Regulations on Teacher Training (Pedagogų rengimo reglamentas) specify that pedagogical first-cycle and integrated study programs and professional studies are concluded with the final work. In this, a student conducts research in a relevant issue of the pedagogical field. Typically, this is a written research paper that the student defends orally. The complexity and scope of the work depend on the degree of the study program. The higher education institution sets specific requirements for the work.
A Diploma is awarded according to the diploma issuing procedure (diplomų išdavimo tvarka) approved by the Minister for Education and Science. The HE institution[v] whose pedagogical study program is completed by a student issues the Diploma. A Diploma of Higher Education contains an entry on the awarded professional qualification degree and specialisation.
Graduates of college teacher training study programs are awarded a Professional Bachelor’s degree in the related study field and a teacher’s professional qualification.
Graduates of the first-cycle university teacher training study programs are awarded a Bachelor’s degree in the related study field and a teacher’s professional qualification.
Graduates of Master’s teacher training study programs are awarded a Master’s degree in the related study field.
After defending a thesis in educational science, a person is awarded a Doctoral degree.
A Diploma Supplement is issued together with a Professional Bachelor’s, Bachelor’s and Master Diploma and is an inseparable part of it. A Diploma Supplement contains information about the curriculum of the acquired higher education. This document is in line with a model jointly developed by the Council of Europe, the European Commission and UNESCO.
A Study Certificate is issued to a person who has completed professional studies and has acquired an appropriate qualification.
Alternative training pathways
A person can become a teacher in alternative ways. One of these is to participate in a program implemented in cooperation with HE institutions. In this case, the individual must already have a higher education degree. An example of such a program is Teach for All! (Lithuanian version – Renkuosi mokyti!), which is implemented in many countries.
Skills acquired through teaching or non-formal education may also be credited and recognized in accordance with the procedure established by legal acts.
[i] Universities carry out Bachelor’s studies, and colleges carry out Professional Bachelor’s studies. Both Bachelor’s and Professional Bachelor’s studies are first-cycle studies.
[ii] Pedagogical specialisation: pre-primary education, primary education, social pedagogy, special pedagogy (speech-therapy, special pedagogy, education of the deaf and hard of hearing, education of the blind and visually impaired).
[iii] The competition score is compiled annually according to the specific year’s Description of the Procedure of Making the List of Persons who finished the Upper Secondary Education Curriculum the best (further – Description). Each year, a Description is approved, the provisions of which are valid after two years for compiling the competition score. For example, in 2018 the competition score was compiled according to the Description for 2018 that was approved on 29 August 2016. The competition score is comprised of upper secondary education achievements (Matura examinations and/or annual grades), sports, Olympiads and other achievements and other criteria specified in the Description. The competition score is compiled for applicants who want to study in state-funded study places or claim for study scholarships in the first-cycle or integrated study programs.
[iv] There are no requirements for age or place of residence for applicants willing to study in higher education institutions. There is only one requirement and this is an acquired necessary level of education. Typically, pupils acquire upper secondary education when they are 18-19 years of age. Thus, those entering Bachelor’s and Professional Bachelor’s studies are 18-19 years old. The average age of applicants to Master's study programs would be 22-23 years of age, if the applicants enter these studies immediately after their Bachelor’s studies. It is hard to say the average age of applicants for doctoral studies.
[v] A higher education institution has the right to issue educational documents certifying a higher education qualification acquired by a student. For this, the HE institution must have a permit for studies and study-related activities. Diplomas issued by accredited HE institutions are recognised countrywide.