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Main providers


8.Adult education and training

8.3Main providers

Last update: 27 November 2023

In Lithuania, adult education may be formal and non-formal. According to this, the providers of formal and non-formal education are listed below.

Institutions providing formal adult education

Lithuanian adults can follow formal education programmes at several types of institutions:

  • adult general education schools (education centres), general education schools with classes for adults
  • vocational education and training (VET) schools
  • higher education institutions (HEI) − colleges and universities

These institutions (except general education schools) offer continuing professional development and retraining courses, which are also an integral part of adult education.

Adult general education schools (education centres) and general education schools with classes for adults. Formal adult education schools (education centres) belong to the group of general education schools, i.e., it may be an adult pre-gymnasium, an adult lower secondary education school, or an adult gymnasium. Adult education schools provide adult primary (ISCED 1), lower secondary (ISCED 2), parts I (grades 5-8) and II (grades 9-10) and upper secondary (ISCED 3) curricula. Equally, these curricula can also be provided in adult classes. General education schools may establish these classes. This possibility enables adults to learn closer to home when there is no adult education institution in the area.

Schools create conditions for learners to study certain compulsory and elective or additional and non-formal subjects in a modular way. Learners can also choose a distance-learning mode of study. Adult schools that have the necessary material facilities and vocational training curricula may provide vocational education and training for learners to acquire a professional qualification. The state funds adult education that is provided in the above-mentioned institutions. The Education and Science Institution Registry (AIKOS) states that there are 56 adult general education schools and general education schools with classes for adults. All of them are established by municipalities[1]. Geographically, bigger cities tend to have several adult schools. Almost all municipality[2] centres have at least one school in which adults can learn.

Vocational education and training (VET) schools. State, municipal and non-state VET institutions provide vocational education and training. VET is their main activity. According to data from AIKOS, there are 64 state VET institutions and 5 non-state VET institutions in Lithuania. Since the start of the optimisation of the state VET institutions network in 2018, regional needs and available study programmes have been analysed. There are more VET institutions in bigger cities, but it is possible to access VET in every municipality. Freelance teachers and other natural and legal persons, for whom VET is not their main activity, may also provide VET. A company which has an education centre would be an example of such a provider. There are more than 200 such providers.

VET institutions may, along with VET, provide upper secondary or even lower secondary education. There are specialised VET institutions for those with special education needs. In order to make VET more flexible and able to meet the needs of the labour market, modular VET programmes are added to traditional ones. Apprenticeship as a form of learning is introduced.

The state allocates funds to state funded seats in VET study programmes. Each year the needs of the regional labour market and priority areas are analysed. According to this, it is decided how many seats in which study programmes the state will fund. Pupils have priority to access a state funded seat if they have finished a lower secondary education in the same VET institution in the same year. The same rule applies to those who cannot pursue an acquired qualification due to a loss of health and to those who have better learning achievement results. A person entering a VET study programme for the first time is eligible for a state funded seat. If a person has a qualification acquired through an initial VET study programme, he/she is eligible for a state funded seat only in continuing VET. This also applies to persons who have acquired a higher education. 

An adult who has finished a upper secondary education may enter an HEI – a university or a college. Other than university or college studies, the HEI may provide retraining or non-tertiary study programmes. More on this in Chapter 7, “Higher education”. 

[1] Private individuals or the state may establish a general education school (for adults also). At this moment, there are no such adult education schools.

[2] Lithuania is divided into 60 administrative units – municipalities.


Institutions organising and providing non-formal adult education

Institutions of non-formal adult education, adult education centres, high schools, institutions providing continuing professional development, companies, non-governmental organisations, andragogy specialists, etc., may provide non-formal adult education. Employers can organise adult education and the learning process can be conducted at the workplace. According to AIKOS, there are 105 non-formal adult education schools. There is no data on the total number of all types of institutions providing non-formal adult education.

Universities of the Third Age (TAU) provide non-formal education for senior citizens. In this case, the word “university” does not have its usual meaning. TAU may be a programme implemented by a municipality institution or HEI. It may be founded by natural persons but not necessarily be registered as a legal entity. According to data in 2018, there were 66 TAUs in Lithuania. TAUs provide history, political science, foreign languages and information technology lessons. People can learn to dance, sing or spend leisure time at exhibitions or on trips. The activities of public organisations stimulate the integration of elderly people into society and awaken the desire to keep learning.

The Employment Services meet the issues of qualification acquisition and training for the unemployed. On 1 October 2018, the Lithuanian Labour Exchange along with its 10 territorial subdivisions became one legal entity – the Employment Services. As before, it functions under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania. This institution implements the employment support policy. Labour Services specialists prepare an individual plan together with a job seeker in which they set employment goals and measures to achieve them. If a job seeker’s qualification or competence is not in demand in the labour market and he/she wants to retrain, he/she can participate in VET and gain a profession which is in demand in the labour market. The Labour Services provide their services free of charge. The state funds retraining and the acquisition of new qualifications from its own funds and from EU structural funds.

Non-formal education is also provided by formal education institutions – VET institutions and companies that have included such activities in their regulations or have licences issued by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport to provide such training.

Other ministries, such as the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Culture have their own in-house structures of non-formal adult education where specialists can improve their professional qualifications in their respective fields.