Types of institutions
The main vocational education providers in Lithuania are called VET institutions. They are all of the same type. Vocational education can be provided by a freelance teacher or other vocational education provider (general education school, institution, organisation, company, whose main activity is not vocational training). A vocational education provider must have a licence issued by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, there are 70 state VET institutions in the 2017/2018 school year. There are 42 sectorial practical training centres operating in the VET institutions.
On December 2017 the Law on Vocational Education and Training (VET) (new edition) was adopted. Thereafter, the VET institutions network is being prepared for the reform. The whole new law, − and part of the establishment of the new VET institutions network, comes into force from 1 January 2019. The reorganisation of the network of VET institutions is based on a comprehensive analysis of vocational education and training. It was a full evaluation of all the 10 regions of Lithuania − demographic trends, economic needs, etc. Together, all VET institutions operating in these regions were assessed − vocational education and training programmes, their compliance with the needs of the economy, learners, pedagogical staff, accessibility, etc. The network reorganisation is based on the review of vocational education and training programmes and the identification of the optimal assets and equipment needed to provide high-quality vocational education and training.
Steps planned for the reorganisation in 2018-2020:
- In 2018, 42 budget VET institutions will be reorganised into public institutions. By 2020, all VET institutions will have to be public institutions. Business representatives will be invited to participate in the management of VET institutions, to develop the content of vocational education and training and participate in the implementation of VET.
- In the first quarter of 2018, the structure of VET programme is reviewed in the regions − whether it meets the needs, specialisation and prospects of the economy in that region. Programmes are under review throughout the whole reorganisation period, because by the end of 2020, at least 50 per cent of the overlapping VET programmes in the same residential area must be abolished.
- By April 30 of every year, decisions regarding the reorganisation of VET institutions and their internal structure are taken (by Government resolutions). In that case restructured institutions may begin their activities on 1 September of that year. By the end of 2020 there should be 64 VET institutions remaining.
- In the process of reorganisation, merger, and liquidation process institutions will make an inventory of their assets. It is proposed to transfer unnecessary assets to the Turto bankas.
Admission requirements and choice of school
Persons who have acquired an upper secondary education or those who have completed the upper secondary education programme or an adapted upper secondary education programme are admitted to follow the vocational education and training program of one year, a year and a half or two years.
Since 2017, admission to VET institutions is carried out centrally via the Internet. Those who wish to apply must register and apply through the system of Lithuanian Association of Higher Education for General Admission (LAMA BPO) on webpage http://www.lamabpo.lt/. There is a more than one possibility to participate in the competition to enter VET since there is main admission and additional admissions during one year.
The number of state-funded and non-state-funded VET places is established by the order of the Minister of Education, Science and Sport.
Main admission. There are no entrance examinations for those wishing to enrol in a VET programme. However, the VET institution has the right to organise an evaluation of entrants’ specific abilities using its own tests. If there are more entrants than state-funded places, priority is given to those:
- who seek an initial qualification and
- have higher achievements in general education subjects.
If there are fewer than 12 entrants joining the programme or if he/she was not offered their first choice of VET programme, the admission system offers entrants their second choice. The system may also offer another VET institution that implements the entrant's preferred programme.
Additional admission. When the main admission is completed, there is an additional admission for any remaining places. Those who have not participated in the main admission can participate in the additional admission. In addition, those who participated in the main admission but were not offered a place in the VET institution can also participate in the additional admission procedure. It is important that an entrant who participates in a repeat admission procedure must not have signed a VET learning agreement.
Age levels and grouping of pupils/students
Age of learners
The legal acts do not define the age from which a person can study according to the post-secondary non-tertiary education programme. However, it has been indicated that those who wish to acquire post-secondary professional qualifications must either have already completed the upper secondary education programme or have acquired upper secondary education. It is possible to calculate that the learner should be at least 17 years old (if the learner began primary education at 6 years of age).
There should be at least 25 pupils in the first-year groups of initial VET.
If it is not possible to form a learner’s group of 25 or there is no economic need, smaller groups can be formed, or two smaller groups can be merged to form one joint group. The institution holding founder status has to agree on this.
If there are learners in the group with inherited or acquired disabilities and who has high or very high special educational needs, the size of the group can be reduced. In that case each learner with special educational needs is counted as two learners. There can be no more than 3 learners with high or very high special educational needs in one group.
In the continuous VET group, the number of learners is established before the VET institution starts providing VET. The actual number of learners cannot exceed this number.
Vocational teachers teach the teaching subjects. Separate topics in the teaching subject might be taught by a different vocational teacher. A practice tutor is assigned for practicals.
Group division for curriculum
When a group contains more than 20 learners, it can be divided into two sub-groups during classes of practical training or during classes where theoretical teaching and practical training are closely related.
Organisation of the school year
The length of the school year and educational process
The school year for first-year learners of initial VET in VET institutions begins on 1 September. The start and the duration of the continuous VET are set by the VET provider.
The teaching year of initial VET lasts forty weeks. National Holidays are included in these 40 weeks. However, the VET provider has to ensure that defined competencies and learning achievements must be achieved.
VET programmes have autumn, Christmas, winter and spring (Easter) holidays. The VET provider can change the actual days of the holidays that are set in the general plans but the total duration of the holidays cannot be changed. The VET provider can cancel autumn, winter and spring (Easter) holidays for the groups of learners older than 18 years. The VET provider set the start of the summer holidays. The head of the VET institution must coordinate all holidays’ changes with the board of the VET institution.
Division of the educational process
The school year is divided into half-years. The VET provider set the dates.
VET can be organised in the form of apprenticeships or academic programmes.
Organisation of the school day and week
The usual unit of theoretical and practical training activity is 45 minutes (one academic hour). If a practical training activity is carried out at the workplace, one session can take 60 minutes. When the internship is carried out at the workplace, one unit lasts for 60 min.
Students who are 18 years old may receive 40 astronomical hours (60 minutes) per week for practice or workplace training (in a real company etc.). Or students may receive 40 academic hours (45 minutes) if practice or training at the workplace is implemented at a sectorial practical training centre or at a VET provider's practical training base.
In the case of practical training or actual practical work placement, breaks are determined in accordance with the company’s, institution’s, organization’s rules of procedure or other internal documents.