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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of private education


2.Organisation and governance

2.4Organisation of private education

Last update: 5 April 2024

These types of schools exist in Lithuania: public (where the founder is the state), municipal (where the founder is the municipality) and non-state. The founder and partner of a non-state school is neither the state nor the municipality. Non-state schools can be considered private.

Funding for non-state schools

Pre-school, pre-primary and general education schools

Education funds. Due to the specific funding of Lithuanian education, it is complicated to distinguish which pre-school, pre-primary and primary education schools are partially funded and which are not funded at all. The Law on Education states that these non-state schools, as well as public and municipal schools, are funded according to the ‘pupil’s basket’ and ‘class’ basket’ funding principles from the corresponding year’s state or municipal budget. Hence, non-state schools can receive state funding too.

Household funds. When a non-state school has insufficient funds for education, housekeeping and other parts of the educational environment, it gathers additional funds from parents and/or sponsors. The exception is non-state traditional religious community schools that receive state funding for their housekeeping[i]. Still, even these schools charge an additional fee. Fee amounts are set by each non-state school.

Vocational and training institutions

Vocational education and training, which is reimbursed by state funds or European Union structural funds, not taking into account the allocations’ administrator, is charged an even set fee. The owners of non-state vocational education and training institutions can set their own fees for vocational education and training. The owners of non-state vocational education and training institutions allocate funds for their housekeeping.

Higher education institutions

Non-state higher education institutions’ funds comprise of a students’ fee for studies, state funds, school founder’s funds and sponsors’ support. The state allocates non-state science and study institutions with funds for scientific research, experimental expansion and the development of artistic work.

A traditional religious community or association is able to establish a non-state higher education institution. If it follows the international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania, such non-state higher education institution’s funds can comprise of state funds, founder’s funds and other legally acquired funds. The amount of state funds equals that allocated to state higher education institutions of the same type.

The Constitution states that citizens who are good at their studies will be guaranteed education at state institutions of higher education free of charge. Pupils who graduate from general education and want to study at a non-state higher education institution can receive a student grant from the state. This grant for one year equals the cost of standard one-year studies, equalling approximately 1270 euros. If a high school sets a higher than standard price for studies, the student must pay the residual amount.

Expansion of non-state schools sector

The sector of private (non-state) education is not large in Lithuania but it has been gradually expanding. In the 2022-2023 school year, the percentage of non-state education institutions was 17% (counting all educational institutions from pre-school to higher education), while in the 2010-2011 school year, private educational institutions accounted for 7.3% of the total number of educational institutions.

The number of pre-school institutions is growing rapidly. According to Statistics Lithuania data, the number of non-state pre-school institutions has increased in the dozens. In the 2010-2011 school year there were only 4 such institutions, while by the 2022-2023school year there were already 179 of them. Non-state pre-school institutions represent one-fourth of all pre-school institutions. Since 2011, education policy actions have targeted the liberalization of establishing non-state pre-school institutions, facilitating the process greatly. The pre-school ‘pupil’s basket’ came into effect on 1 January 2011, which is allocated to state as well as non-state pre-school institutions. Municipalities that face a shortage of state pre-school institutions can by all means increase accessibility to non-state pre-school institutions. For example, a family in Vilnius whose child is attending a non-state pre-school institution is eligible to 100 euros in compensation per month.

The number of general education schools tripled during this period (from 30 schools in 2010–2011 school year to 89 schools in 2022–2023) representing about 10% of all general education schools.

The number of non-state vocational education and training institutions has increased from 3 to 5. This is about 9% of the total number of vocational education and training institutions.

In the higher education arena, non-state schools play a substantial role. Currently, there are 7 non-state colleges and 6 universities. Non-state higher education institutions account for more than a third of all higher education institutions.

Establishment and management of non-state schools

Setting up a non-state pre-school or general education school is not difficult in Lithuania. First, one has to have facilities[ii] which are tailored to children of a specific age and meet the necessary standards of hygiene. If the facilities meet the hygiene standards, a permit hygiene pass is issued, which is mandatory for an institution’s activities. The school’s founder chooses a legal form for the institution, usually a public body. The process requires school establishment documents – the act of establishment and school statute. If the founder is planning to organise pre-school education, he or she must prepare a pre-school education curriculum. Pre-school education is organised according to the Pre-School Education Curriculum approved by the Minister of Education and Science. Likewise, a general education school must have a school curriculum (ugdymo planas), and in order to implement the curriculum the founder must bring together a team that has qualifications required by law.

A natural or legal person or organizations without a legal personality can establish a vocational education and training institution. The founder chooses the legal form of the vocational education or training institution, usually a public body. The vocational education and training institution is then established according to the requirements for a public body (establishment treaty, statute, appointed head and a management board). The educational activities of a non-state vocational education or training institution are licenced by the Ministry of Education and Science. A licence is granted when the school has the appropriate facilities, a qualified team, methodical and material tools and places prepared for both theoretical and practical learning.

A natural or legal person can also establish a non-state higher education institution. The founder chooses a legal form for the non-state higher education institution. The document of establishment for a higher education institution is its statute, and the higher education institution follows this in its activities. If a higher education institution wants to organize studies, it must obtain a licence to organize studies and study-related activities. A licence is granted if an institution meets the following requirements:

1) The State Security Department identifies that the projected activities do not pose a threat to national security.

2) The institution commits to organizing no less than 3 fields of study for universities or no less than 2 fields of study for colleges. This commitment has to be fulfilled within 12 months of the license being granted. No less than half of the study curricula must be organized in Lithuania.

3) The Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education identifies that the material basis and qualified personnel are suitable for the projected study curricula, for the organization of scientific and/or artistic activities, and that the educational institution meets other requirements by law.

Documents that are necessary to obtain a licence are authorised by the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education. The licence is issued by the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science.

The founder of the higher education institution is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the quality of education in the non-state school. Monitoring the quality in a higher education institution is conducted by assessing and accrediting its study curricula.

[i] Article 67 of the Law on Education states that non-state schools of traditional religious communities or associations that organize formal education curricula are funded according to the Government’s or its authorised institution’s set methods by allocating the same budgetary educational and housekeeping funds as those allocated to the same type of state or municipal schools, if that is set out in the international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania.

[ii] Since 2011, pre-school, pre-primary and general education can be organized in residentiary facilities without changing their purpose. They have to meet the established standards of hygiene.