European, global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development
The international dimension of higher education study programmes is first and foremost stimulated by Lithuania’s involvement in the Bologna process and implementation of its provisions. Active participation in the EU student exchange programmes is another driver for institutions of higher education to get integrated into the common European Higher Education Area. Nearly every host university offers study modules in foreign languages to their incoming students, the content of most study programmes includes international topics and knowledge is presented within the context of European and global experience and practice. Some study programmes that are concurrent with the international dimension may be delivered in foreign languages to Lithuanian students as well.
Lithuania develops and delivers joint study programmes with higher education institutions of other countries. Such joint study programmes create conditions for students to gain more knowledge, provide an opportunity for students from different countries and cultural backgrounds to study together in the same cultural and academic environment and take over the experience of different countries and higher education institutions. Currently there are nine joint study programmes officially registered in Lithuania: ‘International Business‘, ‘Eastern European Studies‘, ‘International Law‘, ‘Comparative Social Policy and Welfare‘, ‘Sustainable Regional Health Systems‘, ‘Baltic Regional Studies‘, ‘Sustainable Governance of Real Estate‘, ‘Real Estate Management’ and ‘Physical Therapy’. Joint study programmes are organised by seven different higher education institutions.
From September 2011, higher education institutions adopted a new credit system which measures not only the student’s working time and the content of study programmes but also the study outcomes to be achieved by the student (Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)). The application of ECTS facilitates student mobility and recognition of partial learning outcomes for students participating in student exchange programmes.
Partnerships and networks
Lithuania has 35 cooperation agreements signed with foreign countries and international organisations in the fields of culture, education, science and sports. Bilateral academic exchange programmes are annually renewed with Japan and the Swiss Confederation.
In order to attract talented graduate students from third countries, a financial support mechanism was created in Lithuania. In 2011, the Government approved the Procedure for Granting Financial Support to Foreigners from Third Countries Admitted to Lithuanian Higher Education Institutions for Master’s Degree studies.
According to the Law on Higher Education and Research, as amended in 2012, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of expatriates and foreigners of Lithuanian descent may apply for additional funding to study in Lithuanian higher education institutions. The tender for granting support is announced and such support is provided under the Procedure for Granting State Support to Children, Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren of Expatriates and Foreigners of Lithuanian Descent for their Studies at Lithuanian Higher Education Institutions approved by the Ministry of Education and Science on 25 April 2012. The applications should meet the criteria laid down by the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science.
On 11 April 2012, the Minister of Education and Science issued an order to approve the Procedure for Provision of Financial Assistance to Foreign Teachers Coming to Teach at Lithuanian Higher Education Institutions. According to the Procedure, financial assistance to foreign teachers may be provided in the case when the amount of funds allocated by the inviting higher education institution to finance the visit covers not less than 30 per cent of total amount required. State grants for visiting teachers amount from 6 to 25 basic social allowances (approximately LTL780–3,250).
Decisions to provide assistance to foreign visiting teachers are made based on the assessment of the international recognition of the institution the visiting teacher comes from, his/her international teaching and research experience and the impact the visit is likely to produce on the study programme.
In 2012, state financial assistance was provided to 86 foreign teachers who delivered lectures in 20 higher education institutions of Lithuania. They received in total the amount of LTL434 thousand. The visiting lecturers come from 27 countries of the world. The most popular among them are the USA, Portugal and Finland.