NQF country report

Lithuania ranks second in the EU in tacking early leaving from education and training (4% against 10.2% EU average in 2019) and first in tertiary educational attainment (57.8% v 40.3%), but with a significant gap between men (46.9%) and women (69.5%). The total employment rate of recent graduates (ISCED levels 3 to 8) is close to the EU average; while employment prospects of upper secondary graduates increased in the last decade from 57.8% in 2009 to 68.1% in 2019, they remain below the EU average (75.9%). High employment rates of tertiary education graduates (87.6% versus 85% EU average) coexist with overqualification and significant mismatches between skills supply and skills demand.

Fostering key competences at all levels is a priority. The proportion of underachievers in mathematics and reading is at the 2009 levels, though it increased in science (from 17% to 22.2% in 2019). Learner performance is strongly linked to socioeconomic status, with especially large disparities between urban and rural areas. Despite high public investment, the education network is faced with quality and efficiency challenges, especially considering a shrinking school population. The pandemic crisis (2020) calls for distance learning solutions at all education levels, support for pupils from disadvantaged socioeconomic background, and improving ICT teaching methods and teacher capacity (European Commission, 2019, 2020).

Participation in vocational education and training (VET) is low and results in poor employment outcomes calling for actions to increase the attractiveness of the teaching profession, reform VET curricula and engage employers. Adult participation in lifelong learning remains low: 7% in 2019 and below the EU average of 10.8% in the same year. Reforming the tertiary education sector and quality of programmes offered is also high on the agenda. The plan for restructuring of universities is under review; the Ministry, together with OECD, elaborated a skills strategy whose first results are expected in 2021 (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020).

The Lithuanian qualifications framework (LTQF) was formally adopted in 2010 ([1] Government of Lithuania (2010). Resolution on approving the description of the Lithuanian qualifications framework. https://www.kpmpc.lt/kpmpc/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/LTQF_official_translation.pdf). It is based on eight learning-outcomes-based levels and covers all officially recognised qualifications in general (primary and secondary) education, vocational education and training and higher education. Amendments regulated the role and functions of the framework (2011) and the classification of higher education short-cycle study programmes (2019) ([2] https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.BC967702800C/rYDVRYaMqu).

Joint referencing and self-certification to the European qualifications framework (EQF) and to the qualifications framework of the European higher education area (QF-EHEA) was completed in late 2011 and the referencing report was published in 2012.

The national qualifications framework is conceived to support the development and modernisation of the national education and training system. It aims to improve transparency of qualifications and support qualifications design and assessment; to ease recognition processes allowing individuals to build on outcomes of learning achieved in formal, non-formal and informal settings; and to promote a lifelong learning culture and national and international mobility (QVETDC, 2012:33). Its aims remain unchanged over time (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020). The interinstitutional action plan for employment support 2014-20 ([3] Resolution of Lithuanian Government No 204 of 26 February 2014 on the interinstitutional action plan for the Employment support 2014-20 programme implementation.
https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/ebe20890a52c11e3aeb49a67165e3ad3/asr
), which includes measures for recognition of prior learning and of qualifications acquired abroad, and the ESF investment programme 2014-20 (priority 9), for updating qualifications standards, modularisation of vocational education and training programmes and recognition of prior learning, are built in accordance with the LTQF/EQF principles. Implementation is in process through the lifelong learning action plan 2017-20 ([4] Decree of Minister of Education and Science No V-536 of 28-06-2017 on the action plan for development of lifelong learning in 2017-2020. https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/8d34ecd05c0411e79198ffdb108a3753/asr) (Cedefop and Refernet, 2020).

The LTQF combines the existing eight-level structure of the Lithuanian qualifications system ([5] Five vocational education levels (introduced in 1997) and three higher education levels (introduced in 1992).) with the descriptor principles introduced by the EQF. Level descriptors are defined according to two parameters: activity characteristics and types of competence.

Table 1. Level descriptors in the Lithuanian NQF

Parameters

 

Characteristics of activities

Types of competence

Criteria

  • complexity of activities
  • autonomy of activities
  • variability of activities
  • cognitive competences
  • functional competences
  • general competences

Source: Adapted from QVETDC, 2012.

The combination of the two parameters allows for detailed description of each level: the competence criteria broadly correspond to the EQF distinction between knowledge, skills and competence (autonomy and responsibility in the 2017 EQF recommendation) while the activity criteria elaborate further the third EQF pillar (QVETDC, 2012, pp. 36-41).

The learning outcomes (competence) approach is broadly implemented in all areas of Lithuanian vocational education and training (Lauzackas et al, 2009). Building on the progress in the past, the new law on vocational education and training adopted in December 2017, entered in force in February 2018, with some of the articles entering into force in January 2019. It addresses current challenges, such as the lack of practical skills of VET graduates and the mismatch between skills acquired in VET, and the functions and operations performed at the labour market. Following the new legal basis, qualifications standards (nationally referred to as sectoral qualifications standards), programmes and curricula are being reformed ([6] According to the law, the qualifications standards must be reviewed and updated at least once every five years (Article 14) and the relevant VET programmes must be reviewed and updated accordingly no later than 12 months after the entry into force of the update of the standard. ). Qualification standards have been reviewed with more focus on occupation-specific skills, general subject knowledge, and transversal skills and competences (Cedefop, 2020) ([7] At the end of 2020, 22 such standards were in place covering all LTQF levels.).

Level descriptors are considered as the basis for formulating qualifications and ensuring their integrity among different levels. Qualification standards, modular programmes, and higher education benchmark statements are written in line with qualification level descriptors. The learning-outcomes approach supports the modularisation of VET curricula. Coupled with the development of qualifications standards, the shift from subject-based to modular curricula has been developed and new guidelines and methodology for the preparation and registration of VET programmes were drafted. Since 2019, all formal IVET programmes ([8] In the national context, IVET programmes are considered only those delivered in lower, upper-secondary and post-secondary levels. CVET programmes are available to adults to acquire a second qualification in formal VET. ) consist of mandatory and elective modules defined in terms of learning credits ([9] A learning credit is a unit of learning volume that measures learning outcomes and a learner's working time. The Qualification and VET Development Centre (2019), Methodology for the development of formal VET programmes, p.5. https://www.kpmpc.lt/kpmpc/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Moduliniu_programu_rengimo_metodika_2019.pdf ) aligned with LTQF level descriptors and along ECVET principles ([10] VET programmes vary from 30 credits (approximatively a half year), 45, 60 (one regular year), to 90 or 110 credits depending on the type/level of programme (Cedefop ReferNet, 2020). Formal VET programmes for adults consist of the same mandatory modules as in IVET. ). As of 2020/21, general education learners in grades 9 to 12 may take short vocational modules of 5 or 10 credits offered in VET schools instead of the technologies subject (technologijų dalykas) of the general education curriculum ([11] The technologies subject aims to develop practical skills; it is offered in lower- and upper secondary general education at different fields of studies. See more here. ); credits are recognised when enrolling in VET, shortening the programme duration (Cedefop ReferNet Lithuania, 2020).

However, overall and timely coordination of the update of qualification standards, formal revision of VET programmes and implementation has been challenging. To improve system efficiency, a methodical framework has been devised for the elaboration of qualifications standards (nationally referred to as sectoral qualifications standards) in line with the LTQF/EQF ([12] Within the framework of the 2016-21 ESF project Development of the Lithuanian Qualifications System (Phase 1). https://www.kpmpc.lt/kpmpc/kvalifikaciju-sistemos-pletra-i-etapas/ ) (Cedefop and Qualifications and Vocational Education and Training Development Centre, 2019; European Commission and Cedefop, 2020).

The level descriptors of the LTQF are used as an explicit reference point to improve consistency between single qualifications and across the different sectors. In the higher education sector, LTQF descriptors are taken into account when defining higher education study levels and study field descriptors; they are used as reference points for the development, review and renewal of university programmes and qualifications. Descriptions of study fields aim to link higher education and labour market needs better (Beleckiene, 2019). Higher education degrees (bachelor, professional bachelor and master) and doctoral degrees are referenced to NQF/EQF levels.

Work continues to reform general education competence-based curricula. Learning outcomes of lower and upper secondary general education programmes were referenced, respectively, to LTQF levels 3 and 4 ([13] The Qualifications and VET Development Centre (QVETDC), 2019. https://www.kpmpc.lt/kpmpc/en/information/qualifications-framework/). Guidelines drafted in 2019 for the preparation of the general curriculum framework focus on a learning-outcomes approach ([14] Decree No V-1317 of 18 November 2019 of Minister of Education, Science and Sport on approving guidelines for updating the general curriculum framework. https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/e3e9269009e511ea9d279ea27696ab7b
Article 47(1) indicate that the curriculum should reflect six broad competences: social, emotional and healthy lifestyle competence, cognitive competence, creativity competence, civic competence, cultural competence and communication competence.
). Work is under way; pilots are expected in 2021 with possible implementation as from 2022 (including new formative assessment practices) (European Commission, 2020).

Significant changes in recent years are related to qualifications at level 5. This level was previously empty. Two types of qualifications are placed at this level: VET diplomas level 5 (Profesinio mokymo diplomas) acquired in post-secondary VET programmes, and short-cycle HE programmes leading to study certificate (Studijų pažymėjimas). Amendments to the higher education law ([15] Amendment No XIII-1658 of 20 November 2018 of the law on science and higher education: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/legalAct.html?documentId=eb9829b0f31911e88568e724760eeafa
Amendment No XIII-3415 of 10 November 2020 of the law on science and higher education: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/65fcc8802b2d11eb932eb1ed7f923910
) and LTQF framework ([16] Amendment 535 of 24 July 2019 No 764 of the 2010 government resolution on approving the description of the LTQF: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/legalAct.html?documentId=a272f160aee011e98451fa7b5933515d
English translation of the legal act of 2010: http://www.kpmpc.lt/kpmpc/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/LTQF_official_translation.pdf
) legitimated short-cycle studies at higher education level, awarding level 5 qualifications; programmes may be delivered jointly by higher education colleges and VET institutions. Preparations for short-cycle HE programme implementation are in process. Additionally, eight modular VET post-secondary level programmes leading to VET diploma, level 5 (Profesinio mokymo diplomas) are currently being implemented by higher education colleges and VET institutions ([17] Roofing master, bricklayer master, façade insulation master and finishing fitter master in the construction and civil engineering education field of studies, welding master and vehicle repair technician in mechanics and metalworking and ballet artist and contemporary dance performer in music and performing arts: https://www.aikos.smm.lt/Registrai/Mokymo-programos/SitePages/Pagrindinis.aspx?ss=a8a83417-f33f-4991-9c24-27abf017ca5b).

LTQF was formally adopted through a government resolution in 2010 ([18] Resolution of the Government of Republic of Lithuania No 535 of 4.5.2010 on the description of Lithuanian qualifications framework: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.BC967702800C/rYDVRYaMqu
Translation of legal act (2010): http://www.kpmpc.lt/kpmpc/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/LTQF_official_translation.pdf
) and further refined with amendments in 2011 (role and functions) and 2019 (updated classification of higher education short-cycle study programmes) ([19] Amendment 535 of 24 July 2019 No 764 of the 2010 government resolution on approving the description of the LTQF: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/legalAct.html?documentId=a272f160aee011e98451fa7b5933515d; ). It has been embedded in all relevant national strategies ([20] The 2017-20 action plan for the development of lifelong learning system; the 2014-20 Employment development programme; the 2013-22 national education strategy; the 2014-20 ESF investment action plan.) and legislation ([21] Law of education: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.9A3AD08EA5D0/asr
Law of VET https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.44FA08A7226F/asr
Law on non-formal adult education and continuing training: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.CE3B174CA7E6/asr
Law on recognition of regulated professional qualifications: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.074B2F6259F9/asr and
Law on Science and Higher Education: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.C595FF45F869/asr.
) (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020).

The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport has authorised the Qualifications and VET Development Centre (QVETDC) as the main institution in charge of the LTQF implementation and day-to-day coordination. It acts as national coordination point for the EQF. Its tasks are to reference national qualifications levels to the eight levels of the European qualifications framework, ensuring that transparent methodology in used, and to provide access to information and guidance to stakeholders on how national qualifications relate to the EQF through the LTQF; it also aims to promote the participation of stakeholders (education institutions, social partners, sectors and experts) in the process. The QVETDC is the ReferNet contact point and the EQAVET reference point for VET in Lithuania.

In 2013, the Centre for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (SKVC) ([22] Centre for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (SKVC) is a member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and listed in the European assurance register for higher education (EQAR).) was officially delegated to take part in the coordination and implementation of the LTQF, with a particular focus on universities and universities of applied sciences. It is also responsible for the recognition of foreign academic qualifications. The Ministry of Economy and Innovation is in charge of human resources development policy, recognition of regulated professions and, together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, is represented in all sectoral professional committees, advisory bodies managing strategic issues on the development of qualifications in the sectors. Other ministries are also represented in corresponding sectoral professional committees. They also endorse profiles of regulated qualifications in the area of their competence. The National Agency for Education (NSA) established in 2019 ([23] NSA was created by merging the former Education Development Centre, National Centre for Special Needs Education and Psychology, Education Supply Centre of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania, National Examination Centre, Centre of Information Technologies in Education and the National Agency for School Evaluation. ) by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport ensures quality assurance in the general education sector (pre-school, pre-primary and general education, except for higher education), including the organisation of curricula and matura examinations, and recommendations.

The role of stakeholders in LTQF implementation has been active, notably through their involvement in the referencing of the LTQF to the EQF and in setting up a framework of sector-based qualification standards. Work in this area was initiated by the Central Professional Committee (CPC), a tripartite body established in 2007 with the aim to involve stakeholders outside education and training. The law on VET of 2017 abolished the CPC; coordination of strategic issues related to development of the national qualifications system/framework and vocational training in specific economic sectors was delegated from 2018 ([24] Joint order 2018-11244 of 4 July 2018 of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Economy on the description and approval of the composition, tasks and financing of the sectoral professional committees: https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/420ac9b07e8a11e8ae2bfd1913d66d57 ) to the sectoral professional committees (SPCs). These are advisory bodies established under QVETDC; currently 18 are in place in all sectors of the economy ([25] See here. ). Each SPC is composed of at least nine members (business representatives, employers, employees, ministries and education providers). SPCs endorse qualification standards (nationally referred to as sectoral qualifications standards), consider and submit proposals on new qualifications at any LTQF level to the Ministry of Education and Science, and submit an opinion regarding the need for short cycle study programmes leading to LTQF level 5 qualifications.

While progress has been made in coordinating VET and higher education, general education stakeholder involvement in the LTQF is limited and needs to be strengthened. However, consultations are organised when necessary. Recently, several rounds of consultations regarding level 5 qualifications were organised involving vice-ministers, ministry departments, QVETD, SKVC, VET providers and colleges, sectoral professional committees.

[26] This section draws mainly on input from the 2018 update of the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning (Beleckiene, 2019).

Validation in Lithuania is an integral part of the lifelong learning system and is covered by national strategies and programmes. A national framework was set up (2014), with implementation decentralised at training provider level. A number of Lithuanian laws recognise the rights of individuals to access validation initiatives.

The 2017 amendment of the law on vocational education and training (in full effect since 2019) defines that the competences acquired outside formal education may be recognised as a qualification of an appropriate LTQF level or part thereof. In higher education, prior learning may be recognised as part of a programme; the maximum credit is 75% of a total study programme volume.

There are validation arrangements to assess non-formal or informal learning in VET and HE. The skills and competences acquired outside formal education are assessed against standards or programmes used in formal education. The results of validation are recognised by the education system and may lead to a formal qualification linked to the national qualifications framework. Those wishing to formalise their non-formal and informal learning ([27] Non-formal vocational programmes, informal learning (work experience, self-study) or learning from other education programmes. ) must apply to an appropriate VET or higher education provider; each of these has an internal quality system which also applies to the assessment and recognition of learning outcomes. Arrangements for validation of non-formal and informal learning in VET and higher education include all the elements specified in the Council recommendation of 2012 ([28] Council of the European Union (2012). Council recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning. Official Journal of the European Union, C 398, 22.12.2012, pp.1-5. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2012:398:0001:0005:EN:PDF) (identification, documentation, assessment and certification). However, an overall quality assurance framework for validation of non-formal and informal learning is missing. QVETCD is running an ESF-funded programme (2018-22) for developing a national system for the assessment and recognition of competences acquired in various settings, with a focus on recognition of general competences, professional (and international) qualifications and tools for effective monitoring of validation processes ([29] Project code 09.4.1-ESFA-V-734-02-0001. https://www.kpmpc.lt/kpmpc/ivairiais-budais-igytu-kompetenciju-ir-kvalifikaciju-vertinimo-ir-pripazinimo-sistemos-tobulinimas/ ). Work has been initiated in 2020 for the development of a sub-system of non-formal qualifications acquired in the workplace and exploring how these could be integrated into the national qualifications system ([30] The Master Pro ESF project 09.4.3-ESFA-V-834-03. https://www.esinvesticijos.lt/lt//finansavimas/paraiskos_ir_projektai/master-pro-darbineje-veikloje-igyjamu-auksto-meistriskumo-kvalifikaciju-posistemes-modelio-sukurimas ) (Cedefop and ReferNet, 2020).

LTQF has been designed as a comprehensive framework for lifelong learning. It currently includes qualifications from VET and higher education.

The legislation defining provisions for general education curricula stipulates that learning outcomes of lower secondary education programmes are referenced to NQF level 3 and learning outcomes of upper secondary education programmes are referenced to NQF level 4. Work continues to reform general education competence-based curricula.

The implementation of the comprehensive LTQF made visible a missing link at level 5, which has led to discussions on the education sector where these qualifications should be delivered and awarded. In VET, two programmes at level 5 were first introduced in ballet and dance studies. Progress has been made in legitimating LTQF level 5 short-cycle higher education programmes; agreeing and regulating entry requirements and delivery (duration, programme requirements, share of practical training, learning outcomes description), and updated classification in the LTQF ([31] Amendment No XIII-3415 of 10 November 2020 of the law on science and higher education. https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/65fcc8802b2d11eb932eb1ed7f923910
Amendment 535 of 24 July 2019 No 764 of the 2010 government resolution on approving the description of the LTQ. https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/legalAct.html?documentId=a272f160aee011e98451fa7b5933515d
) (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020). Implementing provisions for the delivery of HE short-cycle programmes are expected. In 2020, eight EQF level 5 VET programmes are being implemented at post-secondary level jointly by colleges (universities of applied sciences) and VET institutions ([32] Roofing master, bricklayer master, façade insulation master and finishing fitter master in the construction and civil engineering education field of studies and welding master and vehicle repair technician in mechanics and metalworking. https://www.aikos.smm.lt/Registrai/Mokymo-programos/SitePages/Pagrindinis.aspx?ss=a8a83417-f33f-4991-9c24-27abf017ca5b ) (Cedefop, forthcoming).

Qualifications awarded outside formal (regulated) education and training are not included and do not refer to LTQF levels; however, the framework serves as a reference for employers to evaluate employee skills, identify underdeveloped or missing skills and plan training needs, and in job descriptions (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020). Opening up the framework to qualifications outside the formal education system is considered; the Ministry of Economy and Innovation is running an initiative for developing a sub-system of qualifications for competences acquired in non-formal settings, in line with the LTQF (Cedefop and ReferNet, 2020) ([33] The Master Pro ESF project 09.4.3-ESFA-V-834-03. https://www.esinvesticijos.lt/lt//finansavimas/paraiskos_ir_projektai/master-pro-darbineje-veikloje-igyjamu-auksto-meistriskumo-kvalifikaciju-posistemes-modelio-sukurimas ).

LTQF and EQF levels are indicated on VET diplomas ([34] Description of the content, form and award of the VET diploma and certificate and VET diploma template. https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/4d986490d23511e4bcd1a882e9a189f1 ) and Europass certificate supplements ([35] Example of Europass certificate supplement here. ) and in higher education diploma supplements ([36] Recommendations for filling in diploma supplements here. ). The Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (SKVC) ([37] SKVC is member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and listed in the European assurance register for higher education (EQAR).), in their decisions issued for the recognition of foreign qualifications, indicate LTQF and the respective NQF level of foreign qualification ([38] In line with the 2013 recommendation on the use of qualifications frameworks in the recognition of foreign qualifications: https://www.enic-naric.net/the-lisbon-recognition-convention-97.aspx).

A national register of qualifications and programmes is in place, including VET and higher education qualifications and indicating LTQF and EQF levels. It is hosted within the national online open information and guidance system (AIKOS), an entry point to qualifications, education and training programmes. A revision and update of all VET programmes (modularised since 2019) and higher education study descriptors is under way. Revision of competence-based general education curriculum continues.

The LTQF is underpinned by quality assurance arrangements, which cover development, management, assessment of competences and award of qualifications included in the LTQF. LTQF is considered as an overarching principle in VET and higher education learning outcomes formation policies. LTQF descriptions are included or otherwise embedded into methodological guidelines for development and updating of standards, VET curricula and higher education study descriptors. During consultations they are presented to expert groups designing the mentioned documents. Work continues to establish a national system for validation and recognition of non-formal and informal learning. (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020) ([39] 2018-22 ESF project code 09.4.1-ESFA-V-734-02-0001: https://www.kpmpc.lt/kpmpc/ivairiais-budais-igytu-kompetenciju-ir-kvalifikaciju-vertinimo-ir-pripazinimo-sistemos-tobulinimas/ ).

The LTQF is well known to education and training providers and, to a lesser extent, to other sectors and stakeholders. Information on LTQF and EQF is channelled through the NCP website and newsletter, the website of the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education ([40] SKVC is a member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and listed in the European assurance register for higher education (EQAR).), seminars, conferences and training events. In recent years, it has been presented on various occasions to career counsellors working in general education. A methodological guide for stakeholders and employers involved in preparing qualifications standards emphasises the LTQF role in improving quality and consistency in qualification design at all levels and between and across sectors. Education and training institutions and employer representatives have been the prioritised target groups but no communication strategy has been developed (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020).

The Lithuanian NQF was referenced to the EQF in November 2011, with one integrated report covering both the EQF and QF-EHEA, published in 2012. The update of qualification standards, revision of VET curricula and reform of the framework of higher education qualifications might call for an updated referencing report: discussions are in process (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020).

The country reports that LTQF works effectively for VET and HE, though there are some uncertainties about its links with the general education curriculum. Further consultations are foreseen.

LTQF has been the cornerstone in updating qualification standards (nationally referred to as sectoral qualifications standards) and curricula in line with the updated VET law and reform. LTQF application ensures systemic approach to different levels of qualifications and transferability of learning outcomes. A validation system is being developed as a part of a qualifications system and LTQF implementation. The framework supports recognition of foreign qualifications and aids in assessing, recognising and validating VET qualifications (development of a national system is under way). (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020).

System changes introduced by the progressive implementation of the VET reform boosted employers' involvement in VET qualifications and programme development, design and assessment in line with the LTQF principles. Future arrangements envisaged by the VET law to strengthen quality assurance mechanisms, validation of non-formal and informal learning and career guidance are expected (Cedefop ReferNet, 2020). The work of the recently established government Strategic Analysis Centre (STRATA) on skill needs forecast and analysis could support further accommodation of labour market needs through development of qualifications and curricula in line with labour market requirements.

The key challenges in the LTQF implementation have been development and implementation of level 5 qualifications and systemic coordination of efforts among different departments of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Qualifications and VET Development Centre and Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education. Implementation of short-cycle programmes is under way. Additionally, eight modular VET programmes at post-secondary level are implemented jointly by HE colleges and VET institutions leading to VET diploma, level 5 (Profesinio mokymo diplomas). Several rounds of consultations regarding level five qualifications were organised recently.

The Qualifications and VET Development Centre has been delegated a managing function for the LTQF; it cooperates with the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education in higher education issues.

The update of qualification standards, revision of VET curricula and reform of the framework of higher education qualifications degrees might call for an updated referencing report. Discussions are taking place, including possible evaluation of the LTQF implementation (planned but no final decision made).

NQF levelQualification typesEQF level
8

Doctoral diploma (Daktaro diplomas)

8
7

Master diploma (Magistro diplomas)

Certificate of residency (Rezidentūros pažymėjimas)

7
6

Bachelor diploma (Bakalauro diplomas)

Professional bachelor diploma (Profesinio bakalauro diplomas)

6
5

VET diploma, level 5 (Profesinio mokymo diplomas)

Presently only VET qualifications are awarded at NQF level 5. Short-cycle study programmes, leading to a study certificate were introduced in legislation in 2018 (Law on science and higher education); implementation provisions are being legislated.

Study certificate – short-cycle HE programmes (Studijų pažymėjimas)

5
4

VET diploma, level 4 (Profesinio mokymo diplomas)

Matura diploma (on completion of the upper secondary education programme and passing matura examinations) (Brandos atestatas)

The legislation defining provisions for general education curricula stipulates that learning outcomes of lower secondary education programmes are referenced to NQF level 3, whereas learning outcomes of upper secondary education programmes are referenced to NQF level 4.
4
3

VET diploma, level 3 (Profesinio mokymo diplomas)

Lower secondary education certificate (completion of lower secondary education programme and testing learning outcomes) (grades 5 to10) (Pagrindinio išsilavinimo pažymėjimas)

The legislation defining provisions for general education curricula stipulates that learning outcomes of lower secondary education programmes are referenced to NQF level 3, whereas learning outcomes of upper secondary education programmes are referenced to NQF level 4.
3
2

VET diploma, level 2 (Profesinio mokymo diplomas)

2
1

VET diploma, level 1 (Profesinio mokymo diplomas)

1

AIKOS

open information and guidance system

CPC

Central Professional Committee

CVET

continuing vocational education and training

EQF

European qualifications framework

ESF

European social fund

IVET

initial vocational education and training

LTQF

Lithuanian qualifications framework

NCP

national coordination point

NQF

national qualifications framework

NSA

National Agency for Education

QF-EHEA

qualifications framework for the European higher education area

QVETDC

Qualifications and VET Development Centre

SKVC

Centre for Quality Assurance in Higher Education

SPCs

Sectoral professional committees

STRATA

Strategic Analysis Centre

VET

vocational education and training

[URLs accessed 21.12.2020]

Beleckiene, G. (2019). European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning 2018 update: Lithuania. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/european_inventory_validation_2018 Lithuania.pdf

Cedefop (2020). The future of vocational education and training in Europe (deliverable 3b, Circular 2020.07) [from Cedefop to ReferNet partners] RB(2020)00519.

Cedefop (forthcoming). Spotlight on VET – 2020 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.

Cedefop; Qualifications and Vocational Education and Training Development Centre (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Lithuania [From Cedefop; ReferNet. Vocational education and training in Europe database]. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/tools/vet-ineurope/systems/lithuania

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Overview

Stage of development:
NQF linked to EQF:
Scope of the framework:
Designed as a comprehensive NQF for lifelong learning; currently includes qualifications from VET and higher education; revision and inclusion of general education qualifications at levels 1-4 is in progress.
Number of levels:
Eight

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