Main aspects of VET system in Lithuania in 2018:
- in 2017/18, participation in VET at all levels of education slightly decreased due to negative natural population growth and emigration;
- participation in lower secondary VET is low, most IVET learners follow upper-secondary and post-secondary programmes;
- early leaving from education and training is among the lowest in the EU (5.4%) and decreasing, and still higher from VET (12% in 2017) ( );
- participation in lifelong learning and increasing access to VET for adults is a challenge.
Distinctive features ():
Initial VET (IVET) is centralised and highly regulated by the State. Continuing VET (CVET) is delivered by IVET and other training providers, public or private organisations.
Provision of IVET at all levels is free of charge; CVET programmes are offered for a fee, except for the unemployed and those at risk of unemployment whose training is supported from European structural funds (ESF) projects. CVET for the unemployed is funded by a voucher system, which allows them to choose their training provider. The provision of training is based on contracts between the local public employment service, the unemployed and, if applicable, the enterprise. In this last instance, the employer undertakes to employ the person for at least six months after the training.
Most IVET learners participate in post-secondary programmes (ISCED 4, 443.7% in 2017) and upper-secondary (ISCED 3, 43.9%) The popularity of ISCED level 4 programmes has substantially increased in recent years, especially among adults who enter VET with a VET or higher education qualification. The number of adults in formal IVET programmes is increasing. The average age of IVET learners in 2016 was 24.6 years; compared to 2012 this has increased by three years. In 2012 learners aged 14 to 22 comprised 78% of learners; in 2016 the share decreased to 61%.
From 2002, VET curricula in Lithuania have been competence-based, with clearly defined learning outcomes. The content of VET qualifications is defined by sectoral qualifications standards (replacing the previous VET standards). These standards describe the main qualifications in specific sectors of the economy at different national qualifications framework levels. VET programmes are being gradually redesigned into modular programmes consisting of mandatory and optional units.
Data adapted from Cedefop (2018) Spotlight on VET Lithuania 2017 ().
The Cedefop forecasts for Lithuania up to 2025 predict a loss of one fifth of the total labour force and approximately a third of labour force with medium-level qualifications. This is prompting a review of human resources development policy to guarantee labour force productivity and economic competitiveness.
The challenge remains to encourage participation in VET. 53% of students in upper secondary education (2017/18) were enrolled in vocationally oriented programmes (). 10.5% of upper secondary education graduates move to VET, and 63% of upper secondary education graduates move to higher education directly after graduation (2017/18).
Participation in life-long learning remains low (6.6% in 2018) and is lower than in most other EU countries. The national goal is to increase it to 12% by 2022. Ministries of Education and Science, Social Security and Labour and Economy will offer various adult training opportunities for key competences development, with training of the unemployed and employees jointly funded by ESF. VET and lifelong learning promotion campaigns will be organised and career guidance services further developed.
Participation in apprenticeship is low and efforts are being made to motivate VET institutions and companies to cooperate in enhancing WBL and apprenticeship. Support will be given to apprenticeship pilot projects, assistance for enterprises, strengthening of sectoral practical training centres and expanding access to learners from other VET institutions. Implementation of an apprenticeship system is under development.
An action plan for the development of lifelong learning for 2017-20 addresses these aspects. In the document, VET and lifelong learning actions are grouped under three objectives:
- update of VET curricula and VET methods focusing on competitive 21st century competences;
- development of VET institution sustainable networking and increase in social inclusion;
- development of efficient conditions and incentives for lifelong learning.
A new law on VET was adopted in December 2017. Envisaged changes relate to strengthening work-based learning and apprenticeship, enhancing the role of sectoral professional committees, reforming arrangements for publicly funded IVET, and introducing a regular external VET quality evaluation system ().
The modularisation of VET programmes is expanding and should allow for more flexible and diverse forms of learning. VET programmes are being reformed and will be based on sectoral qualifications standards currently being developed in specific sectors of the economy ().
Reforming VET management, financing schemes and quality assurance mechanisms are part of policy priorities and developments to raise the prestige of VET and its attractiveness among all VET stakeholders.
Population in 2018: 2 808 901 ().
Population decreased by 5.5% since 2013, due to negative natural growth and migration ().
Population is ageing.
It is expected that the old-age dependency ratio will increase from 28 in 2015 to 64 in 2060.
Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio ()
Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].
Since 2017, emigration increased by 13.8% () especially in the age span 15 to 44 (76% of all emigrants). Emigration is higher than immigration, which also increased.
The shrinking population calls for more effective use of the potential of the workforce, especially of elderly people involvement in economic activity. Ageing will remain an important concern for the future, as it is likely that the employed population will have to bear a heavier burden to support retirees.
The country is multicultural and has a bilingual community: In June 2017, Lithuanians represented 84.2% of the whole population, Poles 6.6%, Russians 5.8%, Byelorussians 1.2% and other nationalities 1.1%. Most VET institutions teach in Lithuanian, though there are schools where they use both Lithuanian and Russian.
Most companies are micro and small-sized.
Economic sectors with the largest employment (%) in 2017:
- wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycle (15.6%);
- manufacturing (15%);
- education (9.9%);
- transportation and storage (8.7%);
- agriculture, forestry and fishing (8.7%) ( ).
Since 2013, the employment in the industry has seen a steady growth. This has been the result of the recovery in exports market and increased tangible investments. The construction and service sectors decreased. To reflect recent trends in economic activity, VET institutions set themselves to the challenge of developing programs, taking into account the needs of workers and their employment in individual sectors of the economy.
The labour market is considered flexible.
Total unemployment () (2018): 5.8% (6% in EU28). It increased by 0.8 percentage points since 2008 ( ).
Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18
NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series, low reliability.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].
Unemployment correlates with level of qualifications and age. During the crisis, it rose sharply, especially for those with low and medium-level qualifications, and hasn’t reached the pre-crisis levels. In 2018, the unemployment rate of the low qualified is almost 2.5 times higher than of people (including the majority of VET graduates) with medium level qualifications.
Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 74% in 2014 to 83.6% in 2018 ().
Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)
NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].
Between 2014 and 2018, the employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates increased by 9.6 percentage points; at the same period the respective increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates was 5.8 percentage points ().
Lithuania has the lowest rate of people without or with low qualifications in the EU (5.2% against 21.8% in the EU-28 in 2018). At the same time higher education is valued. Lithuania has the 9th highest share of the population aged 25-64 with high level qualifications in the EU (41.7% against 32.2% in the EU-28). Half of the population (53.1%) in the same age group has medium (ISCED 3 and 4) level qualifications ()
Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018
NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; low reliability for ‘no response’ for Czechia, Iceland, Latvia and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].
Share of learners in VET by level in 2017
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].
Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017
NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].
Traditionally, there are more males in VET – 56% then females – 44% ().
Most popular 2018 education area among males was engineering. In the engineering sector, the most popular fields are:
- motor vehicles;
- mechanics (and metal works in the education subsector).
The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 8.7% in 2009 to 4.6% in 2018. It is below the national target for 2020 of not more than 9% and the EU-28 average of 10.6%.
In 2017, early leaving from education and training was among the lowest in the EU (5.4%) and decreasing, but still higher from VET (). 12% of students in IVET programmes (ISCED levels 2 to 4) discontinued their training (mostly due to life abroad, early entry into the labour market of lack of motivation to continue their studies).
Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18
NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].
Under the action plan for the development of lifelong learning for 2017-20, activities partly ESF-funded are in place to increase the efficiency of the network of initial and continuing VET providers to attract more learners in VET.
In 2017, new professional empowerment programmes were launched. They provide information and guidance services to students on available education and training programmes and career choices to help them make informed decisions about their future.
Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.
Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18
NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].
Participation in lifelong learning is lower than in the majority of other EU countries (6.6%) and below the EU 2020 benchmark (15%).
According to national statistics, a large share of the population aged 25-64 has completed general education programmes (28% in 2017). Increasing access to lifelong learning and VET for adults is still challenging.
To reach the national target of 73% employment rate by 2020, the employment programme for 2014-20 () goal is to support job creation mostly by linking (formal) VET qualifications to the needs of the labour market. Quality guidance and counselling services accessible to all (young people and adults), strengthening validation of prior learning and better and diversified formal VET qualifications aligned with sectoral needs are priority areas.
There are no data available for the distribution of VET learners by age.
In 2017/18, participation in VET at all levels of education slightly decreased due to negative natural population growth and migration.
In 2018, VET institutions admitted 45% (compared with 47% in 2017) of the total of those who have completed or left basic education (dropouts) and who wish to continue training or studies (). Universities accounted for 29% of overall admissions (28% in 2017) and colleges – for 26% (25% in 2017)
The Lithuanian education and training system comprises:
- general education at primary (ISCED 0-1), lower (ISCED 2) and upper secondary (ISCED 4) levels;
- initial VET at lower (ISCED 2), upper (ISCED 3) and post-secondary (ISCED 4) levels;
- tertiary level academic/university education (ISCED 6-8) and college-based higher VET programmes (ISCED 6);
- continuing VET programmes providing formal qualifications at EQF levels 2-4 (ISCED 2-4) and other non-formal training courses.
Learners have the obligation to education and training until age 16. Basic education, attested by a lower secondary school leaving certificate, is necessary to access upper secondary programmes.
Compulsory (basic) education is completion of lower secondary education (ISCED level 2) and receiving a basic school certificate at EQF level 2. After completing basic education, learners can choose upper secondary general education or VET programmes at ISCED level 3 (leading to an EQF level 3 vocational qualification) or to an EQF level 4 vocational qualification and an upper secondary leaving certificate, also known as matura, which allows higher education access.
Access to VET programmes is possible for learners aged 14 or older. Those who fail to graduate from lower secondary education may enter VET programmes or youth schools at ISCED level 2 (respectively 254, 252) leading to EQF level 2 qualifications. At ISCED level 254, graduates receive also the basic school certificate and may move on to upper secondary programmes, either in the general or vocational streams.
Graduates of upper secondary programmes leading to a matura certificate (either vocational ISCED 354 or general education-oriented ISCED 344) may enter either post-secondary vocational training (ISCED 454) leading to EQF level 4 (EQF level 5 programmes are also being piloted); or higher VET programmes to acquire a professional bachelor (ISCED 655/EQF 6) or higher education (ISCED level 6 or 7) programmes leading to EQF level 6 or 7 respectively ().
As stipulated in the Law on Vocational Education and Training (1997, amended in 2007 and 2017), the VET system covers IVET (), CVET and vocational guidance ( ).
Formal IVET and CVET programmes
Most IVET in Lithuania is school-based. The main aim of training is to prepare learners for work. In lower and upper secondary, VET programmes (ISCED 252 and 352) prepare learners for a VET qualification and access the labour market. In parallel, there are VET (ISCED 254 and 354) programmes that, in addition to the VET diploma, deliver a general education certificate allowing progression to the upper level studies. Access to post-secondary (ISCED 454) and college-based higher VET (ISCED 655) progression is possible for learners with the matura (end of upper secondary) certificate.
Formal CVET programmes are provided by labour market training centres offering in-company training (apprenticeships) to learners over 18 to refresh existing knowledge or acquire new skills leading to qualifications at EQF levels 2-4. Formal CVET is designed for people with different education attainment levels, from primary to post-secondary; in some cases, a vocational qualification or work experience is a prerequisite to access these programmes.
Learning forms in formal VET programmes (offered in both IVET and CVET) include:
- school-based group learning, where a teacher-led group (class, joint class, VET group, subgroup, temporary group, special medical physical fitness group or other) is set up for a certain period. It can be implemented part time or remotely; and
- individual learning, where, for a certain period, a student gets individual tuition, or s/he individually and periodically attends a group and/or individual teacher consultations. It can be implemented individually, independently or remotely;
- apprenticeships in formal IVET programmes are available in a small scale, as this pathway is not established as a clear VET pathway. In apprenticeship-type delivery, the programme in total (theoretical and practical parts) should not exceed more than 48 hours per week in total (Labour code law effective as of July 2017;
- in IVET work-based learning ( ) comprises 44% to 60% of the total time allocated to teaching vocational subjects, of which 8 to 15 weeks is organised in a company or school-based workshop simulating working conditions;
- in formal CVET, practical training covers 60-80% of the programme. Training for jobseekers is provided on the basis of contracts concluded between local employment offices, the unemployed and, if applicable, the enterprise.
After the end of a VET programme, learners must take an exam after which a VET diploma is awarded.
Qualification exams are detached from the training process and are carried out by accredited institutions (different types of accredited assessment centres exist: including those established by social partners, enterprises and employers’ associations)
Non-formal VET programmes exist alongside with formal VET, for the unemployed and the (self-) employed. According to legislation the requirements for non-formal VET programmes and their implementation may be set by the organisation that requests training under these programmes or finances any such training. The objectives of the programme, admission criteria and duration are different and mostly depend on the target group. Decisions on tuition fees are made by providers. Non-formal adult education may be offered by any education provider, freelance teachers, and agencies, as well as companies or organisations that do not have education as their main activity but are authorised to provide education.
Non-formal VET is widely applied in continuing VET and is designed for the acquisition of a vocational qualification or individual competences. It is carried out in various forms: learning at the workplace, attending non-formal training courses, distance learning, etc. In most cases, the following three forms are used:
- non-formal courses for the (self-) employed initiated by the employer. It is organised in various settings, using forms and programmes chosen by the employer. Some companies apply internationally-recognised sectoral qualifications and programmes;
- state-funded training programmes for employees (such as civil servants and employees in certain economic sectors, for instance, healthcare, agriculture, etc.);
- training courses for the unemployed and people notified of dismissal, this type of training is funded through a voucher system introduced in 2012 to finance training in formal and non-formal education programmes.
The Law on VET (2017) provides a legal basis for apprenticeship. It clarifies the provisions for apprenticeship organisation based on an apprenticeship labour contract (between the employer and the VET student) and a VET (learning) contract between the apprentice and the VET provider.
The Law on VET also states that sectoral professional committees should participate in planning the in-take of apprentices. However, apprenticeship has still not gained its position as a clear VET pathway and receives little attention from VET providers and companies.
The new Labour Code and accompanying legislation entering into force on 1 July 2017 introduces two types of apprenticeship contracts: with and without learning agreements.
For apprenticeships that are part of formal VET, the regulation stipulates employers’ responsibility to ensure that apprentices acquire the learning outcomes defined in the VET programme. The law specifies also the main conditions for apprenticeship delivery: work and learning time should not exceed 48 hours per week in total; apprentices’ salaries should not be less than a minimum wage; and learning time spent in the VET institutions would not be paid by the employer and should not exceed one third of the contract duration.
Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches
The Ministry of Education and Science is the main body responsible for shaping and implementing vocational education and training (VET) policy. The Ministry of Economy and Innovation () participates in human resources development and VET policy. Other ministries and government bodies are involved in VET policy in the remit of their responsibilities (planning VET funding, managing enrolments in CVET upskilling programmes, etc.).
Following the new VET Law (), in force since February 2018, the Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre (MOSTA) ensures the monitoring framework for VET and higher education, research and innovation. It plans human resources and forecasts new qualification requirements in line with national policies and the needs of the economy ( ).
The main tasks of the education ministry on VET delivery include:
- human resources planning, continuing professional development of VET school teachers and tutors and vocational guidance for VET learners;
- managing the list of accredited/licenced VET providers and accredited competence assessment bodies;
- implementing formal initial VET/continuing VET programmes; guarantee quality of formal qualifications based on qualification standards; and monitor the national register of qualifications ( );
- draw up investment programmes for IVET and other retraining programmes; run the funding system of VET schools (per capita financing) and approve student enrolment in state-funding VET programmes ( );
The Qualifications and VET Development Centre (KPMPC) organises development of qualifications standards and training programmes. It organises assessment and recognition of competences acquired in formal, non formal and informal learning thought competences assessment centres (). It supervises and coordinates the work of sectoral professional committees.
The new VET law strengthened the role of sectoral professional committees (SPCs) (), advisory bodies that ensure cooperation on VET delivery between all VET stakeholders in a particular sector. They are actively involved in shaping and assess new (modules of) vocational training programmes, create and approve sectoral qualifications standards (used to design new VET content), make proposals to the education ministry on qualifications that can be acquired through apprenticeships, new qualifications to be added in the national register of qualifications ( ) and validation arrangements.
Reforming VET management, financing schemes and quality assurance mechanisms is part of policy priorities and developments in progress to raise the prestige of VET and its attractiveness among all VET stakeholders (learners, VET teachers and trainers, companies).
Funding for IVET institutions by source (000) EUR
Private sources (physical and legal entities)
Source: Statistics Lithuania, 2018.
Funding for formal IVET is allocated from the State budget. Training costs are calculated per student (per capita financing of vocational schools). The methodology determines the level of direct funding needed for training per learner enrolled in a formal training programme for one VET academic hour. The unit costs (the so-called ‘student basket’) include allocations for staff salaries and social insurance, in-service training of teachers and funding for the acquisition of various training resources, including practical training. The latter category is calculated using a coefficient that varies depending on the programme area.
Funding is allocated to the VET provider based on the actual number of learners multiplied by the number of hours for implementing the programme and costs of a training hour. Unit costs for learners with special needs are defined separately.
The share of funding from international organisations depends on the availability of European funds.
In addition, VET providers may receive funding from the State budget (annual investment programme) for infrastructure, updating training facilities, etc. Such developments could also be supported from other funds, including EU structural funds. VET providers may receive income from physical and legal entities for services provided (such as training courses, rent of premises). This income is used for education and training purposes.
Vocational guidance is integral part of the national VET system, as stipulated by legislation. It is funded from the ‘student basket’ (see above) and other national and local budgets, sponsors, etc. An ESF-funded project 2010-15 was used to fund guidance programmes and tools for 1 600 career guidance staff and 163 000 beneficiaries (VET learners).
Non-formal CVET for the self-employed and employees is funded by the enterprise or learner. According to national legislation in certain cases training can be sponsored by the State ().
EU and enterprise funds are used to finance training of employees in the private sector. The ministry of economy and innovation is managing ESF funds. Measures include workplace-based training to upskill company employees and managers (ESF funds 2007-13); and two new projects being implemented in the period 2017-23 (ESF funds 2014-20): the competence voucher programme to train 42 000 private sector employees and the HR invest LT project to train employees of foreign companies based in Lithuania. Companies contributions vary from 30% (small-sized) or 40% (medium-sized companies) to 50% (large companies) of the total training cost.
Non-formal CVET for the unemployed is mainly covered from ESF support through the ‘training voucher’ scheme managed by local public employment services. A training voucher issued by the PES to an unemployed may be used, within the limits of its value, to fund an agreed training action, the beneficiary of the voucher may select a provider from those listed in the dedicated PES online website. CVET training of the unemployed is provided on the basis of two types of training contracts:
- a bipartite VET contract between the unemployed person and the local PES: the unemployed person selects from a list of available VET programmes established based on labour market forecasts and employers surveys. After the completion of the training programme, the unemployed person undertakes to work in the position offered by the local PES for at least six months or start own business; or
- a tripartite VET and employment contract (between the unemployed person, local PES and employer): a training programme and its provider are agreed with the employer. After the end of the training programme, the employer undertakes to employ the unemployed person for at least six months. If the actual costs of training exceed the limits established by the government, the difference is covered by the learner or the employer. The same procedure is applied to training persons notified of dismissal.
In 2014-20 up to EUR 84.6 million ESF funding are to be allocated in Lithuania for lifelong learning and VET: EUR 44.6 million for increasing the relevance and attractiveness of vocational and adult training to the labour market needs; and EUR 40 million for providing opportunities and incentives for life-long learning and ensuring efficient support.
The funding system for general education schools and VET institutions depends on the number of students which leads to competition between these two networks in attracting and keeping learners. The new Law on VET (2017) () set the requirements for a new funding model for the entire VET system, implementing provisions are being developed. The new funding for VET combined with new VET programmes tailored on the basis of skills forecasts is expected to raise the attractiveness of VET.
Teaching personnel in IVET institutions
Teaching personnel, total (*)
Of which, vocational teachers
(*) At the beginning of the school year.
Source: Statistics Lithuania database, 2018.
In IVET institutions there are two main types of teachers (see table above):
- general education subject teachers;
- vocational teachers. On average, vocational teachers represent more than half of all teaching personnel in IVET institutions.
In formal CVET programmes, theoretical or practical vocational content is provided by IVET teachers.
Apprenticeships in formal IVET/CVET are marginal and requirements for in-company tutors are not clearly defined in respective legislation.
VET institutions that focus on training the (un)employed, such as labour market training centres, may introduce in-company trainers (nationally referred to as apprenticeship tutors or practical training instructors). Private training providers offering training leading to formal VET qualifications need a licence from the Education ministry.
General requirements for all VET teachers are set by the 2011 Law on Education (). VET teacher training follows a consecutive model whereby a vocational qualification is studied first, followed by studies on pedagogy.
VET teachers without a pedagogical qualification, irrespective of their educational attainment level, are offered a 120-hour course on pedagogy and psychology. These courses are organised by accredited institutions and companies.
Additionally, universities provide programmes for the pedagogical education of vocational teachers ().
Since September 2018, a new teachers’ remuneration system has been put in place with a view to introducing more favourable payment conditions for (VET) teachers. Salaries are calculated not only for actual lessons but for all the time spent working. This will give teachers greater stability and security. The job consists of three components: contact hours (lessons, after-school activities, counselling, supervising students’ final projects), non-contact hours (preparation for lessons, assessment of achievements) and non-contact hours for the school community () (work with parents, guiding student pedagogical practical training and other efforts relevant to the school community).
Continuing professional development training courses for VET teachers in schools include topics such as creativity, distance learning methods, digitalisation of curricula, VET for special needs learners, as well as on training resources, mentorship, teaching methodologies and differentiation of learning.
In 2017, 764 vocational teachers and VET institutions’ managers attended training courses on such topics as empowerment of sectoral practical training centres, evaluation of learning outcomes, VET didactics, application of research in VET practice and other topics.
In October 2016, a national level project () Development of the system for the development of vocational and adult teachers' qualifications was launched. It is coordinated by the Qualifications and VET Development Centre ( ), under the responsibility of the education ministry ( ).
A joint EU-funded Baltic project is testing a joint training project for VET subject teachers in schools and in-company trainers. A pilot training programme run in 2017 with 56 VET schools and apprenticeships tutors trained.
More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ().
Since 2016, a monitoring system has been developed mapping occupational qualifications of skilled workers. It provides skills forecasts on future employment trends using a set of indicators approved by the education ministry (such as graduates tracking; number of people in employment and further education). These are used to inform education and lifelong learning policies and plan funding of public schools (VET schools and vocational guidance are state funded based on a per capita financing system, the so-called ‘student basket’).
Following the new VET law (in force since Feb 2018), the Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre (MOSTA) coordinates the monitoring framework for VET and higher education, research and innovation. Its first report (September 2018) presents trends in human resources development and a detailed analysis of skill needs per region; it also examines integration of skilled workforce into the labour market at the beginning of their career, and correspondence of HE and VET qualifications to the labour market needs ().
Medium-term forecasts are also being developed as part of a two-year ESF-funded project (2017-19) to monitor trends in employment and better matching of occupations and training programmes listed in the national register of qualifications ().
A methodical framework for the development of sectoral qualifications standards and VET curricula in line with the Lithuanian and European Qualifications Frameworks is under development (): in total, 24 qualifications standards will be created defining the major qualifications offered at different levels and sectors.
See also Cedefop’s skills forecast () and European Skills Index ( ).
From 2002, VET curricula in Lithuania have been competence-based, with clearly defined learning outcomes.
VET programmes are being gradually redesigned into modular programmes consisting of mandatory and optional units ().
Sectoral qualifications standards
To improve the Lithuanian qualification development system, qualifications standards were given a legal basis by legislation in 2007. They are developed for a particular economic sector and are use to describe the most important qualifications in the specific sector at different national qualifications (LTQF) levels. For each qualification the qualifications standard describes competences that are grouped into qualification units ().
Since 2018, the education ministry (in charge of national qualification system policy) has delegated development of sectoral qualifications standards to the Qualifications and VET development centre () through its 18 sectoral professional committees (SPCs), which have been set up to ensure effective social dialogue. SPCs operate in specific sectors of the economy (where skill mismatch ito ensure matching of skills demand and supply). When relevant, other ministries and governmental institutions participate in developing qualifications standards.
Till 2018, ten sectoral qualifications standards were designed () and 14 new standards in different sectors will be designed till the end of 2020 ( ).
Sectoral qualifications standards are also used to assess the learning outcomes of a vocational qualification. Identifying qualifications standards in all sectors and at all qualification levels is necessary to improve permeability between different education levels () and flexibility in skill acquisition.
The MoES has delegated development of sectoral qualifications standards to the Qualifications and VET development centre () through its 18 sectoral professional committees (SPCs) set up to ensure effective social dialogue. Sectoral professional committees are responsible for designing qualifications standards in specific sectors of the economy.
VET curricula design
Since 2010, the Qualifications and VET development centre (KPMPC) is responsible for designing or updating national modular VET programmes. Before a new programme is issued, sectoral professional committees are also consulted on sectoral qualifications standards used for developing the programme curricula (see above).
VET providers and enterprises can also initiate and design modular training programmes, but in this case the quality of the VET programme has to be evaluated by the Qualifications and VET development centre.
In 2018, 89 modular programmes are registered in the national register of qualifications (), of which 58 were implemented in the school year 2017/18 (47 in 2016/17), in the same year, 38% of VET learners were enrolled in such programmes (compared with 11% in 2016/17). New sectoral qualifications standards and modular programmes are being developed ( ); by 2020, 70 new programmes will be developed.
The national quality assurance approach for VET is set out in the VET quality assurance (QA) system concept (2008). The approach includes licensing and supervision of training providers, mandatory self-assessment by all VET providers, external evaluation of the quality of training programmes, support to VET providers (related training and counselling), and a national regulation on developing standards for learning outcomes. The 2017 Law on VET () set the rules for quality assurance in line with the European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET).
Internal quality management systems
The same QA arrangements apply for IVET providers as well as for CVET providers offering formal CVET programmes which are under the responsibility of the education ministry (MoES):
- new national monitoring indicators were created in 2017 and are used to conduct annual forecasts ( );
- most VET schools have introduced an ISO evaluation system adapted to education;
- since 2018, a new system of supervisor and school assessment is under development (system of leadership promotion).
No specific requirements are in place for non-formal VET providers ().
VET providers are free to choose their quality management model and to define periodicity and criteria for self-assessment.
The PDCA (plan-do-check-adjust) method is embedded into VET provision and is regarded as the backbone of VET quality assurance.
External evaluation and accreditation of VET providers
VET programmes have to follow qualifications standards. Training programmes are designed by the Qualifications and VET development centre (centrally) or by any other VET provider. In the latter case, the quality of the VET programmes must be checked by the Qualifications and VET development centre. If the VET programme receives a positive evaluation it is included in national register of qualifications (). A licence to carry out a registered VET programme is issued to a VET provider if it has sufficient resources to implement the VET programme, and vocational teachers or candidates for vocational teachers meet the requirements prescribed in VET programmes and the Law of Education;
Monitoring framework for VET and HE (state level)
Following the 2017 VET Law, the Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre (MOSTA) ensures the monitoring framework for VET and higher education, research and innovation. It plans human resources and forecasts new qualification requirements in line with national policies and the needs of the economy.
A unified electronic system for admissions to HE and VET institutions is place (2017). It is run by LAMA BPO, the ‘Lithuanian higher institutions association for organizing Joint Admission’- LAMA BPO (). The association involves 19 universities, 21 colleges (providing higher VET programmes) and over 70 VET institutions.
Design and approval of sectoral qualifications standards -which are the basis of VET programmes - and assessment of learner achievements are under the sole responsibility of the Qualifications and VET Development Centre (KPMPC).
As of 2019 sectoral qualifications standards will be approved by the director of KPMPC () after sectoral professional committees have endorsed them.
Several EQAVET indicators are used, including those on the destination of VET learners, the share of employed learners on completion of their training, and the mechanisms to identify training needs in the labour market ().
Relevant divisions of the MoES supervise the teaching process and activities, and audit activities, while the State audit office performs random checks of VET institutions, during which the rationale of their activities is also analysed.
An independent system for validation of prior learning is being developed through a four-year ESF-funded project () launched in 2018. It aims to improve the system of assessment and recognition of non-formal and informal learning and create monitoring and information tools for the assessment and recognition of prior learning.
Reforming the network of IVET and CVET providers
Funding for state schools (general or vocational ones) is calculated based on the number of students which leads to competition between the two types of school in attracting and keeping learners. Since 2015, a network of 42 sectoral practical training centres (SPTCs) was established in selected VET institutions to offer quality practical training in simulated environments using state-of-the-art technologies and equipment. The aim is to provide learners with skills valued in the (local) economy. These centres are open to VET and HE students, employees in enterprises, vocational teachers, etc. (). Recent study commissioned by the education ministry suggest that selected SPTCs should become ‘competence centres’ with extended responsibilities, including piloting new training methods and VET programmes; and supporting the continuing professional development of VET teachers and training.
Individuals, with at least one-year work experience and older than 18, can apply to VET institutions for recognition of their competences. The skills and knowledge of an applicant are defined on the basis of sectoral qualifications standards and relevant VET programmes. The applicant and the school then agree on a timetable of courses as necessary and a final qualification exam. Individuals who pass the exam organised by an accredited competence assessment institution are awarded a VET diploma.
When pursuing VET studies at a higher level, prior learning (or VET programme) is recognised as part of their training programme, affecting the duration of the programme.
Since 2018, the Qualifications and VET development centre is coordinating a four-year ESF-funded project () for the development of the national system for assessing and recognising competences and professional qualifications. Within this project, several sectoral practical training centres (SPTCs) ( ) have been selected to become competences assessment centres for the assessment of individually acquired competencies. Employers and employers’ representatives will be involved in the project. The legal framework is subject to parallel changes to ensure that in the future competences assessment will be performed only through these SPTCs/competence centres, which will eventually replace the 31 accredited institutions (independent private companies or associated business organisations operating as assessment centres, in charge of the final assessment of VET learners). The project aim is to support the unemployed (including newly arrived migrants) to gain qualifications though validation of prior learning and recognition of professional qualifications. The project activities include the creation of reference material for validation of prior learning (such as a bank of competence assessment tasks), methodologies and methodological tools (with model tasks) for the assessment of competencies. It will enhance institutional capacity to assess competencies and/or qualifications otherwise acquired by individuals; and create monitoring and information tools for the assessment and recognition of the acquired competencies.
For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ().
Bringing GE and VET closer together
Raising the attractiveness of VET is a policy priority. In the upper secondary general education path (11th and 12th grades) learners may choose from optional technological modules in textile and clothing; applied art, crafts and design; tourism and nutrition technologies; construction and wood processing; business, management and retail trade; mechanics and repair. Also, some general upper secondary curricula include VET programmes modules. When learners continue their studies in VET, the above-mentioned fields and VET modules are recognised as part of their VET programmes.
Since 2010, a technology subject can be part (on an optional base) of the matura exams at the end of upper secondary general education. It is possible for learners in either general or vocational streams to replace one general education subject with the technology subject.
Measures to improve mobility between VET and higher education
VET graduates who have finished upper secondary education programmes and who choose to continue in higher education have a few advantages over students coming from general education. Selection criteria and procedures for ranking graduates who apply for higher education studies are defined annually in a specific regulation. This regulation awards an additional enrolment point for graduates from VET in the same field of studies who performed exceptionally, or who have at least one year of work experience in this field. This additional point increases their chances of being admitted to a state-funded study place in colleges (professional bachelor programmes) and universities (from 2018).
In addition, to enter higher education institution at least three matura exams have to be taken. For example, from 2016, Lithuanian language and mathematics exams are compulsory for those willing to receive state funding for their studies. For upper secondary VET graduates who want to enrol in technological higher education programmes (ISCED 655), the final qualification exam may be recognised as a third matura exam.
Many Initial VET institutions have agreements regarding continuation of VET graduates studies in higher education institutions. They also cooperate with higher education institutions (colleges, universities) in drafting programmes that ensure continuity of VET programmes at tertiary level.
Incentives for youth
VET to acquire a first qualification is free of charge. Initial VET learners may receive a student grant (EUR 10-29) and other material support. Based on data from Statistics Lithuania, around 51% of IVET learners received such a student grant in 2017. Socially disadvantaged learners who do not receive the grant are provided free meals and other material support.
Learners who do not live near the learning institution are provided with hostel accommodation. Based on data from the Centre for Information Technologies in Education, around 99% of those who need hostel accommodation receive it (Statistics Lithuania, 2017).
Training leave for employees
The Labour Code (Parliament, 2016) sets out training leave conditions for employees participating in a VET programme, to prepare and take exams and tests, for consultations, etc. All employees who join a continuing VET course in formal continuing VET programmes at a VET provider are entitled educational leave while retaining their average salary. Since 2015, according to the Labour Code, employees may be granted training leave for up to five working days per year to participate in non-formal adult education.
To support participation in continuing VET tax incentives, grant schemes, paid and unpaid training leave and payback clauses are applied.
Tax incentives for individuals for both formal and non-formal VET were introduced in 2008. Persons paying income tax may claim training expenditure in their annual tax return. Up to 25% of training expenditure can be deducted. When a studying resident of Lithuania is not an income tax payer or has no possibility to exercise the right to deduct expenditure for VET or studies from their own income, such expenses may be deducted from their parents’ or other family members’ income.
Tax incentives for legal entities have been in place since 2005. The Law on Corporate Income Tax (Parliament, 2002) allows deductions for continuing training courses of employees that are linked to their present occupation.
Financial incentives To finance continuing VET, enterprises and organisations may use the grant schemes available from EU structural funds.
Payback clauses for individuals and future employers were both introduced in 2005. The provisions of the Labour Code allow employers to claim compensation from an employee for the costs of training over the past year if they quit their job before a previously agreed time.
Guidance services and providers
As defined by the Vocational Guidance Act () the main educational institutions that provide guidance services (career education, information and counselling) to their learners are general education schools and VET institutions.
Municipalities are responsible for organising and coordinating guidance services within their territory.
Nation-wide guidance and counselling is coordinated by the Lithuanian Students’ Non-Formal Education Centre. The centre is responsible for methodological assistance and advice to schools and educational support agencies and is involved in training career guidance staff. It ensures accessibility to modern guidance and counselling tools, and takes part in nationwide monitoring of guidance services for learners.
The Lithuanian Students’ Non-Formal Education Centre, together with the Centre for Information Technologies in Education, are responsible for providing quality information on learning opportunities and career planning on the main national web portal on learning opportunities, AIKOS (). This is an open information, guidance and counselling system, which addresses students, employees and guidance and counselling personnel. It informs on education and training programmes, providers, qualifications, occupations, admission rules, education and employment statistics. Other education institutions (pedagogical and psychological services, education support agencies, etc.) are involved in providing guidance services to the extent this is related to their functions and actual guidance needs of learners.
The Education Exchange Support Foundation manages the Euroguidance project and disseminates information on good practice examples in Lithuania and other European countries, new methods, creates various guidance and counselling tools and organises training seminars for guidance practitioners.
Local PES also provide vocational information and counselling services for jobseekers in addition to employment mediation. Youth labour centres of PES organise info-days on career issues, job fairs, Youth Guarantee promotion events and help students and graduates with finding a job or traineeship.
Organisation and funding
General education and VET institutions appoint a coordinator who manages guidance-related activities of career guidance staff, class or group tutors, teachers/vocational teachers, social pedagogues, psychologists, and other support staff.
In 2014, a career education programme was approved by the Minister for education and science for implementation in general education and VET institutions starting from September, 2014 (). The programme aims to help learners develop career management skills. It can be integrated into primary, general lower and upper secondary and VET curricula and can take the form of optional subjects or extracurricular activities.
Vocational guidance is funded from the ‘student basket’ (see Section 9. VET financing mechanisms) and other national and local budgets, sponsors, etc. In 2010-15 an ESF project was carried out by the Students’ Non-Formal Education Centre during which more than 1600 career guidance staff was employed in GE and VET institutions and trained. Funding was also provided for the development of guidance programmes and tools. By this project more than 163 000 learners received guidance and counselling services.
Learners can acquire career-related information on learning and job opportunities through information systems and various other activities such as study visits, excursions, meetings with representatives of educational institutions, employers and other people and other events. Vocational activation (profesinis veiklinimas), during which visits to enterprises and lectures are organised, is regarded as one of the most important aspects. Learners are encouraged to experience and learn about different types of work, employment areas, specific characteristics of occupations and career paths. Vocational counselling services help learners to identify and discuss individual needs and preferences, and advise them on issues related to career planning, choice of training or studies, employment and job search.
Please see also:
- guidance and outreach Lithuania national report ( );
- Cedefop’s labour market intelligence toolkit ( ).