According to the data of the open vocational information system AIKOS, in 2019, there were in Lithuania 220 municipal and 155 private institutions that provided the out-of-school education for schoolchildren. There were also 98 private, 3 state and 4 municipal institutions of non-formal education for adults. However, many non-formal education activities are not registered, they are provided by individual persons, public or private organisations. There is also lack of data how many adults and children take part in non-formal education.
In 2005, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania passed the Concept of Non-formal Education for Children. The Concept laid the basis for the policy of the non-formal children’s education, defined the principles of its organising and financing through the model of non-formal education voucher. The model foresaw that the state and municipalities would allocate a certain amount of money for each pupil of primary, basic and secondary school for non-formal education activities.
In order to encourage cultural institutions and creators of culture and evaluate their activities in the field of cultural education for children and youth, the Ministry of Culture has, since 2007, been awarding four prizes per year for the best education projects that were prepared and implemented for children and youth.
In 2012, the Concept of Non-formal Education of Children was revised in order to improve the system of non-formal education, create a new funding model and promote the development of this type of education. The analysis of the situation revealed the insufficient participation of children in this kind of education as only 20 per cent of schoolchildren took part in the activities of non-formal education in 2011. In addition to that, as the non-formal education of children was an autonomous function of municipalities, the network of providers of non-formal education and its financing was very uneven in individual municipalities. That determined unequal possibilities of children to participate in non-formal education programmes.
A plan for improving the funding of non-formal education of children was adopted in 2013. It encompassed three goals: to elaborate the financing model of non-formal children’s education, to improve the infrastructure and environment of non-formal children’s education, and to create the financing system of national projects of non-formal education.
According to the elaborated financing model of non-formal education that was introduced in 2015, the recommended amount of funding for non-formal education is 15 EUR per month for each pupil. Municipalities can change this amount according to their priorities, but it may not be less than 10 EUR and more than 20 EUR per month for each pupil. The funding can be allocated only to accredited programmes of non-formal education that were registered in a special register and evaluated by the commissions of municipalities. Accredited programmes are announced on the website of municipalities along with invitation for children and parents to register for programmes. The announcements of programmes are also available in AIKOS.
According to the data of AIKOS, since 2015, the number of children who participated in non-formal education programmes has constantly increased. In 2018, a total of 324 295 children learned in Lithuanian primary, basic and secondary education schools and 60 per cent of them attended non-formal education classes at various non-formal education institutions. However, the data covers only registered non-formal education providers and their programmes.
Table 29: The part of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education in 2016 – 2019
|Number of schoolchildren in primary, basic and secondary schools||330 870||327 783||324 295|
|Number of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education activities||163 035||178 599||195 370|
|Per cent of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education activities||49.27||54.49||60.24|
According to AIKOS, in 2018 there were in Lithuania 6 145 programmes of non-formal education for children. The 6 145 registered programmes are divided in 16 groups. 7 groups of them are related to arts and culture (music, fine arts, choreography and dance, theatre and drama, tourism and regional studies, media, and ethno culture). The greatest number of programmes is in the group of music and they are attended by the 6.23 per cent of schoolboys and 12.11 per cent of schoolgirls. The sport programmes are in the second place and the fine arts programmes take the third place. However, the statistics covers only registered programmes and their participants, not all non-formal education programmes operating in Lithuania.
Table 30: Statistics of non-formal education for children in 2018
|Group of programmes||Number of non-formal education programmes||Boys participating in non-formal education programmes||Girls participating in non-formal education programmes||Boys: per cent of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education programmes||Girls: per cent of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education programmes|
|Music||2 422||10 333||19 275||6.26||12.11|
|Fine art||413||3 340||10 365||2.02||6.51|
|Choreography and dance||300||3 255||13 330||1.97||8.38|
|Theatre and drama||124||756||1 816||0.46||1.14|
|Sport||1 494||44 875||19 069||27.17||11.98|
|Technical creation||212||3 994||980||2.42||0.62|
|Tourism and regional studies||25||919||1 114||0.56||0.70|
|Nature, ecology||61||854||1 263||0.52||0.79|
|Road traffic safety||21||1 099||1 371||0.67||0.86|
|Information technology||161||2 529||817||1.53||0.51|
|Languages||197||2 624||3 579||1.59||2.25|
|Citizenship||100||2 864||2 739||1.73||1.72|
|Other||397||4 478||5 675||2.71||3.57|
|Total number and per cent of schoolchildren participating in non-formal activities||83 785||85 035||50.73||53.43|
|Total number of schoolchildren in primary, basic and secondary schools||165 150||159 145|
In general, the financing model based on pupil’s voucher increased the number of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education. The system, however, needs further improvements. The issue of the uneven development of the network of institutions of non-formal education in separate municipalities (especially in smaller towns and rural areas) still remains; thus, children do not have equal opportunities to participate in non-formal education. Furthermore, there is a lack of diversity of programmes since music and sport activities predominate. However, according to the Lithuanian Schoolchildren’s Union, not everyone is able and willing to attend music and sports classes. Thus, it is important to increase the range of activities available. In addition to that, the allocated sum of money for each child only covers a small part of the amount needed to pay for participation in non-formal education and therefore informal learning remains too expensive for families that have more children or a lower income.