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 non-formal children’s education, defined the principles of how it is organised and financed through the model of non-formal education vouchers. 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 2012, the Concept of Non-formal Education of Children was revised in order to improve the system of non-formal education, to create a new funding model and to 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 for 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 or 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 an invitation for children and parents to register for programmes. The announcement of programmes are available in the open vocational information system AIKOS. According to this system, in 2022, there have been 1576 public and private institutions and individual persons which have been accredited to provide nonformal education services for children. They have been running 9 259 programmes of non-formal education. There were also 101 institutions of non-formal education for adults that provided 5 175 programmes. However, not all non-formal education providers are accredited and registered, so their number may be higher.
The registered programmes are divided in 16 groups. 7 groups 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, with sport programmes in second place and choreography and dance programmes taking third place.
Table 29: Statistics of out-of-school education programmes for children in 2017-2022
|Number of out-of-school education programmes|
|Group of programmes||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021||2022|
|Music||2 340||2 500||2 644||2 707||2 754||2 718|
|Choreography and dance||520||559||574||634||711||707|
|Theatre and drama||178||200||213||223||239||221|
|Sport||1 937||2 099||2 294||2 372||2 414||2 271|
|Tourism and regional studies||57||65||51||50||54||55|
|Road traffic safety||24||29||60||65||71||59|
|Total number of programmes||7 606||8 363||8 911||9 313||9 658||9 259|
According to the data of AIKOS, since 2015, the number of children who participated in non-formal education programmes has constantly increased. In 2020, a total of 336 942 children learned in Lithuanian primary, basic and secondary education schools and about 60% of them attended out-of-school education classes. The data covers only registered non-formal education providers and their programmes.
Table 30: The part of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education out of school in 2016 – 2020
|Number of schoolchildren in primary, basic and secondary schools||330 870||327 783||334 602||335 358||336 942|
|Number of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education activities||163 048||178 606||195 376||214 104||201 801|
|Per cent of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education activities||49.28 %||54.49 %||58.39%||63.84%||59.89%|
According to the data of Education Management Information System, art and culture education programmes are more interesting for girls than for boys. Boys prefer activities of sport, technical creation and information technology.
Table 31: Boys and girls in non-formal education out of school in 2020
|Group of programmes||Number of non-formal education programmes in 2020||Number of boys and girls participating in non-formal education programmes||Per cent of boys and girls participating in non-formal education programmes*|
|Total number of boys and girls in schools||166 187||160 835|
|Music||2 707||10 234||18 486||6.16||11.49|
|Fine art||574||3 268||10 943||1.97||6.80|
|Choreography and dance||634||3 370||14 238||2.03||8.85|
|Theatre and drama||223||723||1 767||0.44||1.10|
|Sport||2 372||44 379||18 955||26.70||11.79|
|Technical creation||353||4 249||1 767||2.56||1.10|
|Tourism and regional studies||50||683||793||0.41||0.49|
|Nature, ecology||123||931||1 262||0.56||0.78|
|Road traffic safety||65||917||915||0.55||0.57|
|Information technology||376||3 149||947||1.89||0.59|
|Languages||397||1 707||2 257||1.03||1.40|
|Citizenship||228||2 617||2 592||1.57||1.61|
|Other||763||4 653||5 542||2.80||3.45|
In general, the financing model based on the pupil voucher system increased the number of schoolchildren participating in non-formal education out-of-school. 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) remains; thus, children do not have equal opportunities to participate in non-formal education. Furthermore, there is a lack of diversity of programmes as 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.