5. Arts and cultural education
Last update: May, 2022
The state institution responsible for education at all levels is the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The Ministry develops one-year and long-term educational investment programmes; approves requirements for the regulations of state-run and municipal schools; approves the general curriculum content of formal education, and achievement levels; organises and coordinates the accreditation of the secondary education programme; approves the procedure of consecutive learning under general education programmes and the procedure for organisation and implementation of Matura exams; establishes, liquidates, and reorganises vocational schools; and approves general vocational education plans.
The principles of education in Lithuania are stated in the Law on Education (1991) (last edition in 2015). According to the Law, the education system of Lithuania comprises the following: 1) formal education (primary, basic, secondary education, formal vocational education and training and higher education studies); 2) non-formal education (pre-school, pre-primary, other non-formal education of children (as well as the teaching that supplements formal education) and of adults); 3) informal education; 4) educational assistance (vocational guidance, informational, psychological, socio-pedagogical, special pedagogical and special assistance of education, healthcare at school, consultation, in-service training of teachers and other assistance).
In Lithuania, school education is compulsory for pupils until they reach the age of sixteen. Compulsory education is usually provided up to the 10th form (2nd form of the gymnasium). After completion of the 10th form, pupils must take the basic education achievement test in the Lithuanian language, mathematics, and an elective basic education achievement test in a mother tongue (Belarusian, Polish, Russian or German). After acquiring basic education and obtaining the basic education certificate, they may continue learning under the programmes for secondary education or vocational education and training or under the combined programme for secondary education and vocational education and training in order to acquire their first qualification.
Pre-primary education is compulsory from age 6 to 7. Its purpose is to help a child prepare for learning according to the primary education curriculum. Pre-primary education is carried out according to a one-year general pre-primary education curriculum approved by the Minister of Education and Science. Its content is focused on the development of the child’s general competences – social and health care, knowledge and understanding of the world, communication, and artistic expression – through integrated development activities. Private, state or municipal kindergartens, school-kindergartens, schools or other institutions, as well as freelance educators or other education providers can provide pre-primary education.
According to the Law on Education, children who have reached the age of seven must attend the first form. The duration of the primary education programme is four years. Compulsory primary education can be obtained in kindergarten-schools, in primary schools and, less commonly, in basic or secondary schools. After completion of their primary education, pupils begin the 6-year basic education. The purpose of basic education is to provide an individual with the basics of moral, sociocultural and civic maturity, general literacy, and the basics of technological literacy to cultivate national consciousness, to foster an intent and ability to make decisions and choices and to continue learning. Basic education is acquired upon completion of the basic education curriculum and testing the pupils’ learning achievements.
Secondary education is not compulsory and usually lasts two years (11th-12th forms of the secondary school (3rd-4th forms of the gymnasium). The purpose of secondary education is to assist a person in the acquisition of general academic, sociocultural and technological literacy, moral, national and civic maturity, and the basics of vocational competence. Secondary education is acquired upon completion of the secondary education curriculum and the passing of Matura examinations.
Vocational schools provide both basic and secondary education training leading to a qualification. The duration of the programmes can be either two or three years depending on whether it is intended to provide basic or secondary education or whether it is adapted to persons with special needs. The duration of studies for students who have already acquired secondary education is one to two years. Requirements for vocational education programmes are set out by the General Requirements and Vocational Education and Training Standards of the Ministry of Education and Science. Vocational education programmes are developed by vocational education providers in cooperation with employers.
According to the Law on Education, higher education studies is provided to everyone who has acquired at least secondary education, has enrolled in a higher education institution and is capable of studying independently. Foundations of activities of higher education institutions and studies therein are set out by the Law on Higher Education and Research (2009) (last edition in 2022).
All levels of formal education are partly funded in Lithuania on the principal of a pupil or student “voucher”, i. e. pupils and students can choose a school and the school receives funding depending on the number of students. The student’s voucher is a fixed subsidy of the state that is distributed through municipalities to schools and non-formal education institutions and through the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport to high schools. The size of the pupil and student voucher is set by the government. This model of funding was launched in 2002 and gradually introduced to all stages of education. The pupil or student voucher is provided to both state and private educational institutions. In state schools, the founder provides the remaining funds needed, and private schools can raise the money by charging tuition fees, receiving it through private sponsorship, etc. The money for the pupil or student voucher cannot be allocated to needs other than education.
In 2018, the 17th Lithuanian Government (counting from 1990 when Lithuanian regained independence) adopted the structural reform of the whole system of education. The reform addresses challenges of all levels of education; it encompasses measures and sets goals to be achieved to 2021. According to the concept of the reform, the main challenges in the field of general school education are an ineffective network of schools and the low prestige of the teaching profession. In Lithuania, the teaching profession is considered as unattractive due to the relatively low salaries for high qualifications, and the low workload for many teachers, which forces them to look for additional sources of income, thus leaving little room for full focus on pedagogical activities. The school network reform has registered the declining number of pupils; one fifth of schools are very small, therefore the principle of a pupil’s voucher does not give equal possibilities for all pupils to have access to the same quality of education. To meet these challenges, the Government seeks to introduce a class voucher, promote school mergers, and create an optimum number of full-time teaching jobs. The issue of an ineffective network of schools exists in higher education as well. Over the last 15 years, the number of graduates and entrants to universities decreased (-25 % over 4 years). The number of universities and study programmes, however, remains relatively stable. Because of that, university admissions demonstrate an ever-lower competition score; many programmes make no student selection whatsoever. In addition to that, similar study programmes are offered across many universities and colleges, and the scattering of scientific resources does not guarantee the quality of competencies and training. To meet these challenges, the Government seeks to optimise the network of universities and vocational education establishments.
Last update: May, 2022
In Lithuania, the curricula of all three stages of state school education (primary, basic and secondary) are shaped by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports. According to the general descriptions of primary, basic and secondary education, the curricula of these stages have to encompass 6, 8 and 7 study fields. Primary education comprises 6 study fields: moral education (religion or ethics), languages (mother tongue and first foreign language), mathematics, natural and social sciences, arts and technologies, and physical and health education. The curriculum of basic education comprises the following study fields: moral education (religion or ethics), languages (mother tongue and literature, first and second foreign languages), mathematics (mathematics and informatics), natural sciences (biology, physics, chemistry, etc.), social sciences (history, geography, civil education, economics, entrepreneurship, citizenship), arts (fine arts, music, dance, theatre, and modern arts), technologies (nutrition, textiles, construction materials, electronics, product design and technology, etc.), and physical education. Some subjects can be studied at an intensified level. The third stage of education comprises the same study fields as basic education except technologies.
Subjects of the arts, i.e. fine arts, music, dance, theatre, and modern arts are the compulsory part of education at all three stages. The aim of this part of the curriculum is the development of general artistic competencies of pupils and their ability to express oneself creatively by means of art, and to understand and value artistic creation. The developed artistic competencies should help pupils to make informed and independent decisions about further learning and participation in artistic creation and culture. However, according to the curriculum plans approved by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, compulsory subjects in the primary and basic stages of education only include the fine arts and music. The schools may offer subjects of dance and theatre depending on their possibilities and the preferences of pupils.
Pupils with artistic abilities can choose to enrol in special arts or music schools that combine general education with specialised artistic education. According to the data of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport there are 9 specialised art schools in Lithuania, funded by the state and/or municipalities: 4 schools specialising in music, 1 specialising in fine arts, 3 schools combining fine arts and music, and 1 school combining fine arts, music and ballet. In 2018, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, launched a cultural education measure for schoolchildren called the Cultural Pass (Kultūros pasas). The aim of the measure is to improve access to cultural and educational projects and events and to develop the cultural awareness and experience of schoolchildren by providing appropriate cultural and artistic services (see chapter 6.1 for more about the measure).
Last update: May, 2022
Higher education in Lithuania is regulated by the the Law on Higher Education and Research (2009) (last edition in 2022). According to Law, there are two types of higher education institutions in Lithuania: universities (Lith. universitetas) and colleges (Lith. kolegija). The university is an institution that carries out university studies, conducts research, experimental (social, cultural) development and/or develops high-level professional art. The name of a higher education institution of this type must contain a word ‘’university’’ or ‘’academy’’, or ‘’seminary’’. Colleges carry out college studies, develop applied research and/or professional art. The name of a higher education institution that carries out such activities must contain a word ‘’college’’ or ‘’higher education institution’’. Universities and colleges have autonomy, which covers academic, administrative, economic and financial management activities, and is based on the principle of self-governance and academic freedom.
The degree structure of higher education in Lithuania follows a three-cycle structure: the first cycle – professional bachelor’s, bachelor’s degree studies; the second cycle – master’s degree studies; the third cycle – doctoral studies. Professional bachelor’s study programmes of the first cycle may be carried out by colleges and bachelor’s study programmes of the first cycle by universities. Study programmes awarding a degree of the second cycle may be carried out by universities. Doctoral studies may be carried out by universities or universities together with research institutes. The first cycle of studies (bachelor’s) usually lasts 4 academic years, the second cycle (master’s) 2 years and the third cycle (doctoral) 4 years.
Higher education institutions are financed in Lithuania from the state budget, funds of state investment programmes, income received as payment for studies, as well as income received from economic, research activities and rendered services, funds appropriated by international and foreign foundations and organizations, funds received as charity under the Law on Charity and Sponsorship and other funds received in legal ways.
Studies at universities and colleges are partly funded by the state. The Government establishes the distribution of funds for study areas according to the needs of the national economic, social and cultural development and financial possibilities of the State. State-funded student places are allocated to higher education institutions in accordance with the choice among higher education institutions made by enrolling persons who have completed the secondary education programme with the best results (student voucher principle), without exceeding state funding established for each study area. Persons who do not get the state-funded student place have to pay a tuition fee. This fee may be reimbursed if a student has finished with the best results in the first two academic years and the remaining academic years.
In 2019, there were 19 universities and 22 colleges in Lithuania. Universities conducted 85 study programmes in the arts registered in the open vocational information system AIKOS, and colleges conducted 23.
Table 28: Study programmes in arts at universities in 2022
|Field of studies||Number of programmes||Titles of the first cycle study programmes (Bachelor) 49||Titles of the second cycle study programmes (Master) 36|
|Architecture||6||Architecture (4 programmes)||Architecture (2 programmes)|
|Artworks restoration||3||Fine art works and interior restoration (2 programmes)||Fine art works and interior restoration (1 programme)|
|Dance||2||Dance, Subcultures of Dance|
|Design||19||Visual Design and Media, Design, Graphic design, Interior design, Costume design, Fashion Design, Environmental Objects Design, Visual Design (12 programmes)||Design, Graphic design, Visual design, Visual Communication Design, Visual Plastic Art, Fashion design (7 programmes)|
|Film||4||Film Art, Screenwriting, Cinematography||Film Art|
|Fine Art||26||Graphic Art, Ceramics, Metal Art and Jewellery, Monumental arts, Scenography, Sculpture, 4D Objects of Art, Applied Graphics, Applied Ceramics, Textile Art Media, Painting, Textile Art and Design, Fine Art (13 programmes)||Graphic Art, Monumental arts, Scenography, Sculpture, Glass Art and Design, Applied graphics, Applied Ceramics, Textile Art Media, Painting, Textile Art and Design, Fine arts, Applied Arts (13 programmes)|
|Landscape architecture||1||Landscape architecture|
|Media Art||4||Animation, Photography and Media Arts, New Media Art (3 programmes)||Photography and Media Arts (1 programme)|
|Music||9||Composition, Music Studies, Musical Folklore, Music Performance, Music Technologies, Music Production, Performance Art, Sound Directing (5 programmes)||Composition, Music Performance, Electronic Composition and Performance, Performance Art, Sound Directing Musical Folklore (4 programmes)|
|Theatre||4||Theatre Art, History and Criticism of Performing and Film Arts, Acting Puppet and Object Theatre Directing, Directing, Acting (3 programmes)||Theatre Art (1 programme)|
Several universities and colleges also conduct programmes in the field of communication closely related to the arts and culture, e. g. Media and Communication, Creative Communication, Creative Industries, Creative and Culture Industries, the Fashion Industry, Political Communication and Journalism, Entertainment and Tourism Industries, Entertainment Industries, Integrated Creative Communication, Communication of the Creative Society, and Communication and Creative Technologies.
There are also programmes in management and public administration, related to arts and culture, e.g. Art Management, Cultural and Creative Industries Management, Sports and Tourism Management, Cultural and Tourism Management, and Cultural Management and Cultural Policy.
The main high schools of arts education in Lithuania are the Vilnius Academy of Arts (VDA) and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LMTA). VDA has four faculties that are located in different cities of Lithuania – Vilnius, Kaunas, Telšiai and Klaipėda. Each faculty has its own undergraduate and graduate study programmes. According to the data of VDA, in 2022, more than 1550 students were studying at the Academy in 46 study programmes. The Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre has three faculties; two of them (Faculty of Music and Faculty of Theatre and Film) are located in Vilnius and one in Klaipėda. According to the data of LMTA, its three faculties currently host about 1,000 students in three study cycles – bachelors, masters and doctorates. The Bologna Declaration, which Lithuania signed in 1999, became an important document for Lithuanian higher education. Until 2022, Lithuania implemented or created conditions for the implementation of several measures of the Bologna Declaration. In 2000, the Minister of Education and Science approved rules for the evaluation of higher education and research institutions. In 2002, the first evaluation of study programmes by international experts was carried out. In 2005, the Law on Higher Education and Research (2009) was amended to provide for joint study programmes. According to the law, higher education institutions may implement joint study programmes on completion of which a joint qualification degree is awarded, as well as programmes which, on completion, award a double qualification degree. A joint qualification degree is awarded when a study programme is implemented by at least two higher education institutions, usually from different countries. However, until 2022, only one joint study programme in arts was launched, i. e. the joint programme of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre ECMAster (European Chamber Music Master). In 2011, ECTS credits were approved as the Lithuanian national learning credits system. From 2012, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture funds teaching visits of lecturers and professors from foreign universities to Lithuanian higher education institutions. The grant competition is organised, and the payment administered by the Education Exchanges Support Foundation. The Foundation also administers other international exchange programmes and initiatives in the field of higher education and vocational training.
Last update: May, 2022
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.
Last update: May, 2022
The vocational education system is regulated by the Law on Vocational Education and Training (1997) (last edition in 2021). According to the Law, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport is responsible for the vocational education system. The Ministry shapes and implements the vocational education policy, participates in the shaping of human resources development policy and implements it, approves the general plans for vocational education, etc. In 2018, the Ministry adopted the Description of the Procedure for the Development and Registration of Vocational Training Programmes. The Description sets out the scope, structure and elements of the formal and non-formal vocational training programmes, and the procedure for the preparation, updating, evaluation and registration of the vocational training programmes or its modules.
According to the system LAMAbpo, there are 56 state vocational education institutions, 4 statutory and 2 private institutions in Lithuania . Vocational schools provide both training leading to a qualification, as well as basic or secondary education. The duration of programmes can be either two or three years, depending on whether it is intended to provide basic or secondary education, or adapted to persons with special needs. The duration of studies for students who have already acquired secondary education is 1 to 2 years. Vocational education and training programmes are developed by VET providers in cooperation with employers.
In 2022, according to the open vocational information system AIKOS, there were 751 registered vocational education and training programmes in Lithuania, 79 which were in the field of the arts.
Table 32: Study programmes in arts and qualifications granted by vocational education establishments in 2022
|Field of studies||Number of programmes||Qualifications granted|
|Audio-visual techniques and media production||29||Photographer, Animator, Visual advertisement producer, Audio and video equipment operator, Stage technical service employee, Layout editor, Graphics technician, Printing technician.|
|Handicrafts||31||Fine ceramics manufacturer, Handicraftsperson, Basketry handicraft's producer, Florist, Fine textile handicraft's producer, Ceramicist, Jeweller, Manufacturer of ware (glass, metal, wood, stone), Manufacturer of articles (textiles, leather).|
|Design||11||Interior decorator, Decorator, Stage decorator|
|Music and performing arts||8||Ballet artist, Contemporary dance performer, Make-up artist, Contemporary dancer|