Country information for Lithuania - Financing of inclusive education systems

The main funding source for Lithuanian education is the public (state and municipal) budget.

In 2017, the Government allocated the equivalent of 4.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) from the state budget to education and science (Source: Eurostat). Sixty percent of this amount was used on education in International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) levels 0–4. Almost all state funding for education was allocated to state schools (3.88% of GDP, according to latest available data from Eurostat (2016)). Private schools also receive education resources from the government, but in the 2018–2019 school year there were just 64 private schools for general education (and 1,012 governmental or municipality schools). As such, private schools attract just a small percentage of the learner population (1.7%, according to data from the 2016–2017 school year) (Source: FPIES – Lithuania Country Report, p. 20).

Up until 2002, pre-primary schools and general education schools were financed by the municipal budgets on a scale that varied from one municipality to the next. School salary levels, however, were established by the central government.

A new system of financing general education schools was introduced in 2002. It was based on a per-capita (‘pupil/student basket’) model, whereby the money follows the pupil. This principle of funding per pupil was applied to pre-school, pre-primary and general education programmes. Central government allocated pupil basket funds to municipalities as targeted grants. Each year, parliament established the basic allocations for pupil education per capita. The total amount of pupil baskets in the school budget was dependent on the number of pupils in the school. In 2017, the pupil basket was EUR 1,059 (Source: Ministry of Education, Science and Sport). (Source and further information about the calculation of the pupil basket: FPIES – Lithuania Country Report, pp. 23–27).

The pupil basket funds served to implement the education plan approved by the Minister of Education and Science and Sport, i.e. funding teaching and administrative staff, social pedagogues and librarians, teacher in-service training, textbooks and other teaching aids.

As the general budget for education did not increase, this financing principle was revised in accordance with the changing data on the network of schools and class size. In 2018, a mixed funding method changed the pupil basket to a modified ‘class basket’. Funds for the implementation of the curriculum, most of which (94%) consist of teachers’ salaries, are calculated and allocated per class or kindergarten group and sometimes according to the number of learners (it is still popularly called the ‘class basket’). 

The new funding principle aims to encourage city schools to refuse overcrowded classes and give smaller schools financial stability. As well as the ‘pupil basket’, the state now funds educational costs and the owner of the school has to fund the housekeeping costs. If it is a private school, an additional fee may be collected from parents to fund housekeeping and other costs. 

The state allocates the ‘class basket’ to pupils learning in state, municipality and private schools. This decision is favourable for parents who prefer to choose private schools for their children as it lessens their financial burden.

Since 2008, Lithuania has allocated upwards of 35.6% of funding to the ‘pupil baskets’ for learners with SEN in mainstream settings. This funding is used for additional pedagogical (special pedagogical) and psychological services, teaching assistants, etc. 

In 2018, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved the Rules for calculation, allocation and application of teaching funds (Resolution no. 679). This is a fixed state subsidy to cover teaching costs. 

In pre-school, pre-primary and every general education class, the basic size of a group is set. The number of contact hours per year is indicated based on the class size. These indicators and the number of average contact hours for a teacher per year allows the calculation of the number of teachers needed for the class. The teacher’s salary factor, which depends on experience and qualification category, is applied in the calculation formula. Basically, teaching funds are tied to the basic salary amount. This changes if the basic salary amount changes. In 2019, it was EUR 173.

Additional funding:

  • If pupils follow pre-school or pre-primary education curricula in special schools or special groups, the basic education funds are doubled. 
  • The actual number of pupils with major or severe special education needs who are following pre-school or pre-primary education curricula in general groups is doubled.
  • Basic education funds increase by 5% for pupils learning pre-primary curricula in an ethnic minority language or learning an ethnic minority language.
  • In state or municipal schools implementing land or sea cadets’ curricula or their elements, specialised primary, lower-secondary and upper-secondary education with engineering curricula which do not have joint classes, the indexation factors of the conditional number of teachers needed for a class are increased by 10%.
  • In special education centres intended for pupils with SEN from across the whole country or region, the indexation factors for the conditional number of teachers needed for a class are increased by 5%.

The state allocates approximately 80% of the ‘class basket’ to the school. Almost all of the 80% is for salaries. A small percentage is for schools’ other education needs. 

Approximately 20% of the ‘class basket’ goes to municipalities. Municipalities cannot reallocate funds allocated to educational aid and the implementation of curricula supplementing formal education. Educational aid consists of psychological, special pedagogical, special aid and social pedagogical aid, the implementation of preventive programmes, and the upkeep of school library staff. (Source and further information: Eurydice).

Between 2006 and 2008, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport allocated about three million Lithuanian Litas (former Lithuanian currency, approximately EUR 860.5 thousand) to finance five hundred newly-established pupil support specialists in mainstream schools. However, this number is not sufficient and is decreasing over time. In 2018, there were 0.72 support teachers for every 100 pupils with SEN in mainstream schools. There were no support teachers in 9.4% of schools. As a result, the workload for support teachers is increasing. In 2018, one specialist worked with 44 pupils with SEN (Source: An Overview of the State of Education 2019).

The state (central government) budget finances vocational schools. The head teacher administers the budget of each individual institution. The head teacher is answerable to the central authorities. There were 1,611 pupils with SEN in vocational schools in the 2019–2020 school year. About 65.8% of pupils studied inclusively with peers. Separate groups are formed based on the nature of the disability (for example, intellectual disabilities) and according to the requirements of the vocational training programme. 

Higher education institutions, although financed by the state budget, enjoy considerable autonomy in relation to their courses and activities. Their resources are managed in accordance with their statutes.

Additional financing for schools with particular or greater needs was allocated from the Operational Programme for EU Structural Funds Investments for 2014–2020. This Programme plans to invest over 9% in the educational system, with the aim of improving pupils’ achievement in general education, the quality and labour market relevance of higher education, vocational education and training, and improving researchers’ abilities (priority axis 9).


Last updated 07/02/2020


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