Lithuania background information
How the official decision of special educational needs (SEN) in the country relates to the agreed EASIE operational definition
An official decision leads to a child/learner being recognised as eligible for additional educational support to meet their learning needs.
Criteria for an official decision of SEN
- There has been an educational assessment procedure involving a multi-disciplinary team
- The multi-disciplinary team includes members from within and external to the child’s/learner’s (pre)school
- There is a legal document which describes the support the child/learner is eligible to receive and which is used as the basis for planning
- The official decision is subject to a formal, regular review process
Educational assessment procedure in the country
A Child Welfare Commission conducts primary evaluation of children’s/learners’ special educational needs. A child’s/learner’s special educational needs (except those arising from exceptional talents) are evaluated by a pedagogical-psychological service for pedagogical, psychological, medical and socio-pedagogical aspects. Special education shall be allocated by the head of a pedagogical-psychological service and, in certain cases, by the school principal with the consent of the parents/guardians/carers, in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Minister of Education and Science.
How the multi-disciplinary team is comprised in the country
The Child Welfare Commission consists of three to five people. Commission members may include the school head, the head of the school’s department for education, educational assistance specialists (social pedagogue, psychologist, special pedagogue, speech therapist), health care professionals, class leaders (tutors), teachers and educators. The Commission may include parents/guardians/carers, local community representatives and other stakeholders in the child’s/learner’s welfare.
The legal document used in the country to outline the support that the child/learner is eligible to receive
The relevant documents include:
- Law on Education (2011)
- The Model of Provision of Special Pedagogical and Psychological Assistance (2003)
- The description of the procedure for providing special assistance in schools (other than higher education institutions) (2011)
- The procedure for assessment of learners with special educational needs and assignment of their special education (2011)
- The procedure for providing special pedagogical assistance (2011)
- The Interinstitutional Action Plan of complex assistance, improvement of the quality of activities of special education schools/centres and children’s socialisation centres in 2015–2017 (2015).
How the document is used as the basis for planning in the country
The 17th Government Programme 2017–2020 and the Government’s Implementation Plan provide measures for strengthening and developing inclusive education up until 2020 (2017). One of the goals is to create equal conditions for early and general education, including non-formal education, to seek the diversity of educational institutions, taking into account the specific needs of the local community and children/learners. It aims to apply educational programmes to meet different educational needs, ensuring equal opportunities and accessibility for different social groups (bilingual people, people with disabilities and people with special needs).
The formal, regular review process in the country
The Ministry of Education and Science, institutions authorised by the Minister of Education and Science, municipal administrations and schools carry out education monitoring in accordance with the education monitoring indicators and procedure. Educational monitoring, research, self-assessment, external evaluation of school activities, certification of school leaders and teachers, and assessment of learning achievements serve to improve the quality of education.
The EASIE work uses an 80% benchmark of inclusive education. This is defined as:
An inclusive setting refers to education where the child/learner with SEN follows education in mainstream classes alongside their mainstream peers for most – 80% or more – of the school week.
Proxy indicator used
Placement in a mainstream class implies over 80% or more.
Details on what the country proxy is
Children/learners with SEN in mainstream classes spend no less than 80% of school time with their non-disabled peers. They have some hours for special assistance or special lessons, but no more than 20%.
Why this proxy was used
This proxy was used because there is no clearer data on the number of support hours allocated to a child/learner.
Difficulties in using the proxy
The data on the number of children with SEN in ISCED level 02 is questionable.
Specific country issues in applying the proxy indicator
The 2011 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) defines ‘formal education’ as follows:
[…] education that is institutionalised, intentional and planned through public organizations and recognised private bodies and, – in their totality – constitute the formal education system of a country. Formal education programmes are thus recognised as such by the relevant national education or equivalent authorities, e.g. any other institution in cooperation with the national or sub-national educational authorities. Formal education consists mostly of initial education […] Vocational education, special needs education and some parts of adult education are often recognised as being part of the formal education system. Qualifications from formal education are by definition recognised and, therefore, are within the scope of ISCED. Institutionalised education occurs when an organization provides structured educational arrangements, such as student-teacher relationships and/or interactions, that are specially designed for education and learning.
(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2011, International Standard Classification of Education ISCED 2011, p. 11).
Do the country definitions of formal, non-formal and informal education differ from the ISCED definitions?
Yes, Lithuania uses its own definitions.
- Formal education: education implemented according to education programmes approved and registered in accordance with a procedure laid down by legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, the completion of which results in the attainment of primary, basic, secondary or higher education and/or a qualification, or in the recognition of a competence necessary to carry out work or fulfil a function regulated by law.
- Non-formal education: education according to a variety of programmes geared to satisfy education needs, provide in-service training and acquire an additional competence, with the exception of formal education programmes.
How specific cases – such as home-educated children/learners – are considered
Children/learners who are educated at home through formal education programmes are considered as being in formal education. Home education is the form of organisation.
Children/learners who are considered out of formal education (meaning those not in formal education as defined by ISCED)
Out of formal education refers to children of compulsory school age (6–16) who are not attending pre-primary, primary or lower-secondary education programmes.
How the population of children/learners who are out of formal education is defined
- ‘Not learning child’ refers to a child under the age of 16 not registered in the Pupils’ Register, whose place of residence is declared in the relevant municipality, or a child enrolled in the record of people without a residence, according to the municipality where they live.
- ‘Child not attending school’ refers to a child who is registered in the Pupils’ Register, whose place of residence is declared in the relevant municipality, or a child enrolled in the record of people without a residence, according to the municipality where they live, but who did not attend school for a month without a justifiable reason, and has been out of school for more than half of the lessons or hours allocated for education.
Every child in Lithuania from 6 to 16 years of age must be educated in formal education programmes.
The data collection covers all sectors of education, including numbers for the child/learner population in the private sector.
Private sector education in the country
According to the Law on Education, a non-state school refers to one in which the owner or one of the stakeholders is not the State or a municipality.
Child/learner population counted for each relevant question
Data from private sector schools is included in the country data collection.
Specific issues with providing data on private sector education and how these have been overcome in the data collection
No specific issues for private education in pre-primary, primary and lower-secondary education programmes.
The following are the most common (pre)school entrance ages and (pre)school leaving ages for the different ISCED levels:
Age range in the country at ISCED level 02 (pre-primary): 6 to 7
Age range in the country at ISCED level 1: 7 to 10
Age range in the country at ISCED level 2: 11 to 16
Age range in the country at ISCED level 3: 17 to 19
Additional remarks, comments or explanations on the country background information
Pre-school and pre-primary education is non-formal in Lithuania. Pre-primary education (from six years of age) is compulsory.