Lithuanian education system, encompassing all its cycles – primary, secondary and university education – was developed in the sixteenth century. First schools opened up at the end of the the same century. It was in the sixteenth century that Lithuania saw a rapid development of parish (primary) schools, and Catholic schools.
Since there were no higher education schools in Lithuania, the nobility used to send their children to nearby universities in Western Europe. A local university was founded in 1579, i.e. Vilnius University that happens to be among the oldest in Eastern Europe. The university did not take long to bring the level of its studies to that of universities in Prague, Krakow, Vienna and Rome. In 1753, Vilnius University opened up the Astronomical Observatory, which also happens to be among the oldest in Europe and fourth in the world.
In 1773, we came down in Europe’s history by opening the first Ministry of Education –Education Commission – as it was then called. This education body had authority over the territories of Lithuania and Poland. The Education Commission has been entrusted with a reform of the entire education system.
Much later, in the period between 1918 and1940, when an Independent State of Lithuania was emerging, education was based on national culture, as in most of Western Europe.
In 1922, another university was founded in Kaunas. Shortly afterwards other ten higher education schools followed suit.
Lithuanian education system underwent a radical change under the Soviet occupation. Both the content and the form of education were overhauled, and the system fell into the hands of Moscow. Education in all its cycles was permeated with one ideology. The truth is that all the subjects were taught in the Lithuanian language.
Education reform began in 1988. It was then that the core principles of Lithuanian education system – national identity, democracy, humanism and change – were identified and made public. The Soviet education system was basically changed at the end of 1992.
Now, Lithuania has a wide range of educational institutions: public and private, secular, and religious (representing various confessions) as well as on ethnic basis.
The development of Lithuanian education system focuses on the modernization and harmonization of the learning system and learning conditions. The idea is to provide the best quality education for both children as well as adults.
For more information about the current education system operating in Lithuania, see Lithuanian education system.