There are 74 vocational education and training institutions in Lithuania attended by over 45,000 students. Vocational education and training institutions are being restructured as self-governing institutions in order to attract businesses into their management and to bring vocational education and training closer to labour market demands.
The vocational education system covers initial and continuing vocational education and training. The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the vocational education system. The Ministry is also the stakeholder of the majority of vocational education establishments. The majority of these are state budgetary institutions and some (20) are self-governing institutions. The main governing body of public vocational education and training establishments is the general meeting of stakeholders in which each stakeholder has one vote. Municipalities, social partners, and other stakeholders may participate in governing a vocational education establishment on equal terms with the main stakeholder (the Ministry of Education and Science).
Vocational schools provide both training leading to a qualification, and basic or secondary education. 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 1 to 2 years. Requirements for vocational education programmes are set out by the General Requirements and Vocational Education and Training Standardsof the Ministry of Education and Science. Vocational education programmes are developed by vocational education providers in cooperation with employers.
The education programme consists of two parts. The first part applies to all schools in the country and defines the fields of professional activities, competences, teaching goals, and assessment provisions. The second part is optional and covers teaching methods, subject programmes, teaching aids, etc. The programme must include Entrepreneurship, Civil Protection, Ecology, Information Technologies, and Foreign Language for Specific Purposes as subjects or modules.
Of the total time allocated to vocational subjects 60-70% should be devoted to practical training. Usually, practical training is conducted at the school or in a company. Training can also be part of an mobility programme.
The final assessment of qualifications is an independent one and is assessed by accredited competences assessment institutions.
Having completed the vocational education programme and passed examinations, students obtain a vocational qualification. Students who have completed their secondary education can continue their studies in colleges or universities. Successful graduates as well as graduates who have work experience according to their qualification receive additional points when entering institutions of higher education.
Using aid from EU Structural Funds, practical training centres for relevant branches of industry (sectoral practical training centres) equipped with modern facilities are being established at institutions of vocational education and training. It is planned to open a total of 42 sectoral practical training centres. They will be used not only by students of vocational education and training institutions, but also by students of universities and colleges. Well-equipped workshops will be open to everyone who wishes to enhance or acquire a profession.
The sectoral practical training centre – is a vocational education and training institution or a division thereof providing initial and continuing vocational education and training services to all residents of Lithuania and equipped with modern practical training facilities for one or several branches of industry.