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September 2017
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General Education

In Lithuania, general education is divided into the following stages:


Primary education

Primary education is compulsory. It lasts for 4 years (ages 6/7 to 10/11). The purpose of primary education programme is the development of a healthy, active, and creative child who has acquired elementary literacy, social, informational and cognitive skills, which are necessary for proceeding to basic (lower secondary) education.

The programme consists of the following subjects: moral education (religion or ethics), languages (mother tongue and first foreign language), mathematics, perception of the world, arts (drawing, music, dance, and theatre), and physical education. Schools may also choose to offer non-traditional curricula based on Montessori, Waldorf, Suzuki.

Pupil assessment may take any form, depending on the teacher, such as notes, reviews, and descriptions. However, no grades are given at this stage.

After successful completion of the primary education programme, pupils are awardedPradinio išsilavinimo pažymėjimas (Primary Education Certificate).


Basic (lower secondary) education

Basic (lower secondary) education is compulsory. It lasts for 6 years (ages 10/11 to 16/17). The purpose of basic education program is to provide an individual with the basics of moral, socio-cultural and civic maturity, general literacy and the basics oftechnological literacy, to cultivate national consciousness, to foster an intent and abilityto make decisions and choices and to continue learning.

The programme consists of two cycles: 5th – 8th and 9th – 10th grades. The purpose of first cycle is to integrate the basics of knowledge, abilities and skills. The second cycle is oriented to education of abstract thinking; the knowledge obtained at the latter is more generalized.

The program consists of the following subjects: moral education (religion or ethics), languages (mother tongue, first and second foreign languages), mathematics, natural sciences, social education (history, geography, civil education, economics and enterprise, psychology), arts (drawing, music, dance, theatre, and modern arts), information technologies, technologies, physical education. Some subjects could be studied at an intensified level.

At this stage, assessment is criterion-referenced. A 1 to 10 marking system is used with 10 as the highest mark and 4 as the lowest passing mark.

Pupils who satisfactory complete basic (lower secondary) education are awardedPagrindinio išsilavinimo pažymėjimas (Basic Education Certificate).


Secondary education

Secondary education is made available to everybody who has successfully completed basic (lower secondary) education. It lasts for 2 years (ages 17/18 to 18/19). The purpose of secondary education is to assist a person in the acquisition of general academic, socio-cultural and technological literacy, moral, national and civic maturity.

The core of the secondary program consists of the following subjects: moral education (religion or ethics), languages (mother tongue and foreign languages), mathematics, social education (history, geography, or an integrated social sciences course), natural sciences (biology, physics, chemistry, or an integrated natural sciences course), arts (drawing, music, dance, theatre, or modern arts), information technologies,technologies, and physical education. The choice of subjects for each pupil is based on individuality and differentiation.

After pupils complete secondary education curriculum, they have to take leaving examinations, which are of two types: state-level and school-level. School-level examinations are held and assessed at school, while state-level examinations are held and assessed at National Examination Centres. Up until 2010, all state-level examinations had an equivalent examination at school-level. From 2010, the following examinations are offered:

State and school level: Lithuanian

State level: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Information Technology, Mathematics, Foreign languages (English, French, Russian, German), Geography (offered only as school-level in 2010-2011).

School level: Native language (Belorussian, Polish, Russian, German), Arts, Music, Musicology, Technologies.

All pupils have to take an obligatory examination in the Lithuanian Language, which consists of two parts, and 1 elective examination. Previously more examinations were required (please see the table bellow).

1999-2001 5 examinations
2002-2006 4 examinations
2007-2009 3 examinations (Lithuanian and 2 electives)
since 2010   2 examinations (Lithuanian and 1 elective)

As in basic (lower secondary) education, assessment at school as well as in the school-level examinations is criterion-referenced. A 10 point scale is used with 10 as the highest mark and 4 as the lowest passing mark.

Until 2013, the results of the state-level examinations were norm-referenced rated on a 1–100 point scale. Since 2013, a criterion-referenced grading is being gradually introduced for state-level examinations with 100 as the highest mark and 16 as the lowest passing mark.

Pupils who successfully complete the secondary education curriculum and pass the required examinations are awarded Brandos atestatas (Maturity Certificate), which gives access to higher education in Lithuania.


Basic (lower secondary) and/or secondary education can also be acquired at vocational education schools (profesinės mokyklos). The programmes offered by vocational education schools combine basic (lower secondary) or secondary curriculum and vocational training. The duration of such programs is 2 or 3 years. After successful completion of such studies, pupils obtain Pagrindinio išsilavinimo pažymėjimas (Basic Education Certificate) or Brandos atestatas (Maturity Certificate) and Profesinio mokymo diplomas (Vocational Education Diploma).