- August 26, 2015
New school year in Lithuania: less students, more money
330 thousand students, including approximately 29 thousand first-year and 27 thousand senior year students, 33 thousand teachers, 1 200 schools – this is the statistics for the new school year which will begin in less than a week. Presenting the future of students and teachers during a press conference, the Minister of Education and Science Audronė Pitrėnienė said that the priority will be the quality of education and that she really hopes that the parents would commit to the education process of their children.
The number of students in comprehensive schools is decreasing. Compared to the 2014/2015 school year, there will be 13 thousand less students this year. The number of senior year students is decreasing, but the first years are increasing – and that is a positive sign.
“We announced this school year as the year of school communities. You cannot solve problems on your own. We have to, not only verbally, but also by taking actions, make decisions together. The main priority is the quality of education. Everything you do in schools, the ministry, educational divisions, has to be aimed at improving the students’ achievements. This constitutes of many things: the quality of classes, methods, student municipality, kindergarten education” – said the Minister of Education and Science Audronė Pitrėnienė.
What is waiting for students and teachers this school year? There are three additional hours per week provided in the teaching programme for students’ consultations. These are not the hours which could be changed into teaching a particular subject. They can, however, be used for example in a situation when a student got a bad grade in a test – he or she immediately needs help, explanation of what he or she did not understand, did not learn, to avoid backlogs. Furthermore, students will be encourage to be physically active. In the programme, there are 25 minutes per day given for such activities. Whether it would be dancing, running, or skill exercises – school communities will decide themselves what to dedicate that time on. Instead of 5 hours which were, thus far, devoted to social works, there will be 20 hours per year. Howe they will be used – again, it depends on the schools’ invention. It could be by making social campaigns, projects, events. What matters is that the growing generation gains not only knowledge, but also social habits.
In the new school year, there will be changes in education financing. Starting 1st October, the so-called “basket” for extracurricular activities will be introduced: the country will provide 15 euro a week for every student’s extracurricular classes from its budget. In the new school year, teachers will receive salary for being substitutes. As the Minister explained, what they mean is the students not to abandon classes during their teachers’ absence caused by attending conferences or traineeships. “Our aim is to not let one class miss, to make all events happen after school, and not to be bothered by any extracurricular activity during classes” – the Minister of Education informed.
Translated by Anna Plebanek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.