- March 16, 2022
1500 Ukrainian Children Already Enrolled in Lithuanian Schools
Lithuania, like other European Union countries, is taking Ukrainian war refugees. Among them are also children, whose education is one of the challenges in the humanitarian crisis. As the Minister of Education and Sports of Lithuania, Jurgita Šiugždinienė, assured, the Lithuanian education system is ready for different scenarios. About 1500 children have already registered in Lithuanian schools.
“Currently in Lithuania, we have about 6 thousand children under the age of 18 from Ukraine, this number is constantly changing; we have about 1500 already registered in schools, these numbers are also changing,” the Minister said during Wednesday’s meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Science.
According to Šiugždinienė, Ukrainian children can choose to be educated in Lithuanian or national minority schools, but there may not be enough places in the latter.
“Children are registered in the education departments of local governments, they have coordinators, the local government directs them to a specific educational institution, Lithuanian or minority school, depending on the child and their family’s preferences. As the number of students will increase in the future, it may be difficult to meet their expectations; the Pushkin Middle School in Kaunas, a Russian school, is already full,” Šiugždinienė said.
Facilitation for Teachers from Ukraine—Two Years of Work Without Lithuanian Language
The Minister also announced that it is planned to allow teachers from Ukraine to work in Lithuanian schools without the knowledge of the Lithuanian language for two years.
“Today the government will consider amending the resolution so that in this difficult war situation Ukrainian teachers could work as teachers for two years without knowledge of the Lithuanian language. Currently, we can employ (Ukrainians – ed.) only as assistant teachers,” the Minister said.
It is also planned to start teaching the Ukrainian language in schools with the Lithuanian language, as well as languages of national minorities.
“We aim to start teaching Ukrainian as a second language in Lithuanian schools. We have already registered teachers,” Šiugždinienė said.
Will Ukrainians Take the Lithuanian High-School Certificate?
The minister also said that various options are being considered for Ukrainian graduates to take the high-school certificate in Lithuania.
“We are considering three options – one, to have our Lithuanian exams translated into Ukrainian and to have children take our exams. Understandably, this is not easy, but we also realize that they want to finish school,” Šiugždinienė said.
“Another option is to allow Ukrainian exams to be taken at embassies. The third option, if they decide to stay longer in Lithuania, we will create an opportunity to learn Lithuanian, repeat the course and then take the exam,” the Minister said.
According to the head of the ministry, these would be “three options that will take into account the full range of expectations of Ukrainian children so that they do not lose a year and can study.”
According to the UN, more than 3 million refugees have left the country since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Authorities say about 14,000 refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Lithuania since the war began.
Based on: BNS, own
Translated by Karolina Glaubitt within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.