President initiates vocational training overhaul

Meeting regarding vocational training at the Presidential Palace
DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

The proposed measures include limiting to two the number of state-funded initial vocational education and training programs that a person can enroll in.

If one fails to complete such a program, he or she will have to refund the training costs paid by the state. The amendment aims, among other things, to discourage people from enrolling in a vocational school for the sole purpose of becoming eligible for certain social benefits, such as health insurance or reduced transit fares, etc.

After completing two initial-level programs, a person will only be eligible for state-funded vocational retraining. A person with a higher education degree will have to pay for initial vocational education and training, but the state will cover their retraining costs.

The amendments also call for changing the legal status of vocational schools, most of which are now budgetary organizations, to that of public establishments in order to enhance the involvement of employers and municipal authorities in the management of such schools. Also, programs would be more focused on workplace training.

The president’s office says that the amendments have been worked out in cooperation with the parliament, ministries and businesses. As part of the overhaul, the network of state-owned vocational schools, which currently number 70, will be reviewed.

According to the office, Lithuania receives much criticism from international experts for its low-quality vocational education and training and failure to bring these programs into line with the needs of the state, local authorities and businesses.

The state spends 85 million euros on vocational education and training, but the qualifications that students acquire do not meet the labor market needs.

Vocational schools currently account for 29 percent of all secondary education students, well below the EU average of 50 percent.

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