Education in Lithuania

Education is free of charge and compulsory from the age of 6 or 7 to 16 years(covering "primary" and "basic" education), as stated in the national Law on Education. In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 98 percent. Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for Lithuania as of 2001. While enrollments rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.

Pre-tertiary education is organized in 4 main cycles: Pre-school education (until age 5 or 6), Pre-primary education(1 year, between age 5-7), primary education(4 years, between age 6-11), basic education (6 years, between age 10-17, ends on a "basic education certificate"), upper secondary education(two years, between age 16-19). Upper secondary education ends on the "matura" examination, opening gates to tertiary education. Vocational and technical education starts at the fifth year of basic education (age 14-15). Its structure is similar to comprehensive education: The program lasts two to three years before the "basic education certificate". Students can then pursue into vocational upper secondary education, that also leads, after two or three years, to a "matura" examination. However, in order to reach tertiary education (university or college), vocational students have to follow an extra "post-secondary" education program of 2 years.

Tertiary education can be divided into university and college. Universities offer an academic education leading to international Bachelor-Master-Phd degrees(Lithuania has implemented the Bologna process in 2006). Colleges offer vocational Education. Since 2006, they can award professional Bachelor degrees.

The school year in Lithuania usually starts on the first of September, including in tertiary education.