Financial Support for Diaspora Schools

Lithuania’s Seimas (parliament) has passed an education amendment enabling the Lithuanian government to provide funding for Lithuanian language school programs in the diaspora beginning in 2023. Next year, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports will establish evaluation mechanisms to determine language fluency and will issue appropriate certification.

Lithuanian language schools will be able to use the funding for the rental of facilities and wages for teachers, most of whom now work on a volunteer basis. The funds will come from the ministry and will be designated according to the number of pupils and the amount of local state support the schools may receive. If current numbers of pupils remain the same, the funding would require an additional 1.5 million euros from the state budget.

Lithuanian schools in the diaspora now apply for financial support from the ministry for some of their projects. The ministry holds annual competitions for language-learning and sports projects. Funding is granted for educational curriculum preparation and materials, and for sports equipment, as well as inter-school, motivational and teacher-training projects.

The proposed certification process was requested by schools in the diaspora, and would improve pupils’ integration into the school system in Lithuania, as well as providing accreditation for Lithuanian as a foreign language for entry into universities in the diaspora.

Certification will be based on European standards – A1 and A2 for beginners, B1 and B2 for intermediate and C1 and C2 for fluent speakers. In 2022 language level testing will take place electronically. Pupils will be able to choose which level to be tested for (A1-A2, B1 or B2), and adults will be tested for C1 level. A multi-level test will be implemented in 2023.

There are now 232 Lithuanian language schools registered in the diaspora, with 11,300 pupils and 1,200 teachers.