Education in LithuaniaLithuania is a well-developed country in Europe that has one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union. Education in Lithuania does not fall behind either, with a majority of the population being literate and attending school.

Lithuania‘s literacy rate for 15 to 24-year-old males and females is 99.8 percent with the total adult literacy rate in Lithuania at 99.7 percent. The country’s enrollment rate is also high. The gross enrollment for pre-primary school is 73.6 percent for males and 72.1 percent for females. The net ratio of primary school participation is 93.6 for males and 93.5 for females. The survival rate to last primary grade in Lithuania is 96.4 percent. Finally, the net enrollment rate for secondary school is 90.6 percent for males and 90.9 percent for females.

In Lithuania, there is compulsory education for children ages six to 16. Pre-kindergarten is not compulsory but because there are so many women in the workforce, Lithuania has the highest number of working women in western society, preschools fill up fast. After preschool, children go to primary school for four years then move on to a program called basic first stage that lasts for six years, with an age range of 10 to 17 years old. At this point, students can choose to continue their education by attending vocational schools, junior colleges or university.

As for language, most schools in Lithuania teach in Lithuanian, the country’s official language, but there are also minority-oriented public schools that teach in other languages.

Higher education in Lithuania is state subsidized, so many advanced students attend college for free. Like private secondary schools, private universities are unpopular because of their high costs.

In Lithuania, the government spends 13.29 percent of its total expenditure on education. Of the amount spent on education, the government spends 28.76 percent of that on higher education.

The education rates in Lithuania are some of the highest in the European Union. In 2008, 90.6 percent of Lithuania’s population had finished secondary or higher education, which was one of the highest rates in the EU, with the average rate being around 70 percent. About 31 percent of Lithuanians have completed higher education which is more than the average of the EU, which is at 25.1 percent. In addition, the number of higher education graduates has increased by 50 percent in the last decade.

Education in Lithuania is already doing well and continues to improve.

Téa Franco

Photo: Flickr

Education in Micronesia Leads to Economic StruggleThe Federated States of Micronesia is a country in the western Pacific Ocean and is comprised of more than 600 islands. The current system of education in Micronesia has 18.4 percent of young Micronesians reaching the college level, with 32 percent making it to high school, and just 36 percent going to elementary school, while the rest do not attend any school.

In Micronesia, the first eight years of education is mandatory, with children beginning primary school at the age of six. The curriculum in this eight-year program includes subjects such as science, mathematics, language arts, social studies and physical education. Public secondary school is available free of cost to all Micronesian students. There are also several private schools available, such as the Pohnpei Agricultural and Trade School and Xavier High School in Chuuk.

Education in Micronesia is an important part of the country’s history, as its first school, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, was the first school established in the entire Pacific. Before education was significantly built up in the late 1960s, secondary school was a privilege reserved for only a few of the very best students in the country. After the educational development of the 1960s, each district had its own secondary school and enrollment was ten times larger than it was just a few years prior.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy reversed the U.S.’ previous policy of slow-paced change and modest annual subsidies to a policy of rapid development. The U.S. doubled its annual budget for Micronesia in just one year, raising it dramatically in the following years. The yearly subsidy of $6 million in 1962 was increased eightfold to almost $50 million by 1970; within the next decade, it doubled once again, resulting in a total close to $100 million.

This shift in policy had a major effect on education in Micronesia, as its share of annual education budget stood at 10 percent in 1962 and doubled to 20 percent by the end of the decade. Despite the good intentions, education had far outpaced the economy of Micronesia.

In his article “The Price of Education in Micronesia”, Francis X. Hezel writes,”The industries that were supposed to have developed, if only enough seed money could be found and intelligent and enterprising people provided to initiate these projects, were never begun. Instead, young graduates did what they knew best – worked for the government–and when jobs there could not be found they returned to the village to wait until their luck changed. Yet, it is significant that, despite the stagnant island economy, young Micronesians have returned home after college to take their chances on their island rather than reside in the US permanently.”

If we hope to improve education in Micronesia, we must address these concerns and strive to improve the economy and prospects for young Micronesian graduates.

Drew Fox

Photo: Flickr