News2020.05.08 13:10

Lithuania's schools may reopen for two weeks – education minister


Lithuanian school students may be allowed to return to classrooms for at least two weeks before the end of the academic year, Education Minister Algirdas Monkevičius has suggested.

Since the start of the coronavirus quarantine in mid-March, all schools in Lithuania have moved teaching online.

“We are looking at allowing primary school grades to return [to classrooms] from May 25, and secondary education students, from June 1,” Monkevičius told a news conference on Friday.

Read more: Lithuanian minister suggests ending academic year early

The government is expected to decide next week on whether to allow schools to reopen.

If the government decides to allow students to return to classrooms, it will not recommend to extend the academic year, which normally ends on June 23, but will advise schools to have at least two weeks of face-to-face teaching, according to the minister.

Read more: Lithuania's online teaching platform crashes on first day

The academic year normally lasts 175 days for primary school students, 185 days for secondary students, and 163 days for final-year students, he said.

“The date when the academic year ends may differ from school to school, but we'd recommend that schools work live for at least two weeks, if possible,” Monkevičius said.

This week, the government allowed kindergartens to fully reopen from May 18.

Read more: Lithuania proceeds with quarantine easing: small events, more services to resume

Graduates allowed to take fewer exams

Lithuanian final-year students will be able not to take some graduation exams they have signed up for, the National Agency for Education said on Friday.

Since students had to choose which exams they would take back in 2019, some of their plans may have changed since the coronavirus epidemic disturbed the education process, Asta Ranonytė, the agency's acting deputy director, suggested.

“They will be able to opt out [of some exams] by May 19 if they don't need them for their future studies or future careers,” she said.

Lithuanian school leavers are required to take one compulsory exam, Lithuanian, and others depending on the requirements for their university applications.

National graduation exams are scheduled to begin on June 22 and end on July 21.

The first round of admission to universities and other higher education institutions will last until August 18, with the second one likely to end on September 4.

The government has proposed that the start of the academic year could be postponed by two weeks, to mid-September.

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