Schooling in Lithuania is compulsory for children from the age of 6 to 16. Education is free until the postsecondary level. Students may also attend junior kindergarten at four and senior kindergarten at five.

 Elementary school is for children aged 6 to 10, middle school (called basic school) for those 11 to 14 and senior secondary school for those 14 to 18. Secondary school students may choose to attend vocational schools that offer technical, agricultural, commercial and trade programs. Most students study in Lithuanian, although programs in Russian and Polish are also offered.

 At academic gimnazija (high schools), students study classical and modern languages, social sciences, natural sciences and arts. Upon graduation, students are issued a Certificate of Secondary Education. After secondary school, about 40% of students pursue higher education. 

There are 15 universities, 29 research institutes and one Catholic institution (Vilnius Saint Joseph Seminary) in Lithuania. Vilnius and Kaunas are the most important academic centres. Universities charge fees, but the government provides subsidies to universities, and scholarships and bursaries are available to help individual students.

 A number of private educational institutions have been created to offer adult education. Adult education is also available through the universities.

  Did you know?
On the first day of school in September, children from the younger grades traditionally bring bouquets of flowers to their teachers.
  Did you know?
The Jesuits established Vilnius University in Lithuania in 1579. The university, which promoted Lithuanian literature and culture, was closed during the Czarist regime in the 19th century and reopened in 1919.