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27/09/2018   The Pre-School Education of Children up to 5 Years of Age Gives the Best Returns, However, is not Accessible for Everyone

Out of all educational levels, investments to early education from birth to 5 years old give the highest economic returns. Quality pre-school education determine better achievements of children in later stages and especially positively influences those children who are being raised in an unfavourable social environment. Sadly, there is a lack of vacant places in pre-school education institutions and their educators out of all schoolteachers earn the lowest pay.

The audit “Do We Use the Capabilities of Pre-School Education to Ensure a More Successful Future of Children” performed by the National Audit Office in 2017, shows that in accordance to pre-school education programs, 101 thousand children were being educated and approximately 300 million Euros were allocated to the pre-school education institutions (kindergartens).

Not all children pass into kindergartens

The accessibility of early education is ensured only to a limited number of children: in different municipalities, 14-67 percent of children up to 5 years of age attend pre-school education institutions and kindergartens of nine municipalities did not have enough places for all wanting to attend. The institutions, which were chosen by the parents, in 30 municipalities lacked vacant places – the parents were offered to allow their offspring to go to kindergartens that are more distant. However, only 37 out of 60 municipalities ensure the transportation of children living remotely to the pre-school education institutions.

The audit results show that more than a third (36 percent) children being raised in social risk families did not participate in the pre-school education process.

“The earlier we start educating the children, the better they learn at an older age. This is especially important for children being raised in an unfavourable social environment, because pre-school education helps them to create a better life in the future and teaches self-sufficiency. Sadly, a third of children living in social risk families do not get such a possibility” – states Kristina Česėnaitė, Senior Auditor of the Public Welfare Audit Department.

The groups are overfilled and the educators earn the least

As the audit shows, the pre-school education educators out of all schoolteachers earn the least – their wages are 36 percent lower than the teachers in general education. A third (32 percent) of all the audited institutions infringe the hygiene norms regarding the number of children in groups – the groups are overfilled. There is a lack of people wanting to work in the pre-school education institutions – 40 percent of institutions received an application only from one candidate wanting to be an educator.

The education gaps in pre-school education institutions are determined by the fact that an external assessment system has not been developed in Lithuania. If this system were developed and the education quality level in the institutions known, the qualification improvement of educators could be planned, help provided to the institutions and quality education of every child ensured.

In order to ensure the quality and accessibility of pre-school education, the National Audit Institution submitted recommendations to the Ministry of Education and Science. The Ministry of Education and Science have undertaken to develop the system of quality assurance of pre-school education until 2022. Until then, in the opinion of auditors, the municipalities could ensure at least the assessment of pre-school education programs – their own and private institutions.

This audit is a part of systemic education area audits, which are carried-out by the National Audit Office. Its results supplement the conclusions and recommendations of last year’s audit “Could Lithuanian Students Perform Better”.


Responsible for the information Communication Division
Last updated on 11 December 2018

National Audit Office of Lithuania

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