LFMI has examined draft amendments to the Law on Education proposing to introduce compulsory pre-school education from the age of six.
An absolute majority of children already attend pre-school institutions and do not need additional education.
The explanatory note of the draft law indicates that 95.63 percent of children already attend pre-school institutions and 63 percent of those who do not attend them do not belong to socially disadvantaged families. Under such circumstances the administrative liability and fines stipulated in the draft law would be applicable to families that have opted for home schooling for their children. This puts an unjustified restriction on the parents’ right to decide what kind of education is best for their children.
A compulsory pre-school education would restrict the opportunities of other families rather than helping to overcome the problems of children from socially disadvantaged groups.
The explanatory note states that scientific research shows a connection between low achievement, poverty and family disfunction. The best way to help socially disadvantaged families is by providing them with employment and addiction treatment. The intention to ensure high-quality education for the disadvantaged groups should not restrict educational choices for other families.
The implementation of the draft law would require additional budget allocations (EUR 2.9 million in 2016 alone) that can be used more efficiently for creating special programmes for children from disadvantaged groups.
LFMI is of the opinion that compulsory pre-school education will not solve the main problems of children from disadvantaged families, therefore LFMI calls for withdrawing the draft law.
The full article in Lithuanian can be found at http://www.llri.lt/naujienos/ekonomine-politika/svietimas/ekspertize-ar-sesiameciams-priesmokyklinis-ugdymas-taps-privalomas/lrinka