STEAM activities in Lithuania are offered and coordinated by institutions of different levels. At the national level, STEAM is implemented and coordinated by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports and the National Agency for Education. At the city or district level, STEAM related initiatives are carried out by municipalities, universities, colleges, general education schools, non-formal education centers, etc. Education centers offer competency development activities tailored to the needs of school teams. National and international STEAM projects take place at all levels. Each school and individuals have an opportunity to initiate and take part in all below mentioned activities.
STEAM in schools
STEM subjects (except engineering) are compulsory in lower secondary level, partially optional in the upper secondary level. Some schools choose to specialize/focus on STEM more than others. STE(A)M education for secondary education is being developed as the priority and educational pathway (by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania, National Agency for Education).
In tertiary levels, there are specific study programmes in STEM areas that can be chosen. Engineering technologies will be included in general education from 2023 onwards.
Lithuanian schools are actively taking part in the STEM School Label initiative. There are 190 Lithuanian schools that have registered on the STEM School Label portal, 88 of which have already been awarded the STEM school label. Sixteen Lithuanian schools participated in the testing of the STEM school Label portal in April – June 2019, four of which became ambassadors of STEM schools in Lithuania (https://www.stemschoollabel.eu/ambassadors).
After building their profile on the STEM School Label portal, schools in Lithuania can join the Lithuanian STEAM School Network (www.duomenys.ugdome.lt/?/tinklai/steam) by submitting a Self-Assessment form. The STEAM school network is coordinated by the National Agency for Education and its aim is to build a community of STEAM schools by promoting partnerships and the sharing of good practices.
Network of STEAM centers
The National Agency for Education is developing a network of STEAM education open access centres as part of the European Union investment Project “Supplying Schools with Science and Technology” (from 2019). This network is based on the principle of cooperation between schools, municipalities, academic, research and business institutions. The founders of the Centres (municipalities, universities, colleges) and the business sector contribute to the establishment and operation of the Centres financially and with human resources. Ten centres are being established in the country: three methodical and seven regional STEAM centres. Methodical Centres are being established in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda and regional Centers in the territories of Alytus, Marijampolė, Panevėžys, Šiauliai, Tauragė, Telšiai and Utena counties. Regional Centres will start their activities in the autumn of 2021, methodological from 2023.
The STEAM centres are innovation centres, open to pupils, students, teachers, scientists and entrepreneurs. The centres are intended to introduce pupils to science and technology, interpreted through engineering, connecting the arts and design and all based on mathematics. Some of the goals of the STEAM centres include encouraging students to choose STEAM studies, supplementing general education programs with ongoing activities as well as creating modern and inspiring STEAM learning environments. One important mission of the STEAM centres is to improve teachers’ competencies and raise their qualifications. In addition to other tasks, the methodical centres will also serve as in-service training centres for teachers of STEAM subjects as well as consultation centres for teachers of regional STEAM centres.
The centres will operate under four laboratories. Each centre corresponds to the specifics of its region, so that teachers and pupils can go there and carry out activities of interest – be it mechatronics, or marine science, astrophysics or health technology, artificial intelligence, or other things. All schools in the country have the opportunity to participate in the activities of each of the Centres.
More information: https://steamlt.lt/
Municipalities implement STEAM education in their own way.
For example, Šiauliai city municipality has since 2017 been running STEAM programs for students in grades 5–12, STEAM Junior programs for students in grades 1–4 and STEAM kindergarten programs for preschool children. These programs are designed to develop the practical skills of Šiauliai city students and children in modern laboratories, outside the school environment. The STEAM programs are implemented by higher education institutions operating in Šiauliai (Vilnius University Šiauliai Academy, College), vocational training centres, business enterprises, public institutions and non-formal education centres for children and schools.