The Lithuanian government finally approved procedures for implementing home education on May 20, 2020.
Beginning next school year, families who wish to homeschool their children must submit a request to the administration for municipal schools or directly to non-governmental and state schools.
To collaborate with families in home education, schools should have this right noted in school operating guidelines. Municipalities will compile and publish a list of such schools by June 15, 2020.
Lithuanian Homeschooling Association will also collect information about schools that support home education.
Lithuanian Homeschooling Association believes that family education is based on a close partnership between the student’s family and the school. The successful implementation of this partnership requires a common set of values and close pedagogical approaches. It is important to make sure the school has a positive attitude towards family education before signing the agreement.
Representatives of the Lithuanian Parents' Forum, the National Association of Families and Parents, and the Lithuanian Homeschooling Association participated in the working group preparing the procedures for implementing family education, but the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports did not take into account some key suggestions. Some of its provisions are discriminatory and unduly restrict human rights.
The procedures state that the educational conditions being practiced by each family will be examined, although these are not fundamentally different from the educational conditions of a student attending school and doing his homework.
The ministry did not accept the proposal that information on the conditions of family education be provided by the family in the form of a declaration and video material, and that onsite inspections be carried out only when the school sees a reason to do so.
The authors of the procedures chose to apply the presumption of guilt to families and established a general restriction on the right of families to privacy.
These procedures express distrust not only of parents but also of schools. The school's right to assess the conditions of family education is limited, as the school has no discretion to assess the information about the family provided by the Child Rights
Protection Service and the municipality.
This creates a paradoxical situation that makes homeschooling impossible for families who did so before the law came into force, because until then home education or distance learning was considered a violation of children's rights.
Lithuanian Homeschooling Association will take action to address these violations of the law and human rights through the courts.
Despite these shortcomings, we believe that choosing the right school will make it possible in many cases to implement the requirements of these procedures without compromising the legitimate interests of the student and family.