The University of Vilnius (VU), one of the oldest and most famous establishments of higher education in Eastern and Central Europe, was founded in 1579. The mission of Vilnius University is to create, accumulate and disseminate knowledge by ensuring continuity of authentic university culture distinguished by the atmosphere where old traditions and new ideas enrich each other. The University is a member of 11 Networks and Associations, for example the Utrecht Network. With 32 members in 27 countries, the Utrecht Network is particularly committed to areas of activity such as student and staff mobility, summer schools, the internationalisation of curriculum, joint curricula and double/joint degrees.
The Utrecht Network also has well established links with partner networks in the USA (MAUI Network) and Australia (AEN), proving that it is indeed a European Network with a global outlook. There have been signed over 90 bilateral cooperation agreements. At the moment Vilnius University participates in the following SOCRATES/ERASMUS Thematic Networks such as EuroPIat, TNP3, LISBOAN, ERIC, NOHA and others.
The University was an active participant of the European Union Structural Funds Projects of the whole period 2007–2013, for the period 2014–2020 EU investment funds there are many projects as well. VU has Erasmus partners Institutions in 30 countries of Europe (over 350 partners). VU is an active participant of European Union programs: Erasmus, NordPlus programme, Life Long Learning program (LLP), Erasmus Mundus, Tempus. Vilnius university takes an advantage to create an effective partnership with social partners and businesses acting as a bridge for industrial-academic cooperation and trying to respond to requests for joint or funded research from businesses and government. Partnership: Barclays Technologies (Center Limited Lithuanian Branch), Sensor Electronics Technology Inc., Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd, MMT Research.
The University comprises of twelve faculties, seven institutes, two university hospitals, four inter-faculty centers of study research. There are 2890 Academic staff including 2234 Teaching staff and 656 Research staff. The University implements study programs in all study cycles: bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral. Its faculties and academic units offer a choice from over 70 bachelor’s and more than 100 master’s study programs. The student body of the University includes 19,768 students.
The Institute of Educational Science, directly engaged in this project, finds itself within the Faculty of Philosophy. The Institute is oriented towards the development of the modern education science aspects and applied research. The priority areas of research include teachers’ education. The Institute organizes teachers’ professional development, provides consultations, organizes events, conferences, as well as other activities. With other faculties the institute has a close cooperation and good network with schools, organize practical placements of students in schools and implements mentor education programs. Another priority of the Institute is education policy and management, the cultural and inter-cultural aspects and values of education.
The Department of Educational Theory and Culture focuses on social and cultural processes, of change and continuity in wide a range of formal and informal educational contexts, inter-cultural education, school culture, educational anthropology. The main projects in this field area of Department are: Dominant and demotic school culture: analysis of tension fields, Education as Enculturation; Development of Inter-cultural Competence of Teachers, School Pupils, Parents and NGOs; Identity, Cultural Transmission and National Education.
The Institute of Educational Science offers two-year Masters program in Education Sciences. The program has two branches: Education Policy and Administration, and Culture of Education. The Culture of Education branch combines education and culture research by designing studies and creating solutions for education-related issues in the changing cultural environment and, conversely, by exploring cultural education issues in the context of today’s education. There are no other master programs (branches) of this kind offered by universities in Lithuania.
The key people involved in the project are representatives from the institute of Educational Sciences who will be in charge of coordination of the project and the educational content. The key people are experts in education and have practical experience in delivering e-learning courses as well as facilitation of learning and didactics. The project team will also involve the Coordinator of disability affairs at Vilnius University, as well as representatives from the E-learning and Examination Centre.
The aim of E-Learning and Examination Centre at Vilnius University is to improve the quality and modernize the learning process through the use of information and communication technologies. The E-Learning and Examination Centre at Vilnius University is actively participating in various national and international projects. Project activities include developing electronic courses, training of virtual learning environment users, performing computer based examination, arranging iive Internet broadcasting and video conferences, contributing with staffs expertise to research on e-learning methodologies, etc. Developed products are widely used in Vilnius University as well as in other organizations.
One of the main goals of Vilnius University is to consolidate its community. The University is open to people with disabilities. The efforts to guarantee equity and equality for the disabled are made by making reasonable adjustments in the study process, by improving physical accessibility in the buildings and by raising awareness in the academic community. Participation in this project will enable full accessibility of the study programs, in terms of accessible e-modules for all students.
Justina Garbauskaitė-Jakimovska is junior assistant and PhD candidate (Educational sciences) at Vilnius University, Lithuania. Justina’s field of academic interests is non-formal education, post-structural education philosophy, and didactics (including digital tools and e-learning). Justina teaches educational technologies, adult education and qualitative research methodology at Vilnius University.
Outside of the university Justina works as freelance expert in the field of non-formal education and youth on national and international levels.
Monika Orechova is currently the deputy director of the Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies and a PhD researcher at the Institute of Educational Science of Vilnius University.
She has an MA in Education Policy and Management and has been working in higher education for the past six years in various administrative positions. Her research interests include higher education, internationalization of education, inclusive education.