Lithuania PDF Print E-mail

Inclusion in physical education

Since regaining its independence in 1990, the social and economical changes Lithuania has been undergoing have had a direct influence on the development processes of physical education and sport. The new sport organizations have been set up and more attention is now being devoted to physical education of youth and particularly schoolchildren, social integration of disabled, and sport for all events, which are intended for all age groups in society. Special attention was paid to all these matters at the 2000 and 2005 Lithuanian Sport Congresses, which confirmed Lithuanian Republic Physical Education and Sport Strategy for 2002-2012. Lithuanian Department of Physical Education and sport presents such statistical data - in Lithuania are 121 national sport organizations, 1233 sport clubs and 101 sports educational institution and other sport organizations.

At the national level, the legal basis of physical education and sport is regulated by:

  • Constitution of Lithuanian Republic (art.53: „State fosters physical education in society and supports sport")
  • Law on Physical Education and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania
  • Law on Education
  • he Law on Social Integration of Disabled
  • Law on Culture and Sport supporting Fund
  • Law on Special Education (includes the clause about the possibility of students with special needs to be trained in regular schools. But the necessity about inclusion and integrated education is not high lilted. This Law does not include PE as a field of education and in the all articles there is foreseen only the intellectual education.)
  • Law on High Education, Government decree „On confirmation of National drug control and drug addiction prevention program 1999-2003"
  • Physical Education and Sports Strategy 2000-2012
  • Program on Physical Education and Sports development 2002-2004

As a member of the Council of Europe Lithuanian activity in the field of physical education and sport takes account of:

  • European Sports Charter
  • European Charter on Sport for All: disabled persons
  • Anti-doping Convention
  • Sport Ethics Code
  • Olympic Charter (1997 September 3
  • Recommendation of Ministers Committee No. R (86) 18 states members ministers on European Sport for All charter: disabled people (1986)

Lithuanian authorities are concerned about the position of physical education in schools, especially optional extra-curricular physical education activities. In 1995, Lithuania adopted the Law on Physical Education and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania, which sets out a program for three weekly physical education lessons at school. State general education schools can not provide more than 2 physical education lessons in their programs, and schoolchildren must therefore be given the possibility of attending additional movement training practices (at least 1 hour) at school as well as in other education institutions. Another possibility is to use one optional education hour for compulsory physical education practices.
There are opportunities for pupils with disabilities to have access to physical education lessons, but it is not applicable. The present situation in Lithuania makes it very difficult to include children with special educational needs as the PE practice is generally very poor and it is insufficient provision for disabled children to take part in the PE-lessons, because there is lack of specialized equipment and methodical means, teacher's competence is not adequate working with disabled ones in terms of specific knowledge, methods, etc. and society is not ready yet for full acceptance of disabled pupils.

We have some statistical data. It is about 45.540 students named as SEN in Lithuania. 13.400 of them are students with physical, visual, hearing and mental retardation disabilities. About 4650 of them are educated in special schools. SEN students have to attend theoretically, but in reality: only 54,4? participate in regular PE classes, 23,9? participate in Special PE classes, 20,3? excluded from PA at all and for 1,4? of all SEN students in regular schools is prescribed physiotherapy.

Inclusion in sports and physical activity

The current number of Lithuanian disabled, attending organized physical education practices is about 2600, which makes up 1,2 percent of all Lithuanian disabled. The disabled are brought together for sports activity by 40 sport clubs for disabled, counting more than 4300 members (at all levels - elite, organized and recreational sport). The Lithuanian Blind, Deaf and Invalids sports federations and the Special Olympic Committee develop 20 sports. Every year it organizes 35-38 national championships, which include more than 1400 disabled, more than 25 other sport events for the disabled - games, cups, international competitions, health-promoting and other events). The Lithuanian disabled sport organizations are members of international disabled sport organizations.
The Paralympics movement in Lithuania is managed and coordinated by the Lithuanian Paralympics Committee, sport of the mentally retarded- Lithuanian Committee of Special Olympics. Elite disabled athletes take part in Paralympic Games, World Deaf Games, World Special Olympics, World and European Championships.

National disabled sport organizations programs are funded by the Lithuanian State Department of Physical Education and Sports and Council of Disabled Affairs.

The possibilities of the disabled for sport are covered by two main laws, the one on Social Integration of the Disabled of the Republic of Lithuania (adopted in 1991 11 28) and Law on Physical Education and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania (adopted in 1995 12 20).

In 2002, the Government of Lithuania approved the national program of social integration for disabled people 2003-2012, the main tasks of which are to deal with the financial issues of sport clubs at the municipal level, to protect disabled people practicing sport, to give them the same learning and training possibilities as the other members of society, to encourage and support disabled people and mass sport and to adapt sport facilities for the disabled.

BUT, THERE IS STILL THE NEED TO:

  • Increase the opportunities for sport for those with disabilities;
  • To over come difficulties to access to the sport facilities for the disabled
  • encourage co-operation with local authorities in the field of physical education and sport for the disabled and maintain a sufficient economical support from the municipalities
  • to establish more sport clubs, because there are very few sport clubs for disabled children and young persons
  • The Lithuanian government needs to take certain steps to apply the provisions of the European Sports Charter in the area of physical education and sport for the disabled and to maintain the balance between national policy and real situation of inclusion of the disabled in PE as well as sport activities.
  • The Lithuanian government needs to take certain steps to integrate people with disabilities into social life through sport

Employment of youngsters with a disability

The situation in Lithuania regarding the employment of disabled persons is not clear till now. There is adopted the Law on Social Enterprises. This is the first law in the country enshrining support to the employment of disabled persons, drafted in view of EU newest requirements. But there is no any official data about the employment of the disabled persons.
Some nongovernmental organization employed in their organization or day care centers, but it is very evident. For example, Lithuanian nongovernmental organization "Neigaliuju sajunga" has been employed 23 persons with disabilities as projects coordinators and 10 persons with disabilities as financial managers.

Jurate Mikelkeviciute
http://www.inclusivesports.org/countries/lithuania.htm

 

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