Citizenship and Adult Education as Prerequisite for Civic Society

Vaiva Zuzevičiūtė
Doctoral student, Department of Education, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania
Margarita Teresevičienė
Professor, Department of Education, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania
Ligija Kaminskienė,
Associated Professor, Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies, Vilnius University, Lithuania

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For Lithuania*, the last fourteen years are marked by an intense social change and development, which enables authors suggesting an assumption for this paper, namely, that learning and being a citizen are two closely related processes (Katus, 2002). Moreover, an analysis of the influence of adult education upon the development of civic society should be interpreted in broader social and historical contexts.

As a new member of the European Union, our state is challenged by a number of international obligations, its citizens are also challenged by a number of new responsibilities; and the ability to exercise these responsibilities is to be acquired. One of such responsibilities is to exercise national and global citizenship adequately. According to Katus (Katus, 2002, 7 p.) “we learn how to be citizens by practicing it. Citizenship is, therefore, a matter of lifelong learning, and the place where this for the greatest part takes place is civil society”

A claim of the primary importance of education and lifelong learning as a way of promoting civic society is defended in this paper; an intrinsic interrelationship between these two processes is also pointed out. The aim of this paper is to identify those features of Lithuanian society, which characterize it as learning, and, therefore, a civic society.
Literature and document analysis, empiric qualitative study and meta analysis of studies are employed as methods of this paper

For further analysis, at least two contexts are discerned here: international and national. International context acts as a significant catalyst of change as it preconditions global integration and integration into the EU. At the national level interrelated process of iterative relationship between development of adult education and social initiatives is identified.

CHART 1. Citizenship and Adult Education as Prerequisite for Civic Society

Citizenship, Social initiatives and Education: Contemporary Issues
Analysis of the influence of adult education towards the development of civic society is based upon the investigation of a number of processes that take place in Lithuanian and global societies. For cultural purposes it may be reasonable to present a short glimpse of ideas on citizenship at its dawn and compare it with contemporary contemplations on the theme. The overview is aimed at developing (i) mutual framework for further analysis and (ii) for pointing out a certain specificity of Lithuanian society and its initiatives of learning.

The birth of the concept and the very phenomenon of citizenship in the West, it is generally agreed, come from the Classical Greece. Greeks were profoundly concerned with establishment of order against chaos, as they were at frontier of establishing civilised: regulated and managed by reason world, as opposed to the world, which was regulated by unknown forces. This concern is reflected in their philosophy, literature and understanding of what social cohabitation is. As a social dimension, order for Greeks seems to be intimately related to citizenship. The most widely spread and acknowledged model of ‘citizenship’ seems to include the following factors:
  • Common law should be established to protect [the citizen] against internal and external threats;
  • Appropriate and negotiated systems of governance are the best way to ensure the common law is administered properly;
  • Norms and values of the community should serve as benchmarks of citizens’ behaviour. (Castles, Davidson, 2000)

Law, securing of its functioning, and norms/values are at focus in this model; therefore, those are several themes at least, which might be pursued in our paper in order to disclose the phenomenon of being a citizen and of acting as one. Legislation concerning equal rights and duties, as well as systems and prevailing norms seems to be an integral part of the concept of citizenship.

However, contemporary discussions on citizenship seem to be focused on the context of citizenship. If for an ancient Greek ‘citizenship’ meant order, security and relative freedom in a very specific, geographically, socially, and politically defined area, it is not the case today, or at least it is debatable.

Though citizenship, as Field (2002) notes, is a complex idea, which has its roots in antiquity, it acquired its contemporary significance during the 18 century revolutions and due to the Enlightenment movement. The idea of “citizenship” refers to conditions under which people participate in the wider community. Usually, and historically, the wider community is related to the entity - nation state. This relation was reflected and even emphasised during the processes of development of nation states in 19 century. In a number of instances relating an individual to one’s political/economic/social context by means of identification as a ‘citizen’ of a certain entity, proved to be a powerful means of building those political/economic/social entities (Giddens, 1993). On the other hand, the means of relating through “citizenship’, was also corrupted in many instances (Brookfield, 1995). It seems, citizenship has lost its intrinsic, un-reflected relatedness to values. Though historically ‘citizenship’ was equated to loyalty and responsibility, the equation sometimes lacked equilibrium. Duties and rights should be equally represented in the equation. If duties are overemphasised, individuals lose the ability to voice their authentic needs (Brookfield, 1995). Even if historical importance of citizenship in the formation of national states cannot be overestimated, recent tendencies, referred to as postmodernism or late modernity, sometimes question the importance of national state for citizenship. It is widely argued that citizenship is being transformed, and possibly has lost its original meaning, under the impact of globalising trends. Proponents of the idea note a shift of economic power particularly (Hargreaves, 1999). Increasingly, decisions are taken at the level of trans-national corporations; these decisions affect across national boundaries, and quite often decisions are unaffected by nation states. However, Field notes the controversy of these arguments. Even if there are clear signs that globalising tendencies are weakening some roles of the nation state, there are also signs that nation states can regain their roles. One of the examples is formation of trans-national coalitions such as the EU. The coalition, sometimes referred to as supra-nation, assists in retaining and even strengthening capacities of national states. Field points out that these tendencies exemplify the strengthening of national states, rather than their weakening. Thus the claim that the strength of globalising tendencies has changed the terms of engagement, and that nation states are therefore in an extremely unstable and uncertain situation can be viewed with some reservation.

In this context, the situation of the Lithuanian state exemplifies the issues revealed by the analysis. According to Article 17 of the Treaty establishing the European Community: “Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall complement and not replace national citizenship”. Therefore, Lithuanian society faces multiple challenges, one of these being to balance nationally and internationally valid initiatives.

As it was argued before, globalisation has not negated the role of nation. Therefore, tendencies noticeable at the national level remain to be monitored and managed in order to anticipate and design the directions of meaningful social initiatives on a broader scale. In Lithuania, as well as in other countries, e.g., the US, and many European countries, the decline of voters in elections is evident, as it was proved on 13 June, 2004 (election to the European Parliament), with participation being the lowest in 20 years. The same applies to participation in various social movements. Though there are no significant political movements that advocate a class-based revolution, there are a number of movements based on religious, national or other interests. It seems the nature of movements has shifted from integrating to segmenting: though separate movements seem to integrate less people, there are more kinds of movements (Giddens, 1992). Individuals seem to have lost unified identity; rather, we can identify the shift to a multiple identity, and, sometimes, the confusion of identity.

Summing up, we can conclude that post modernist pluralisation (Field, 2002) of political life seems to be developing, and this seem to be the most articulated characteristics of a contemporary civic society. Contemporary citizenship seems to be related to individual rights more than it has ever been before. More often the process of pluralisation is accompanied by the withdrawal of individuals from the exercise of traditional activities and by the engagement in new forms of activities, which also entails the design and administration of these new activities. It seems that in a contemporary society a balance between individualism and social integration should be sought. Retaining the personally meaningful and socially operative equilibrium of civil rights and duties (responsibility), considering wider contexts (international, historical) seems to be a possible starting working definition for citizenship, CHART 2.


CHART 2 Working concept of Citizenship

Legal basis for adult education
First and foremost, the national legal basis for education deserves thorough analysis, as, on the one hand, legal documents can be treated as indicators of socio-economic and cultural achievements of the State, and, on the other hand, they can be interpreted as guidelines for further change and development. Moreover, the classical model of citizenship indicates ‘common law’ as its first constituent.

The evolution of laws that constitute legal foundation for continued formal and non-formal education and the philosophy behind it are of primary importance for revealing Lithuanian social engagement. The documents are analysed in a chronological order.

Law on Education of the Republic of Lithuania
(1991), which established the foundations governing the structure, activities and management of educational institutions (with the exception of the institutions of higher education) of the Republic of Lithuania should be mentioned as the one of primary importance. Article 1 defines major goals of the educational system, while Article No3 seeks "to provide possibilities of a continuing education for the residents of Lithuania" (VET-Related, p.5, 1997). A recently (2002) updated draft of the law emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning as prerequisite for national prosperity. It was developed by the Ministry of Education and Science and now is under debate in the Seimas (Parliament of Lithuania). It determines the goals of education, establishes principles underlying the system of education, foundations underpinning the structure of the system as well as responsibilities of the state in the field of education. It also states that separate laws regulate educational activities in different sectors: the Law on Vocational Education, the Law on Higher Education, the Law on Non-formal Adult Education, etc.

General Concept of Education of Lithuania (1992) points out: "adult education is the largest part of the continuous education system and encompasses persons who are usually above the age of 18 and not studying in the sequential education school system" (1992).

One of the major developments in the field of promoting adult education was introduction of the Concept of the System of Adult Education in 1993. It recognizes adult learning and adult education both as themes to be discussed and as phenomena to be promoted at the national level. As the main theme of this paper is broad and complex interrelationship between education and being a citizen, it is important to point out that the Concept outlines both structure of formal and non-formal adult education. The concept also emphasizes two types of formal and non-formal adult education. The first is directly related to needs of the labour market (training of unemployed and employer-initiated employee training). The other is for disadvantaged social groups like disabled, soldiers in the mandatory military service, immigrants and convicts, therefore adult education in Lithuania seems to be viewed as a means of social inclusion.

Both Law on Vocational Education and Training (1997) and Law on Non- formal Adult Education (30 June, 1998) should be mentioned. In the Law on Non- formal Adult Education objectives for non-formal education are enumerated. These are:
  • To assist the individual in a process of self-actualisation and education,
  • To provide the individual with the possibilities to acquire competences necessary to compete in labour market,
  • To develop individual potential, and, which is in the focus of our analysis,
  • To assist the individual in becoming an active citizen of democratic society

The legal basis, as it was stated previously, both illustrates the current situation in the society and indicates the guidelines for development, therefore the process of unfolding of policies for future actions is worth observing.

Policy documents under discussion.
In May-June 2001 the consultation on the Memorandum on Lifelong Learning was carried out in Lithuania. In discussions it was concluded that Lithuania does not have coherent and integrated Lifelong Learning strategy, and that this issue should be given a special attention. In response to that Strategy on Lifelong Learning was developed in 2003. It states that Vocational Education & Training (VET) is a major component of Lifelong Learning, because it seeks to maximize the value of the country's greatest asset: people, human resources.

Drafts of three more important documents are under discussion at present: the Law on Education, mentioned above, and Guidelines for Education for the period of 2003-2012. The Task Force set up by the President of the Republic of Lithuania drafted Guidelines for Education. It is an exhaustive document built up of four chapters:
  • Educational reform: a necessity of the present time (in the international and national context).
  • Effective and coherent system (a vision of the development of education system).
  • Ensuring access, social fairness and sustainability.
  • Quality assurance.

The role of the third sector: participation, social inclusion and decision-making
NGOs for adult education

As it was argued earlier, contemporary – or post-modernist - society is characterised by the decline of massive movements and decline of political engagement. On the other hand, it is characterised by engagement in personally meaningful and socially operative activities. At the moment there are approximately 8000 NGOs in Lithuania. As one of the first and most important indicators of contemporary civil society is pluralism, the development of the third sector is a highly positive process.

Participation in NGOs is voluntary, and is based on activity and initiative of participators, which is a prerequisite for a more effective learning (Tereseviciene, Zemaitaityte, 2000). Moreover, the majority of NGOs in Lithuania (60 %) indicate educational activities as a priority or one of the activities they undertake. One of the most active organizations in the field is Lithuanian Association of Adult Education. It was founded in 1992; at that time, only 25 individuals and 4 corporate members participated. Today, there are 23 corporate members, the list includes organizations, schools, other NGOs, etc. Dienys (2002) notes that the movement has been spreading all over Lithuania: if in 1993 73% of all members were from Vilnius and Kaunas (Lithuania’s major cities), in 2001 only 27% of all members come from those cities. As the main aim of this organization is to promote active, conscious learning, which meets the socio-economic needs of each individual, this dynamics is positive. Lithuanian Association of Adult Education enables to get in touch with those who suffer social exclusion or who are threatened by it, i.e. those, for whom this social educational initiative may become a new chance for survival.

The problem of social inclusion and the role of adult education in the field is another major theme when social initiatives are discussed. Governments do apply policies for reduction of unemployment and provision of educational services. Agencies like Lithuanian Labour Market Training Authority, Territorial Labour Market Training and Counselling Service (6 of them), Information and Counselling Centres (40 of them) work actively in Lithuania. However, social initiatives provide people with better-targeted services. Zemaitaityte (2001) points out, that 37.7% of interviewed respondents/adult educators reported themselves as initiators and promoters of courses for adults. Adult education seems to be needed, because most often participants finance it themselves, CHART 3. It can be explained by both the quality of services provided by educators and the pursuit for educational experiences that adult learners exhibit.

CHART 3. Financing of adult education in Lithuania (Zemaitaityte, 2001; p.96)

Folk high schools in Lithuania

Folk high schools were established as another effective and attractive form of adult education, which is not directly related to socio-economic needs, but is, rather, related to an individual’s strive for authenticity. The function of these schools is to meet personal needs of self-actualization. At first the initiative was small scaled, which, as we have argued, exemplifies one of the main characteristics of contemporary civic society – attention to individual needs as opposed to mass needs.

Folk high schools were established after the re-establishment of Lithuania’s Independence. This process was triggered and supported by the activities of certain individuals, who were attracted to the ideas popular in Scandinavian countries and Germany. In 1998 Lithuanian enthusiasts who worked in the sphere of adult education founded first three institutions (Seaside Folk High School, Sintautai Academy and Rumsiskes Estate Museum Academy). The success of these schools encouraged the establishment of NALMA (National Association of Folk High Schools). The establishment of the Association exemplifies, among other things, institutionalisation of successful initiatives.

Folk high schools fulfil their functions successfully, though during the five years of history, there have been ups and downs. The schools make a strong point of meeting the individual demands of their clients. Perhaps the most important feature of this social initiative is the atmosphere, which prevails in schools: co-operation and collaboration between educators and participants is based on principles of equality and mutual support. Human interaction is considered to be the crucial part of learning processes. Authenticity and human interaction which lead to self fulfilment in personal/family/work life are the main themes to be discussed in order to make the life of each individual’s worth living (Jarvis, 2002).

Informal education – dynamics and problems

Informal education comprises a larger part of people’s life. Though informal education traces its origins in the very beginning of human history, its role during the Soviet period cannot be underestimated. The ideas of Lithuanian national identity, culture and language were fostered through various cultural activities: amateur folk dance, song and craft groups and circles.
Today informal learning takes place in culture centres 1023 cultural centres (these institutions function mainly in rural areas; one of two full or part time organisers of cultural activities work there: they organise activities of bands, choruses, groups, folk group etc.) all over Lithuania, adult amateur art groups/bands (more than 3000) and in other forms; on the whole more than 30,000 people participate in those activities. There were 3571 libraries in Lithuania in the end of 2003, (www. Unfortunately, the number of readers declines, CHART. 4.

CHART 4. Negative dynamics of readers, in thousands

As studies show (Tereseviciene, 2002) people are not always aware of participating in a learning activity, however, participation stimulates the activity, and, therefore, the ability to voice their needs and strive for them.

Role of underrepresented groups
Another indicator of civil society is participation of formerly underrepresented groups in certain social activities; as an example women’s movement is analysed in this paper.

Women comprise 52.8% of the population in Lithuania; however, their participation in different forms of social activities is uneven.

On the one hand, adult educators (89.5% or respondents) report women to be actively involved in adult education (Zemaitaityte, 2001). Women’s participation in NGOs, various educational activities is high, and this fact is emphasized in paper.

On the other hand, their participation in political life is still misbalanced. In 2000, only 17.6% of women were elected to local authorities, and their participation in the Seimas (Parliament) has not ever exceeded 20%. Though many political parties claim to have quotas for members – women in the election lists, it is often recognized to be rhetoric rather than reality. Even socio-democrats, who claimed to have a 20 % quota for the last elections to local authorities, admitted to have failed to adhere to the standard (State News). Equal political participation and representation seems to be a serious issue in the process of the development of civic society. Establishment of Women’s Party in 1999 can exemplify one of such initiatives. It is perhaps worth noting that 40% of members of this party are men (Economic and Social Development, 2002). The fact might illustrate the ability of women to co-operate and to effectively apply joint effort.

As studies reveal, often the rights of women are violated: 92.4% of respondents reported this to be the case (Mecajeva, 2003). Respondents indicated spheres, where violation is most evident and frequent: economics (unemployment); economics (poverty); family (violence; studies reveal that up to 50% of women suffer from harassment in family); social/public life (inadequate participation in decision making processes) and others (Mecajeva, 2003). However, women seem to be very conscious about their situation: respondents report the need for female quota at local and national level elections, they also support the idea of positive discrimination: e.g., the necessity to organize non-formal women’s education on issues of equality and rights. Respondents also mentioned the importance of educational measures for the support of mothers with young children, disabled children, or children with special needs, also for women, who have to update their professional qualification. The majority of respondents (women) indicated education and learning to be the key means for changing the quality of their lives; they would choose education opportunities rather than social benefits provided by any level of authority. Respondents seemed to be fully aware of the significance of their personal responsibility in achieving personal/professional goals. Social initiatives (e.g., engagement in various educational activities, joint social activities for solving common problems, such as optimizing the quality of life for women with disabled children and the like) were highly ranked.

Participation in formal education

Participation in formal education should be considered to be an important indicator of civic society, because it reflects both the role of the national state, and the role of institutionalised initiatives in the development of civic society.

In this paper participation in formal education is presented with greater emphasis on higher education (HE), because of global and European trends. Higher education enables active participation in socio-economic life at national and international levels. With Lithuania joining multinational organizations this aspect is of crucial importance. An ability to participate in decision-making, express opinions and, therefore, participate in democracy requires personal and social competence. Otherwise, people are unable to make motivated decisions or voice their needs.

It also should be noted, that educational ambitions for career advancement are traditional in Lithuania. The majority of secondary school graduates wish to continue their studies: 63.5% of all secondary school graduates continued studies at colleges or universities in 2002 (10). In 2002, 107,000 students began their studies at different institutions of HE. It is a major increase (59.7%) in a comparison with 1993/4, when there were 67,000 students in Lithuania. In 2001/3here were 345 students per 10,000 inhabitants, and in 200/3 the number has reached 378 students per 10,000 inhabitants (note – if number of students in colleges is included, the indicator in 2002/3 is 495) (11).

A recent change that should be noted in relation to adult education concept is that many people come back for further (HE included) education later in their lives (CHART 5).

CHART 5. Dynamics of an average age of students at institutions of HE
Unemployment is one of the most widely spread aspects of social exclusion. A short historical overview reveals the difference between the situation in Western countries and Lithuania. In 1970 – 1980 the tendency of unemployment of people with higher education was noticed in Western Europe and the US. According to the official statistics, which at that time was somewhat unreliable, the problem was not evident in Lithuania. The conclusion could be made that either everyone with higher education got employed or that the problem revealed itself later, though it had existed. It is important to note that employability and the role of HE became an issue of discussions in Western Europe earlier than in Lithuania. Nowadays the possibility for a graduate to be employed has become a major issue in any discussion on the strategies of HE.

In this context the changing role and perception of social responsibility of formal education is worth mentioning. Today more and more institutions of formal education provide adults with the variety of services. These services are tailored for adults’ needs and are designed to meet their patterns of work/family/personal lives. Vocational schools, colleges and universities increasingly find adult learner’s educational needs to be a catalyst of the institutional development. Table 1 (11) presents data about adult participation in services, provided by institutions of formal education. It is evident that participation has increased by 30% in two academic years This tendency is worth noting because of two reasons. The first is the change of the role of institutions of HE: earlier they seemed to rely on the ‘ivory tower’ status; today these institutions more and more engage in market-based interactions with community. Study forms are directed towards being ‘user friendly’ and flexible.

On the other hand, the social shift of participants brings about increasing demands posed by the labour market. Professional development is increasingly viewed as an inevitable necessity

TABLE 1. Education for Adults in Vocational Schools, Colleges and Universities

Accessibility of Lithuanian higher education for national minorities and people from neighbouring European and other countries is an important issue, because it involves intercultural and international decisions. With globalisation process ahead of us, this will turn out to be a necessary competence and regular practice. It should be mentioned that Lithuania is still a very homogeneous society, i.e., according to the last census (Spring 2001), there are more than 82% Lithuanians, 9% Poles, 7% Russians; people of other nationalities comprise 2% of total population (State News, 2002). This homogeneity, most probably, accounts for the relatively small number of those who study in HE in Russian or Polish languages. However, according to The Law of Education of the Republic of Lithuania (2001), article No 30, every citizen of the Republic of Lithuania has the right to study in Lithuanian or the person’s native language. Table 2 (11) presents data of the language of studies.

TABLE 2. Students in Lithuania according to their language of studies

However, the number of those studying in a foreign language does not reflect the number of EU citizens in Lithuanian higher education institutions. Most of the students adopt English, French or German languages as their study languages for the sake of convenience. At present students from 42 countries of the world are studying in Lithuanian HE institutions. A greater part of them comes from Lebanon – 151 (or 22 % of all foreigners), from China – 55 (of 8%), Pakistan – 59 (9%), Poland – 36 (6%), Byelorussia – 67 (10%) students (11).

Women’s activity in education was mentioned earlier, in the context of their rights and issues of equality. In the context of formal education women’s activity is also evident: 57.7% of women in 30 – 39 age group acquired higher education; among 25 – 29 year-olds the indicator is over 60%. However, the misbalance of situation in cities (89 % of all women have acquired higher education) and rural areas (only 11% have higher education) poses another challenge for adult education: to provide compensational and supportive measures, so that equal access to education could be ensured.

In 2002, OECD completed its survey of Lithuanian educational system and submitted its conclusions. Recommendations for further reform were enumerated, as for further employment of flexible study forms (modules), appropriate teaching/learning methods (andragogical approach), also, more active engagement of social partners (employers, professional associations). Significantly, the progress, which institutions of formal education have achieved towards flexible, reactive, and - sometimes – proactive services, was noted.

Participation in project activities

As the last aspect of social initiatives in our society of change, participation in projects may be discussed. Though the majority of projects is developed internationally, we chose to view those activities at both national and international levels. CHART 1 (see above) outlines the sequence of the paper: in the chart, project development can be perceived as an integrating activity, which relates activities at national level to activities at international level.

Participatory activities in projects are indicators of both individual activity and the ability of co-operation in small groups. Co-operation in small, voluntary groups, with an emphasis on task, with no permanent structure except the collaborative one, is, according to authors, one of the most articulated features of being a citizen. Features of these social initiatives: ability to co-operate, collaborate, allocate time and human recourses, describe citizens as actively involved in the development of their socio-economic reality. This is of extreme importance in the light of international integration processes challenging Lithuanian society. As projects involve participation at international level, skills of collaboration will be of crucial importance with the processes of European and global integration at face.

European Union funded Socrates / Grundtvig projects focus on adult education and learning. Therefore, twofold and intrinsically interconnected processes: adult education and learning take place in the course of co-operation of individuals when they seek to promote adult education and learning, CHART 6:

CHART 6. Project activities: two fold development

To illustrate growing social activity and individual initiative, we collected some data related to project proposal selection for ‘Grundtvig 2’ educational initiatives. It turned out that in 2002 Lithuanian National Agency received 26 project proposals, 12 of which were selected for funding by the EU Socrates / Grundtvig head office. Moreover, the number of institutions submitting project proposals increased: from 21 organization in 2001 to 33 organisations in 2002 (Treciokiene, 2002).

At the moment 35 Grundtvig projects are being carried out in Lithuania (Treciokiene, 2003). 27 Lithuanian institutions participate (or have participated) in these projects together with 126 institutions from foreign countries; an average number of participating countries per project is 4 to 5.

Lithuanian institutions participating in educational restructuring represent a variety of adult education sources: a museum, a library, a research institute, four local authorities, four adult education/further education institutions, four institutions of higher education, twelve non-profit NGOs.

CHART 7. Lithuanian institutions involved in educational projects, according to type

The analysis of Grundtvig projects reveals the contents that reflect the aspirations of civic society: promotion of EU relevant policies and culture, integration of socially marginalized (disabled) people, education of people in rural areas, education of parents and fostering of generations‘ communication, development of specific curriculum and modules, professional development of adult educators, IT literacy, foreign language instruction, women’s education, education of retired people, development of information networks. Social initiatives enable more effective and deeper social communication both by providing themes and means for communication.
Our analysis has revealed that in some instances adult education is a direct prerequisite for social initiatives, which trigger further socially engaged activities. The founding of folk high schools, as well as projects, designed to assist integration, education of disabled people, women, are examples of social initiatives intertwined with adult education.

Development of new competencies through participation in education-related social movements or project development were highlighted as examples of social initiatives.

Concept of Citizenship Today
In order to find out the current state in this field, a preliminary study has been completed in spring, 2004, Kaunas city, where two groups of respondents were asked to continue the open ended sentence: “To be a citizen for me…..”:.

The first group of respondents (58; 49 of them - girls) was comprised of students at a vocational school, aged 17 – 19. The second group of respondents (39; 17 of them – women) was comprised of unemployed adults, aged 37 – 58, who participated in specially designed courses, provided by college.

Open-ended contributions revealed at least four groups of concepts, which would fall under headings, identified in an above analysis:

Me – my needs and my rights (or Individual rights as in CHART 2); one of these contributions goes as follows: “To be a citizen for me means to be protected, and it also means that I can do whatever I want”. This contribution comes from a seventeen years old boy.

Next group of contributions can be identified as
Me and others (or Civic duties/responsibilities), understanding of duties can be identified; as an example, a contribution of an eighteen years old girl can be quoted: “To be a citizen for me is to comply to rules, because then I may demand others to comply to rules as well (for example – teachers! If I don’t use mobile phone in class, I may expect my teachers to do the same)”. A 38 years old woman states: “To be a citizen for me means to live in a state where my family and I are protected by laws, therefore I am ready to comply to laws, though sometimes they seem so foolish! And also democracy is important; it is not perfect in Lithuania however; but I always vote, even if it is cold (last year, on the day of president’s elections it was minus 20, but I am proud I went, and encouraged my husband to go – at least I know I did everything I could! I am not a part of this scandal!”.

The third group includes contributions that take the EU (or Consideration of a wider context) into consideration, as one of the 18 years old girls stated: “…is both to work hard to have opportunities, especially with the European Union at hand, I think I will try to work in another country, but I have to know language and proper ways of conduct, also know basic rules in order to be acceptable”. And the fourth group includes opinions, based on history and legacy. It is interesting to note that respondents of both groups contributed ideas that fall under the heading. A 17 years old girl notes: “…is to respect what my grandparents have fought for, and also my parents (probably the events of 1991 were meant, as by that time her parents must have been in their early thirties – M.T., and V.Z); I think that good thinks – for example to live in a democracy and have a right to speak out one’s opinions – cost a lot.”, and a 56 years old man notes that “… means hard work. It was hard for our parents; it was hard for us to stand for independency. But I never thought it would be hard to stand for democracy every day, and that what’s needed! I think I owe for those who died or where deported to vote, to speak to my children about these things, however they are not interested, they are interested in other things now…”
Contributions like “To have a passport”, were not considered in the analysis, they were allocated into the fourth group.

Analysis of these findings enables preliminary conclusions: it seems that age is not the main factor for the depth of concept: respondents in both groups noted legacy, international aspect, balance of rights and duties. However, younger respondents mentioned, “passport”, “right to do whatever I want” several times, though older respondent did not share similar views. We may also conclude that older respondents communicate their ideas with other people (primarily – family members), therefore consistency of ideas, continuation of commitments seem to lie firmly within families, and education system has the foundation to build on.


The analysis is built upon the assumption that adult education, as a prerequisite for civic society, should be viewed in the context of contemporary post modernist trends, namely: pluralisation and segmentation. Lithuania, an Eastern European country of long history of democracy and a turbulent non-democratic recent past, is presented as a case study of social initiatives related to learning and education. The authors assume that Lithuanian society is a typical case of a society in rapid change, a change from a closed to pluralistic, civic society. The role of education in such a society deserves closer attention, as it may reveal tendencies typical of all societies in change, retaining, at the same time, deep-rooted national values and priorities.

1.The analysis indicates that legal basis for adult education has been rapidly developing since 1990. The legislation and requirements posed by processes of integration into multinational organizations promote ideas of life long learning and support active citizenship.
2.In Lithuania NGOs participate actively in different spheres of social life. The majority (60%) of those indicate adult education as their main activity.
3.Non-formal adult education is becoming more popular as the means for both personal self-actualisation and social inclusion.
4.Informal adult education meets the needs of individual’s authenticity, though sometimes it is not accessible due to substantial financial restraints.
5.Formal adult education becomes more inclusive, accessible, and flexible, and provides citizens with the opportunities to acquire necessary competencies in every stage of individual’s life.
6.Formerly underrepresented group – e.g., women – are actively involved in educational activities and socio-economic life; although they are not sufficiently represented in political activities, they are aware of their needs and are able to voice them.
7.Participation in task orientated activities – project development - is viewed as an articulated example of ability to co-operate and collaborate effectively, which is one of the distinct features of active citizenship.
8.Preliminary study revealed that both young and mature people are conscious about them being citizens, and even if they ascribe different contents to the concept, these seems to fall into three groups of equilibrium, formulated as a working definition of citizenship, therefore this seems to be a meaningful framework for further studies.

Institutionalised reflexivity Giddens (1992), characterized by a widely understood need for dialogue and participation in it can be considered as one of the intrinsic features of contemporary society. Therefore Lithuanian society as the one actively involved in education and learning seems to be paving its way towards a socially engaged model of citizenship and making great emphasis on educational activities as a way of establishing a dialogue with world cultures and societies.


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