International Review of Education

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 443–463 | Cite as

The impact of Nordic adult education ideas on the development of a democratic society in Lithuania

  • Margarita TeresevičienėEmail author
  • Elena Trepulė
  • Edita Trečiokienė
Original Paper


This article analyses the role of the cooperation with and the influence of the Nordic countries on the development of a democratic society in Lithuania through adult education since the reinstatement of its independence from Soviet regime in March 1990 to the present. The authors focus on three main areas: (1) the training of Lithuanian adult educators; (2) the establishment and development of NGOs; and (3) the implications for a Lithuanian policy of adult education. Within the framework of Nordic-Baltic cooperation established among five Nordic and three Baltic countries (NB8) in 1992, Lithuanian adult educators seized the opportunity to visit Scandinavian institutions and projects. Experiencing Nordic adult education ideas has resulted in a marked shift in Lithuanian adult educators’ values, methodology and careers; and in the establishment of a series of very influential umbrella associations as well as hundreds of NGOs in Lithuania which work with adults and support functioning democratic values in society. This shift is related to the civic responsibility and active participation growing out of the bottom-up approaches of group work, cooperation, discussions and learning circles which are so inherent in the Nordic tradition of adult education. The internalisation of new democratic values was more complicated than expected for many Lithuanian politicians, adult educators and NGO leaders in terms of how political decisions were perceived and implemented. Furthermore, the influence of the Nordic-Baltic cooperation in adult education may also be traced in adult education policy implications in Lithuania. Some changes in the policies of contemporary Lithuania have not been successful and even failed to promote a democratic society.


adult education democracy NGO cooperation 


L’impact des idées nordiques en matière d’éducation des adultes sur le développement d’une société démocratique en Lituanie – Le présent article analyse le rôle de la coopération avec les pays nordiques et l’influence de ces derniers sur le développement d’une société démocratique par le biais de l’éducation des adultes en Lituanie, du rétablissement de son indépendance du régime soviétique en mars 1990 à aujourd’hui. Les auteurs s’attachent principalement à trois grands domaines: (1) la formation des formateurs d’adultes lituaniens; (2) la création et le développement d’ONG et (3) les implications pour une politique lituanienne d’éducation des adultes. Dans le cadre de la coopération nordico-balte, établie en 1992 entre cinq pays nordiques et trois baltes (NB8), les formateurs d’adultes lituaniens ont eu l’opportunité de visiter des institutions et des projets scandinaves. Cette expérience des idées nordiques en matière d’éducation des adultes a conduit à un changement marqué dans les valeurs, les méthodologies et les carrières des formateurs d’adultes lituaniens, ainsi qu’à la création en Lituanie d’une série d’associations ombrelles très influentes et de centaines d’ONG, qui travaillent avec des adultes et soutiennent des valeurs démocratiques performantes dans la société. Un tel changement est lié à la responsabilité civique et à la participation active issues des approches bottom-up (du bas vers le haut) du travail de groupe, de la coopération, des discussions et des cercles d’apprentissage, caractéristiques de la tradition nordique d’éducation des adultes. Pour de nombreux hommes politiques, formateurs d’adultes et dirigeants d’ONG lituaniens, l’internalisation de nouvelles valeurs démocratiques, notamment la manière dont les décisions politiques ont été perçues et appliquées, a été plus difficile que prévue. L’influence de la coopération nordico-balte pour l’éducation des adultes est également perceptible dans les implications politiques en matière d’éducation des adultes en Lituanie. Certains changements intervenus dans les politiques de la Lituanie contemporaine n’ont pas abouti, voire ont échoué à promouvoir une société démocratique.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margarita Teresevičienė
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elena Trepulė
    • 1
  • Edita Trečiokienė
    • 2
  1. 1.Vytautas Magnus UniversityKaunasLithuania
  2. 2.Klaipėda UniversityKlaipedaLithuania

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