The Lithuanian government will not force consolidation on universities, but new funding rules will make them change, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Ramūnas Karbauskis, chairman of the ruling Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), said on Tuesday.
Saulius Skvernelis
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

"We could forcefully tell the administrations how many universities should remain, but that would not be the right step. It does not matter for us who unites with whom, but changes will be inevitable," Skvernelis told reporters after a meeting of the political groups of the ruling coalition parties in the Seimas.

According to the prime minister, universities will have no choice but to consolidate after the funding rules are changed.

"We are changing the funding of higher schools. We conclude contracts with higher schools, we encourage research, we improve the qualifications of lecturers, we encourage and optimize the management of higher schools and their assets, and we set the bar for prospective students. All these changes will force higher schools to consolidate if they want to meet these requirements," he said.

A working group appointed by the prime minister proposes that Lithuania should have two international-level universities, in Vilnius and Kaunas, and two technological universities, in the capital and in Klaipėda, after the planned reform.

Karbauskis, the leader of the biggest parliamentary party, also said that universities would not be merged by force.

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