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Published: 17 august 2012 13:04

Lithuanian schools to decide when to begin academic year

123FR nuotr. / .

Lithuanian schools traditionally celebrate the beginning of the new academic year on 1 September, but since the date falls on Saturday this year, half of the country's secondary education institutions are moving it to Monday, 3 September. The rest are sticking with 1 September.

"At the moment, numbers are pretty much even, with around 30 percent choosing Saturday and around 30 percent choosing Monday. Around a fourth of schools have not decided yet as not all staff have returned from vacation yet," Aidas Aldakauskas, director of Education Quality and Regional Policy Department at the Ministry of Science and Education, told BNS on Friday.

Vilnius City Municipality announced earlier this week that academic year opening ceremonies at Vilnius schools will be officially held on 3 September.

Several years ago, Lithuanian Parliament passed a law banning alcohol sale on 1 September, hoping to prevent excessive celebratory drinking among students. Pursuant to the law, alcohol will not be sold on 1 September this year, but the ban will not be in effect on 3 September.

Antanas Matulas, chairman of the Seimas Committee on Health, criticized the decision to move academic year opening ceremonies to Monday.

"The alcohol sale is banned on 1 September not because it is believed that one day will significantly reduce alcoholism. It’s a symbolic action meant to show respect for teachers, parents taking their kids to school, respect for the Day of Science and Knowledge, and it cannot be moved," he said.

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