This week I have been travelling far and wide in my quest to unite schools teachers and students through technology. I left the UK on Sunday on a flight to Vilnius the Capital of Lithuania. Now there is often confusion about this country, firstly it is in the EU, secondly it is a western democratic country with a President.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė was born in Vilnius on 1 March 1956. She studied at Vilnius Salomėja Nėris Secondary School.
In 1983, she graduated political economy from the then Leningrad University.
In 1988, she defended her Ph. D. thesis at Moscow Academy of Public Sciences. She holds the academic qualification of Doctor of Social Sciences.
In 1991, she completed a special six-month course for senior executives at Georgetown University in Washington.
In 1983, she worked as scientific secretary at the society “Žinija” under the Academy of Sciences.
She was Head of the Agriculture Division at Vilnius High Party School in 1983-1984, and later, from 1985 to June 1990 – a lecturer at the Department of Political Economy.
In August 1990-1991, she was scientific secretary at the Lithuanian Institute of Economics under the Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Lithuania.
In 1991, she became a program director in Prime Minister’s office. The same year, she was appointed Director of the European Department at the Ministry of International Economic Relations.
In 1993, she served as Director of the Economic Relations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 1994, she was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at the Lithuanian Mission to the EU.
From 1996-1999, Dalia Grybauskaitė acted as Minister Plenipotentiary at the Lithuanian Embassy in the US.
She served as deputy finance minister from 1999 to 2000, deputy foreign minister from 2000 to 2001, and finance minister from 2001 to 2004.
In 2004, Dalia Grybauskaitė was appointed EU commissioner responsible for financial programming and budget.
In November 2005, she was elected Commissioner of the Year for her efforts to reform the EU budget.
Dalia Grybauskaite has served as the president of Lithuania since July 12, 2009.
State Decorations and Awards
In 2003 Dalia Grybauskaitė received the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.
On inauguration day, July 12, 2009, the President was awarded the Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain.
In 2011, she received the following state decorations: Latvia’s Order of Three Stars, First Class, and the Chain; the Royal Norwegian Grand Cross of St. Olav; and the Icelandic Order of the Falcon, Grand Cross Star.
In 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations presented Dalia Grybauskaitė with the Ceres Medal.
In 2012, the President was awarded the Cross of Recognition by Latvia, Xirka Ġieħ ir-Repubblika by Malta, and Monaco’s Grand Officer of the Order of Saint-Charles.
In 2013, Dalia Grybauskaitė will be awarded the Charlemagne Prize.
The President speaks four foreign languages: English, Russian, Polish, basic French.
On Monday morning a presentation was given to the Ministry of Education: Education Development Centre in Vilnius where we talked about the opportunities for collaboration and about the possibility of sharing resources and expertise between the UK and and Lithuania. The professionals I met were very keen to learn more about the UK education system and I outlined the changes that were taking place over the next couple of years. The presentation was very well received and we had an excellent discussion about how we could co-operate in the future to look at “Creative Partnerships”.
After a traditional Lithuanian lunch,
Bulviniai blynai (Potato pancakes) These pancakes are one of many Lithuanian dishes made from potatoes. Sometimes the meat filling is put inside as a vegetarian I opted for cottage cheese. Potato pancakes are usually served with sour or mushroom cream. They are oh-so-yummy so don’t mind the great amount of calories!
we headed off to a school: Moletu Gimnazija Director Rimute Guobiene in Molėtai north of Vilnius
Molėtų high school teachers organized a seminar “Innovative teaching methods and collaboration.”
- Tyn Can Learning with school staff
We presented the digital educational content in the UK and other countries, in order to make a lesson more informative, more attractive, more compelling.Lecturers are encouraged teachers to be creative and bold application of information technologies in the classroom.After the seminar, the guests visited the offices workshops, met with the training database, viewed gymnasium activities. With Molėtų gymnasium guests discuss the possibilities of cooperation.
Balsiu School Emblem
On Tuesday we travelled to another school, one which is only 2 years old and was built as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). The Director Dr. Loreta Kaciusyte Skramyai welcomed into the school and gave us a tour of the building. The school is an all age school up to age 16 and the classrooms are arranged around a central atrium. I really liked the fact that the bell for changing lessons was a piece of music raging from classical (Mozart) to popular music (Muse) and changed at each changeover session. The pupils were welcoming and relished the opportunity to speak English even the very young ones.
The school staff were really enthusiastic and wanted to share resources and pedagogy. We gave a presentation and then spent some time talking with staff about different ways to introduce technology into lessons and we shared tips and ideas.
On Wednesday we returned to the UK after meeting with a Lithuanian trainer Vytautas who is working with schools across Lithuania showing how leadership and partnership can be achieved through Games Based Learning.
There was time for some sightseeing
Church in Vilnius
Vilnius Old Town Square
We also went to Trakai
Trakai once was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The castle and museum Trakai is unique throughout Eastern Europe. It is of great architectural and historical value. Trakai castle was built at the end of the 14th century in the midst of lake Galve. In 1430 the Grand Duke Vytautas died here.
Trakai is a historic city and lake resort in Lithuania. It lies 28 km west of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Because of its proximity to Vilnius, Trakai is a popular tourist destination but when we went although the sun was shining the lakes were frozen about half a metre thick.
I look forward to returning to Lithuania and working with teachers and young people in an innovative and creative way.