Two Thirds of Lithuanians Lack Economic Knowledge, Survey Reveals

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As many as 81% of Lithuanians find their knowledge of economics insufficient. Making economic decisions at every step of the way, Lithuanians compare their understanding of economics to that of physics or political sciences, but find themselves less confident in economics than in computer literacy or mathematics, a representative population survey conducted by “Spinter Research” on behalf of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute reveals.

Two thirds, or 66%, of respondents, most of whom belong to the group of lower-income earners and live in regional areas, indicated that they personally lack economic knowledge.

The knowledge of economics and economic literacy is crucial. The well-being of each one of us and even our country depends on our ability to make sound economic decisions. After all, we face economic challenges and resource scarcity on a daily basis. The fact that Lithuania struggles to find a way out of this economic literacy crisis is alarming. There is a need of a fundamental reform, from school to adult education,” – explains Marija Vyšniauskaitė, Head of Education Centre at LFMI.

Lithuanians also note the need to bridge education gaps, with two thirds of the population emphasizing the need of strengthening economics education in schools. Young people believe that it is school, where they learn the most, while older people mostly point to universities or vocational training institutions.

The youth mostly associate economic literacy with school education as economics is a part of compulsory curriculum since 2002. However, we must admit that even today the delivery of economics education remains fragmented with merely 31 hours devoted to the subject in the 9th or 10th grade. Students and teachers also lack motivation, the subject is marginalized and frequently taught by teachers of other disciplines,” – adds Marija Vyšniauskaitė.

The results of international research reports are no less alarming for Lithuania. The financial literacy of 15-year olds and adults is rated below OECD average; the country lags behind its close neighbors, including Poland and Russia, and merely keeps up with the least well-off Latin American countries.

The first step has been made. The society has realized the importance of economic and financial literacy, opening new avenues and opportunities for change. Though not ahead the stage of discussions and still lacking the understanding that economics is no less important than mathematics, history or languages, we are moving forward,” – says Marija Vyšniauskaitė.

A representative population survey was conducted on January 15-23, 2018, by a market research company Spinter Research on behalf of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute. A total of 1,004 respondents aged 18 to 75 were surveyed, focusing on their understanding of economics, personal judgment about their knowledge of economics, and the need to improve teaching of different disciplines in Lithuanian schools.