VILNIUS, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Lithuania should reform its higher education system as soon as possible in order not to become an "outsider" in terms of higher education among the other countries, an OECD expert said on Monday.
Thomas Weko, a representative of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Developmnent (OECD) and an education analyst at OECD, made the remarks after meeting with governmental representatives, according to a statement by the Lithuanian government.
"Due to the current number of universities in the country, Lithuania finds itself marginalized; the consolidation of universities must be implemented as soon as possible," said Weko.
Weko met in Vilnius with Milda Darguzaite, chancellor of the government and Une Kaunaite, Prime Minister's adviser.
According to a 2016 report, quoted by Weko, 10,000 students in Lithuania share 2.9 educational institutions on average, while this indicator in Finland and Ireland amounts to respectively 1.2 and 1.1.
Other countries which participated in the research host less than 1 educational institution for 10,000 students, the expert noted.
"Consolidation of universities is necessary in order to effectively manage finances of educational institutions and consolidate the scientific potential," Weko added.
Darguzaite said that consolidation of Lithuania's higher education institutions is a part of comprehensive educational system reform which is one of current government's priorities.
Lithuania currently has 14 state-governed universities. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said earlier this year that after the education system reform up to five state universities should be left in Lithuania.