Lithuania as a European Union country is directed towards three priorities: the knowledge society, safe society and competitive economy. Therefore, during the coming decade it is necessary to ensure quality of education complying with the personal and public needs in the open civil society and market economy, to establish flexible and open education framework, and to create conditions for life-long learning. Education shall help the Lithuanian state and society find their place in the Western culture and economy; develop democratic national culture and sound civil society; strengthen national security; sustain national identity; establish and develop a knowledge based competitive economy; ensure employment, and cardinally reduce social exclusion and poverty . These priorities comply with the models of universal multi-functional centres transformed from deserted schools, cultural centres, leisure camps, deserted or insufficiently utilised recreational zones or institutions to be adjusted to public interests. The idea of multi-functional centres corresponds to the idea of regional development on realisation (in one place) of complex programmes ensuring social cohesion and social stability. Regional development is related to the engagement of local communities and target groups in the assessment of needs, specification of priorities and joint management of regional strategies (Partnership Programme for Rural Community of the Baltic States for the Development of Rural Welfare. Effective Partnership Groups, pg. 14). Because of the limited national funding, provision of public services in rural areas cannot be assured. Very often rural communities are not capable of solving their problems. Therefore, in pursuit of social cohesion, it is instrumental to develop rural communities, as well as non-governmental organisations and public initiative groups in rural areas, and to develop leaders capable of ensuring development of infrastructure of various social services by making them accessible to rural population. Establishment of universal multi-functional centres providing different services to all social groups could be a proper investment in pursuit of social integration. There is no in-depth analysis of the concept of universal multi-functional centres, but this concept has historical continuity in Lithuania, as well as examples successfully applied all over the world. The necessity of such centres is justified by a more liberal society which is manifested via public and private partnership, changes in pre-school education institutions, schools, libraries, cultural centres, police departments, out-patient institutions, hospitals and other public sector institutions, and development of socio-cultural functions. The article presents the concept of a universal multi-functional centre and its operational assumptions and principles via the analysis of scientific literature, documents and quality survey results, and presents the nature of services provided by socioeducative centres of Lithuania, and needs of citizens. The map of universal centres successfully operating in municipalities is elaborated pursuant to the survey, including possible target groups of a universal multi-functional centre, its management structure and funding sources.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
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