Lithuanians - Language and Literacy

Formal education is important to Lithuanians, who had a 98.5 percent literacy rate in 1959 (up from 77 percent in 1939). There are three official languages of instruction in Lithuanian schools: 84 percent of the students study in Lithuanian, 12 percent in Russian, and 4 percent in Polish—recently the percentage in Russian has decreased greatly. Education in the country's one university in Vilnius is almost entirely in Lithuanian. In 1971 there were 581,000 students attending school in Lithuania, and 15,826 of those attended the university.

Lithuania leads most other former Soviet republics in the publication of books, pamphlets, and periodicals. In 1970, 2,186 books and pamphlets were published, approximately 60 percent of which were in Lithuanian. In that year as well, ninety-one newspapers were published, seventy-four of which were in the Lithuanian language. Lithuania has numerous radio and television stations, and its people, because of contacts with the West, are better supplied with receivers than people in many other parts of the former USSR.

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