Lietuvos mokinių biologijos olimpiada
In 2006, Ministry of Education & Science launched a special programme for Gifted and Talented Youth, which has been administrated by Lithuanian Centre for Youth Information and Technical Creativity (currently Lithuanian Centre of Non-formal Youth Education). Within the programme, special administrative unit – Dept. of Olympiads - was established in 2007, that is responsible for all the olympiads in the country since. The timetable for all the competitions is signed by the Minister and is availabe online since every fall. Special information is distributed via regional education offices throughout the schools. Students themselves are informed mostly by a special webportal www.olimpiados.lt, containing all the information about the competitions and opportunities for students. Since the olympiad movement has been active for more than four decades, teachers are well informed and motivated.
Lithuanian Centre of Non-formal Youth Education (www.lmnsc.lt) is the administrator of all the selection procedures for IBO.
1st round - school level
It is supposed to help the teachers to select best students for the further stages. It is optional and generally used only in larger schools with a surplus of motivated candidates. Officially indicated to happen in December. The tasks must be prepared by local teachers.
2nd round – regional level
Usually organized on Friday in January at the very same time in all the 60 regions, as students are provided with the same tasks. Local educational offices organize the evaluation, selecting the best teacher into the jury, which, based on solutions provided by the authors of the tasks, selects the best students. All results and answer sheets are sent to the Centre for further selection. Every year ca. 2500 students (grades 9-12) participate in this stage.
3rd round – national competition
Based on the results of the previous round, the national jury selects ca. 120 best students (30 in each of 9 to 12 grades) for the final National competition stage, organized in March. During the three-day-long event, best students are selected on the basis of both practical and theoretical examinations. The themes and practical topics are selected according to the running year’s IBO topics. The winners are awarded with diplomas and gifts, established by sponsors. Remaining expenses are covered by the Centre (accomodation, catering, salaries for the authors of the tasks) and with funds, collected by Association of Lithuanian Science Olympiads (www.oranziniai.lt; gifts, cultural activities).
12-15 best students of grades 10-12 are invited to Vilnius University for 3-4 short camps. During the last day of every camp students have theoretical tests consisting largely of previous IBO tasks. IBO team is selected based on these tests, practical examinations, as well as homework and previous results in 2nd and 3rd rounds.
Student training is organized by the Centre, which invites researchers and previous IBO delegates to give lectures and lab assignments for the students. Location and materials for the practical tests are provided by Vilnius University. Training for the selected team of 4 students focuses mostly on previous IBO material and the practical skills outlined in the IBO guide.
Students are advised to use Campbell's Biology, possibly with supplementary materials from the same authors. Certain practical skills are taught using university textbooks or teachers' own lecture notes. Former IBO and NBO tests are always available for the students, to familiarize themselves with the format, structure and amount of tasks to be expected in selections and the upcoming IBO.
Prizes awarded in the National biology olympiad (3rd round) vary year-to-year, but generally include science books, selected according to winner's requests. Medals are always awarded to 3-7 best students in each age group - they are officially recognized as a merit in the admission procedures of Lithuanian universities. Cash prizes are not issued.
Achievements of the national team participating in the IBO are reported in nation-wide media every year. Additionally, interviews with one or more of the IBO participants sometimes appear in local or national media after the IBO. The media presence of national biology olympiad is limited to designated websites and social media channels.
Besides the public sector, some funding for the national biology olympiad is obtained through private sponsors. This additional funding is mostly directed towards organizing the nation-wide events and providing prizes for the 3rd round winners. Additionally, the local branch of Thermo Fisher Scientific provides help by organizing practical tasks and providing the necessary equipment.
Lithuanian Centre of Non-Formal Youth Education is a public institution, operating under the umbrella and using the finances of Ministry of Education. It takes on most of the organizational duties related to the Olympiad, as described in the corresponding sections above.
Lithuanian Centre of Non-Formal Youth Education Zirmunu 1B, Vilnius LT09101 Lithuania
Lithuanian Centre of Non-Formal Youth Education
end of May - beginning of June