"VDU took the initiative to become a national university. It launched the merger process with the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences (LEU) more than a year ago and Aleksandras Stulginskis University (ASU) later joined the initiative. VDU could be their umbrella, national university," he told lawmakers of the opposition Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats on Tuesday.
Pranckietis admitted that such a merger would run counter to the government's university reform plan, but underlined that it was an initiative coming from universities themselves, rather than something imposed on them "from above".
The speaker presented the initiative to the conservative Homeland Union, the second-biggest political group in the parliament, after last week's meetings with representatives of these universities.
VDU and ASU informed Pranckietis about their plans to merge. VDU also said that they expected to conclude integration talks with Lithuanian Sports University (LSU). VDU and LEU agreed on a merger some time ago.
The government's reform plan calls for merging VDU, LSU, ASU, LEU and the Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) into a single university in Kaunas.
Under the plan, Lithuania should have two universities offering a wide range of studies, in Vilnius and Kaunas, and two technological universities, in the capital and in Klaipėda, after the planned reform.
The Kaunas-based Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LMSU) would continue as a specialized academy, and the Vilnius Academy of Arts and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre would be merged into a single academy. Mykolas Romeris University and Siauliai University should be merged into Vilnius University.