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2020-2021 school year education getting ready in Mongolia for COVID-19

According to UN Secretary-General calls on countries not to be infected with COVID-19 to open schools under supervision thus, the 2020-2021 academic year will be kicking off in one week in Mongolia. The Ministry of Education and Science is ensuring the preparedness of school operations and accelerating the construction work of schools and kinder gardens that are underway. Kinder garden and secondary school classes will start on September 1, 2020. Vocational education courses will begin on September 14, 2020, and university and college classes will begin on October 5, 2020. The decision of the State Emergency Commission on the extension of the high readiness level and the start of classes at all levels of education finalized at the Cabinet meeting on July 29, 2020. The lesson will be organized in a combination of a physical classroom learning and online lessons in the academic year of 2020-2021 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A discussion under the theme ‘Digital Transition in Education’ was organized at the State House with a view to define the opportunities, encountering problems, and future trends of the education industry in the time of development of information technology.

Adequate and effective practices of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, which leads us to new development trends, are able to increase access to education, improve education quality in remote areas and increase enrollment and participation to all levels of schools. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Innovation and Online Policy will pay special attention to enhancing the effectiveness of online classes and creating a proper legal environment systems.”

Head of the General Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Science T. Nyam-Ochir stressed the importance of creating a legal environment for the digital transition as a necessity has arisen to consider other alternatives to traditional classroom learning because of the ongoing pandemic. “Based on the current system and technologies used in the country’s education industry, it is fully possible to make the digital transition, which supports quality education and teacher development.”

“First of all, it is required to evaluate the outcomes, accessibility, and quality of TV classes given in the first half of this year, taking into consideration some problems, lack of access to an internet connection for the children living in rural areas, and Ger districts of Ulaanbaatar city. The given pressing issues must be tackled with the help of a set of detailed and strict standards on non-classroom education and a favorable legal framework.

Participants of the discussion were in complete agreement on the proposals to develop and use an integrated online learning platform and have a legal environment for online learning.

Noting the significance of identifying the online education and online learning and reflect the matters into the regulatory framework, MP Uchral informed that certain works of digital transition are underway at universities, higher education institutions and general education schools, such as developing an online training curriculum, building an integrated platform and so on. Some schools did a survey on the weakness and advantages of digital classes.

Weaknesses: • There is a lack of training equipment, e-books, textbooks, and laboratories to organize professional courses online. • Students living in remote areas of the countryside have difficulty accessing online courses due to the lack of an Internet connection and the slow speed of the Internet. • Difficulties in organizing specialized art training (dance, acting, craftsmanship, carving) in teams, collaboration, co-creation, practice-based laboratory, and art form training. • It was difficult to access skills-intensive, physical classes online. Due to the lack of live communication, it is difficult for the teacher to evaluate the student, counsel, and adjust the teaching methodology accordingly

Advantages: • By organizing lessons and training activities in electronic form, each teacher's ability to use information technology and knowledge is improved, and in the future, they have the skills and habits to organize learning activities in electronic form. • Individual and small art classes have also been found to be more effective in organizing theory classes online. • In the future, we have gained experience and opportunities to organize training activities in a combination of electronic and classroom forms. • Learn how to properly use the many applications, programs, and platforms you need to be able to connect online, regardless of space or time.

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