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The evolution of education in Mongolia

Before the communist establishment of Mongolia, education was primarily provided by the religious and royal institutions. Astrology, philosophy, mathematics, divination, Tibetan medicine, and Tibetan language were taught by the high-rank monks. In some families, informal skills were learned at home and passed on through the family. Formal education was exclusive and selective. After the revolution, Mongolia has had a complete school system with educational facilities ranging from elementary to technical and vocational schools and universities. A campaign to make every Mongol literate began shortly after the revolution of 1921-1922 when informal groups were established throughout the land to instruct people in the elements of reading and writing. Special short-term classes were set up in the provinces and 300 selected youths were sent into the countryside to teach basic classes in literacy. Teachers in the Ulaanbaatar were given extra pay to teach mass adult education classes.

After democracy in the early 1990s a new, political structure was established with the passage of a constitution in 1992 to guide the country's transition to a democratic government and a market rather than a command economy. Today, with half of the population of Mongolia being young people under the age of 35, education has steadily evolved with the government now actively supporting the development of the country’s students and youth. The Mongolian education system has several components:

  1. preschool and kindergarten;

  2. 4 years of primary education, beginning at age 8;

  3. 4 years of lower secondary education, with compulsory education ending after Grade 8;

  4. 2 years of upper secondary education;

  5. postsecondary and higher education;

  6. technical education and vocational training;

Higher education has been expanding rapidly, with public sector enrollments more than doubling since 1992. In addition, the government has allowed the development of a private higher education sector that is approaching half of the total students in Mongolia who have higher education. Administration of schools at all levels has been decentralized and less reliance placed on national planning approaches to the allocation of spaces for students in various types of curricula. The government has introduced measures aimed at cost-sharing with parents and students so that education funding can be supplemented by sources other than the central government. Legislation has also been passed allowing private sector provision of education at all levels. At each succeeding level of education, females outnumber males, resulting in higher education enrollments in which there are twice as many females as males (Statistics from the Ministry of Science, Education, Technology and Culture of Mongolia).

Currently, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Government of Mongolia and the Ministry of Education mandated that all public and private schools close from January 27 th to May 31 st, Classes given online as well as students receiving remote lessons on TV. At this time of great risk, we need to be resilient, self-disciplined, responsible, and caring for others. There is much potential for learning and growth if the precautionary measures and foster mutual respect to overcome this force majors are followed. The lost time can be recovered, we just need a little patience. Every person should strive for the betterment of the whole world.

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