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2022-06-13 15:12:55

Mongolia has become a world leader in spending on preschool education

Mongolia has become a world leader in spending on preschool education

Mongolia is a country of endless fields, steppes and blue lakes. Ancient traditions and culture have always been honored in the country. The education of children is also of great importance for Mongolians - in modern families, the priority place is occupied by the quality education of the child, starting from preschool age.

Despite the transitional stage of its socio-economic development, the government of the country spends a lot of money on early education. For comparison, the average world spending on preschool education is 6.6%, and in Mongolia this figure is approximately 22-24% of the total budget of the country! With such a high rate, about 80% of children receive preschool education in the country.

However, the authorities are faced with the main task: to provide an opportunity for early education for the children of nomadic pastoralists, of which there are about 15-20% in the country. The nomadic population of the country is approximately 1/4 of the total number of mongolian citizens. 

Ger-kindergartens

The system of preschool education in Mongolia includes more than 800 state and about 500 frequent kindergartens. At the same time, the maximum number of children in groups can exceed the threshold of 50 people. 

In order to cover the maximum number of children of Mongolian families, in the 1990s, the first ger-kindergartens were opened by the Government of Mongolia with the support of the British organization Save the Children.

"Ger" (yurt) - round folding structures with thick walls of felt, which are used by nomadic pastoralists for living. 

The first ger-kindergartens were delivered by trucks in the summer months to the places of settlement of several families of pastoralists. A successful pilot project began to function in the country in the following years.

Teachers from state kindergartens are sent to educate children of nomadic families. There is a similar business trip in the summer months and lasts about two to four weeks, after which there is a move to another place. Due to the difficult landscape of the country, heras and additional equipment are transported to remote places by horse.

Mobile kindergartens consist of two yurts.

  1. One yurt is intended for classroom activities, where there are tables, educational materials, toys, mats for sleeping. A small iron stove on coal or wood is also installed here.
  2. The second yurt is intended for cooking and sleeping.

Both designs are designed in size so that they can accommodate from 20 to 25 children aged 2 to 5 years. 

Due to the fact that not every nomadic parents can live near kindergartens, children can be left for 2-4 weeks while a mobile kindergarten operates in this area. The rest of the children who live nearby, relatives bring in the morning and pick up in the evening, as in standard kindergartens.

High performance

Thanks to the introduction of alternative early education as mobile kindergartens, school attendance and general literacy rates have increased significantly. Experts note the positive dynamics in this matter.

The thing is that earlier, when children from nomadic families were sent to school, the child faced several tasks at once: cognitive and emotional. The main problem was emotional, since the child had to leave his parents and live either in school dormitories or with relatives in the city. Because of this stress, children often dropped out of school or even ran away. 

Today, thanks to the creation of mobile kindergartens, children who have undergone at least a month of preparation for school are much better accustomed to the school routine. Such formal education has become highly valued in the country, especially among nomadic families.

Home Education

Mongolia is a developing country and is only in the first stages of transition to the status of a developed state. Based on the country's economic analysis, the World Bank has recently called on the Mongolian government to reconsider spending on preschool education. 

Today, the authorities of the country are offered an alternative solution to the early education of preschool children - home education. Between 2012 and 2016, the British organization Save the Children conducted a home education program in 30 districts of the country in Japan , and this approach to preschool education showed good results.

A feature of this program is the fact that the role of the teacher is played by the parents of the child themselves. They are allocated a special set that can be picked up at the library or the nearest state kindergarten. It includes 10 children's books and 3 toys, while such sets are divided into 10 types and exchanged by parents every 1-2 weeks. In total, the home education program lasts about 3 months (96 days). As part of the program, parents are also given special teaching aids, and children are given workbooks. Classes should be held daily for 30 minutes a day.

Parents are obliged to monitor the progress of the child and record him, answering special questions. Children are given the task of drawing a picture about the story that mom or dad told them.

When sharing materials, caregivers or librarians check the workbooks of the child and parent. After completing the entire course, the child's level of education is checked using a questionnaire that helps determine cognitive, behavioral, socio-emotional and physical data.

Despite the effectiveness shown by such a system of preschool education, in Mongolia it is developing much more slowly than ger-kindergartens. The government is making great efforts to reach 15-20% of preschool children. In addition to nomadic children, the authorities began to pay attention to children with disabilities who have long been excluded from the educational process.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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