“Improving primary education outcomes for the most vulnerable children in rural Mongolia” (2012-2017)

Project name: “Improving primary education outcomes for the most vulnerable children in rural Mongolia” (2012-2017)

  • Project donor: World Bank, Japan Social Development Fund
  • Project implementer: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia, Save the Children
  • Project duration: Five years (2012-2017)

Brief information:

In 2008, Mongolia’s general education system was extended from 10 to 12 years to align it with international standards. As a result of this reform, children began attending school at age six, creating new challenges for rural herder families. In remote areas, the majority of 6-year-olds did not directly attend preschool, which affected their academic performance and led to social and psychological difficulties. To address this challenge, Save the Children, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports of Mongolia, implemented a project entitled “Improving Primary Education Outcomes for the most vulnerable children in rural Mongolia”, funded by the World Bank and its Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) in 30 soums of Dornod, Uvurkhangai and Sukhbaatar aimags. The project developed three programs to meet the learning and development needs of children of rural herders. A total of 20,000 teachers, parents and citizens participated in the project, which benefited more than 8,500 children from herder households.

Project goal:

Improve access, quality and results of primary education for about 7,500 children aged 5-10 from herder households in 30 remote soums of Arkhangai, Uvurkhangai, Dornod and Sukhbaatar aimags.

Project objectives:

  • Introduce a school preparation program for children living in rural aimags and strengthen parental and community participation;
  • Introduce an extracurricular after-school program in schools for vulnerable children living away from home and nurture children’s learning, adapting and developing process in school and dormitory-life by introducing a constructive, enabling and child-friendly environment in rural schools that incorporates child participation, play and learning, and care and protection during after-school hours;
  • Support opportunities for out-of-school children in rural aimags through the introduction of a compensatory education program for children.

Project target areas:

30 soums of Arkhangai, Dornod, Uvurkhangai and Sukhbaatar aimags

Project success and results:

  • About 4,000 5-year-old children of remote rural herders who did not have access to preschool education completed the Home Based School Preparation Program with the help of their parents. As a result of the program, the average enrollment rate in the four targeted Aimags increased from 72.8% in the 2012-2013 school year to 86% in the 2016-2017 school year, an increase of 13.2%. A World Bank study found that the cognitive and language skills of children who had completed the home-based school readiness program were better than those of children who had no access to ECE at all, and that ‘ger kindergarten’ was critical in preparing children outside of kindergarten for continued learning and success.
  • The Home Based School Preparation Program was adopted as the ‘Early Childhood Development Program’ on August 2, 2018 by ministerial decree from the Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sport (MECCS) Herder children who are unable to attend preschool are now able to prepare for school in a family environment with support of their parents.
  • More than 4,400 children aged 6-10 from herder households who lived in the dormitories have completed the “Extracurricular After School Program”. The children who participated in the program improved their learning performance and qualified for Olympiads and competitions by participating in various activities to discover the children’s talents and interests. The quality of primary education in the 30 target soums improved by an average of 15 percent, with an average progress of 15 percent in math and 14.75 percent in Mongolian.
  • A total of 164 children benefited from the Compensatory Education Program for lower-primary out-of-school children aged 8 to 10. The children obtained their primary education by learning Mongolian and mathematics at home with the support from their parents. 66 of the children were re-enrolled in schools and equivalent programs.
  • The project established voluntary groups, Community Education Councils, in each targeted soum. The councils consist of parents and representatives from the community, kindergartens, schools and local authorities. They have proven to be an effective initiative to increase community participation in school activities and strengthen cooperation between key stakeholders in education.

Project Press

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