Pre-school education to rocket in Mongolia with approval of new law
Mongolia, May 2008 - Mongolian children will have a better environment and conditions to learn and study from the very early years. A new law on pre-school education initiated by UNICEF was passed by the Government of Mongolia in May 2008. The main objective of the law is to create the legal environment that will enable all children, especially disadvantaged ones, to have equal access to high quality education and health services provided by the pre-school education institutions.
“As many young children in rural Mongolia live far away from kindergartens, we are supporting mobile kindergartens, parenting skills promotion and mobile teacher services”, noted Dr. Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Mongolia Representative, “In parallel with provision of a technical assistance in drafting a new law on pre-school education, UNICEF has been contributing to the capacity building of pre-school service providers through study tours, workshops, seminars and conducting training for kindergarten and mobile teachers. As a result, more than 60 mobile kindergartens were established in remote provinces as well as over populated peri-urban districts of Ulaanbaatar city, thus increasing school readiness level of disadvantaged children.”
With the implementation of the new law, a legal environment will be created to develop further the alternative forms of pre-school education services, such as nomadic and seasonal training programmes for herders’ children, shift training, day groups and part time training. It means that, in addition to the existing kindergartens, the Government will provide its financial and technical support in developing early childhood development programmes, which were supported earlier by international organisations and NGOs only.
“UNICEF will support the Government of Mongolia in its efforts to implement the new law on the pre-school education by strengthening mobile kindergartens and family-based early childhood development. We will also provide training materials and the required supplies, including gers (traditional tent-like dwelling)”, added the UNICEF Mongolia Representative.
Around 23 percent of total population of Mongolia is 0-6 year olds. Among them 2-5 year olds represent the target group for pre-school education. The Education Master Plan of Mongolia 2006-2015 has an objective to achieve a 99 percent pre-school enrolment rate by 2015. Enormous efforts by all related parties are needed in order to reach this goal as the current gross pre-school enrolment rate stands at 58 percent only. There is no doubt that effective partnership between the Government and local governments at provincial levels, as well as donor partners plays a paramount role in expanding access and increasing enrolment rate in early learning and pre-school education. Therefore, UNICEF will work towards ensuring an effective coordination of donors’ activities on early childhood development efforts in the country.