UNICEF HANDS OVER GERS, FURNITURE AND CHILDREN’S TOYS FOR GER KINDERGARTENS
Ulaanbaatar, September 4, 2009- Ensuring that all children have the best possible start in life, including benefiting from early stimulation and school readiness, is a key goal in UNICEF‟s support to the Government of Mongolia. In Mongolia, over the last school year (2008-2009), 73.1 percent of 2-6 age children in Mongolia participated in preschool education. While most children attended kindergartens, a growing percentage (15.8 percent) benefited from „alternate‟ approaches to reaching and involving children in learning. These children were involved in mobile ger kindergartens, shift groups and in other innovative, non-traditional learning activities.
As a part of this initiative, and with the strong support of the Government of the Netherlands, UNICEF today provided 20 gers, 50 sets of toys, 41 sets of furniture and training kits - a contribution of approximately MNT 150 million - to be used for 21 soums of Bayan-Olgii, Khovd, Uvs, Dornod and Tuv aimags, and 9 ger kindergartens of Khan-Uul, Bayangol, Bayanzurkh, Sukhbaatar, Chingeltei, Nalaikh, Baganuur districts of Ulaanbaatar. The contribution is designed to enhance children‟s learning environment. An additional, MNT 13 million ensures that 20 furniture sets (also handed over today) designed specifically for young children will be utilized in 20 dormitories. The period from birth to six years is now clearly recognised as the most important period for human development and it also lays the foundation for future development of an individual and of communities. Studies confirm that if children in this age group receive adequate stimulation, education and encouragement, the ground is firmly laid for them to move more easily and successfully through the subsequent stages of education. There is also evidence they stay longer in school, are more likely to go onto university and will make a stronger economic contribution to their communities. The experience of previous years demonstrates that mobile ger kindergartens and mobile teacher services play the most important role in development of young children in remote rural areas and represent satisfactory alternatives to the formal education system. Since 2003, UNICEF Mongolia has supported the establishment of 55 ger kindergartens and 40 school dormitories in remote soums. These are now fully operational, providing preschool education to 2000-2500 children every year.
“`Ensuring that all young children in all areas – urban, rural and remote have access to and can benefit from really stimulating and engaging learning spaces is a priority for the education sector”, said Yameen Mazumder, UNICEF Deputy Representative. “For this reason, in addition to the very practical contribution of materials that enhance the learning spaces, UNICEF is also supporting 40 teachers to move around communities and implement the “Curriculum for alternate forms of pre-school education”. MNT 78 million is dedicated to improving teaching methods in Dornod, Khovd, Bayan-Olgii, Gob-Altai, Tuv and Uvs aimags, as well as in Chingeltei, Songinokhairkhan and Nalaikh districts of Ulaanbaatar”, continued UNICEF Deputy Representative.
UNICEF remains committed to supporting the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in their goal to implement nation-wide the “Preschool Education Training Policy” (2007) and the “Alternative Training Program for the Early Childhood Development” (2008). In this regard, the mobile kindergartens and mobile teacher services play a leading role.
The handing over ceremony of the gers, furniture and toys to kindergartens was attended by Ms. Ch. Kulanda, Deputy Minister of Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia, Mr. Yameen Mazumder, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Mongolia, directors and teachers of districts and aimags‟ kindergartens and schools.