UNICEF HANDS OVER SUPPLIES TO SUPPORT EDUCATION RIGHTS OF MONASTIC BOYS
Ulaanbaatar, 18 November 2013 – With the goal of supporting education rights of all children including monastic boys, UNICEF handed over ICT equipment and tools to Dashchoimpel datsan of the Gandantegchenlin Monastery in Ulaanbaatar.
Since 2011, UNICEF has been supporting the provision of non-formal education equivalency programme trainings to over 120 monastic boys who are enrolled in religious studies at several Buddhist temples. These include Dashchoimpel datsan of the Gandantegchenlin Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, the Amarbayasgalant temple in Selenge province, the Sain Nomun temple in Nalaikh district of Ulaanbaatar and the Erdenemandal temple in Sukhbaatar province. Between August and September 2013, UNICEF delivered a fully furnished mobile “ger” school and ICT equipment and tools to the Amarbayasgalant temple and ICT equipment to the Sain Nomun temple. The supplies to three temples, which amount to over 15 million MNT, are expected to contribute to increasing the quality of general education services for the monastic boys.
“Mongolia has sustained high enrolment rates at the primary and secondary education levels for the last several years. However, a significant proportion of certain groups of children including children with disabilities and monastic boys are still facing challenges in having full access to quality education services” noted Mr. Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF Representative.
The MDGs and EFA goals emphasize the importance of education of girls and women. Of the 167 countries with data for both 1999 and 2010, thirty-three had a gender parity index below 0.90 in 1999. By 2010, there were only seventeen countries in this group. Despite this significant progress in reducing gender disparity, millions of girls worldwide still face major obstacles gaining access to school.
In Mongolia, however, boys’ underrepresentation in education has been a critical issue. Although overall dropout rates are declining in Mongolia, a disproportionate rate of boys still dropout of school or simply do not enrol. 60% of dropouts between the ages of 8 and 15 are boys. Boys from rural areas are considered an at-risk group. In rural and peri-urban areas, boys are often expected to contribute to their family income through animal husbandry or other agricultural activities. Boys working in the countryside are much less likely to go to school. Monastic boys who exercise religion in Buddhist temples also have limited access to general education services.
In 2012, the National Human Rights Commission in collaboration with UNICEF, UNDP and NGO partners conducted a study on the child rights situation of about 300 children in temples and churches in Mongolia, where over 60% of them had limited access to quality education opportunities. The study identified significant gaps in knowledge and awareness of child rights in religious settings, particularly in appropriate discipline for children, approaches to child health and hygiene and efforts to enable child participation.
“In two days, the world is celebrating the 24th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And we are very pleased with this timely initiative, efforts and endeavors of all segments of society including religious society particularly the Gandantegchenlin Monastery in moving towards ensuring education rights of monastic boys as a follow-up to address the study findings, which is perfectly in line with the UNICEF’s initiative on Day of Prayer and Action of Children that aims to mobilize religious communities to promote children’s right on or around 20 November each year.” underlined Mr. Fall.
Mr. B.Gantulga, Director of Pre-school and Primary Education Division, Ministry of Education and Science, religious leaders from Gandantegchenlin Monastery headed by Da Lama H.Byambajav, and Mr. Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF Representative participated in the handing over of supplies event that took place at the Gandantegchenlin Monastery in Ulaanbaatar.