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Ulaanbaatar, 09 August,2010- With the goal that every child in Mongolia benefit from early childhood education and school readiness; quality education; and opportunities to return to schooling if they have been forced to drop out for some reason, UNICEF today provided ger kindergartens and schools, including furniture and toys to the Ministry of Education to boost outreach to access of the children living in rural disadvantaged communities.

A contribution of more than MNT 180 million - 20 mobile ger kindergartens and 20 ger classrooms and equipment - are a part of an ongoing and strong commitment with the Government of Mongolia to increase access of children in every part of Mongolia to a quality education. With the Millennium Goal on access to education in mind, this contribution specifically addresses urban/rural disparities in education attainment, particularly access to early childhood developmet opportunities.

"The period to six years of age is considered the most important time for human development, not just of the brain, but of emotions and social skills. It lays the foundation for future development of an individual. Surveys show that if children of this age receive an adequate development and school readiness support, the prerequisites are created for them to successfully master the subsequent stages of education, to have less problems as adolescents to and to move more smoothly to becoming productive citizens", said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative to Mongolia.

" UNICEF's experience of the previous years demonstrates that mobile ger-kindergartens and visiting teacher services play an important role in development of young children in remote rural areas and represent satisfactory alternatives to the formal education system. Since 2003, UNICEF has supported the establishment of 70 ger-kindergartens in remote soums within the scope of its Convergent Basic Social Services and the Basic Education Programmes. The ger-kindergartens are operational at present providing pre-school education to 2,500-3,000 children every year," she added. To date, early childhood education opportunities are enjoyed by about 76% of young children. Of these, almost one quarter are reached by alternative training programmes for early childhood education such as visiting teachers, mobile ger kindergartens and shift groups.

Broadening this approach further, the 20 gers, 50 sets of toys, 20 sets of furniture worth MNT 92 million will reach over 500 pre-schoolers in 28 soums of Bayan-Ulgii, Khovd, Uvs, Dornod and Sukhbaatar provinces, and 6 kindergartens of Khan-Uul, Songinokhairkhan, Bayanzurkh, Chingeltei districts of Ulaanbaatar city. The complements earlier contributions of over MNT 149 million for establishment and operation of 19 ger kindergartens in 19 soums of 10 provinces affected herder families along with education services.

" Beyond kindergartens, our primary schools teach academic skills and lay the foundation for a productive life and play a crucial role in promoting tolerance, peace and understanding in society. Every child has the right to benefit from the comprehensive development offered by schools, yet more than 40,000 Mongolian children are denied this right. For this reason, UNICEF is also focusing on ensuring a return to school, or if more appropriate to non-formal education opportunities for those children who have had to drop out of school", added Flowers.

Since 2003, particularly disadvantaged children have benefited from the coverage of education through non-formal education approaches, development of teaching and learning materials for non-formal primary and secondary education including Equivalency Programme approved in 2005. In 2007, 9,986 children attended Equivalency training; 4,267 children completed their joined efforts with a wider range of stakeholders including UNESCO, UNDP and WHO within a UN joint project for ethnic minorities in June, 2009 and is contributing to improving access to and quality of formal and non-formal education in rural areas through supporting school drop-outs to return to formal education system through Equivalency programmes in 20 soums of Bayan-Ulgii, Dornod, Khuvsgul, Uvs and Khovd aimags, where the greater part of the minority population resides. To this end, today's contribution from UNICEF of over MNT 88 million worth of gers and furniture sets ( desks, chairs and blackboards) for establishment of 20 NFE training ger-schools in the project soums. A total of 800 school drop-out children in target soums are estimated to benefit from the NFE training annually, with 50% of them expected to complete primary education.

Mrs.Ch.Kulanda, Vice Minister of Education, Culture and Science took part in the ceremony of handing over the gers, furniture and toys to ger kindergartens and ger-schools held on August 09,2010 at the Sukhbaatar Square.




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