The children

Early years

Pre-School Years



Learning Years

© UNICEF Mongolai/2001/Giacomo Pirozzi

During the learning years from 6 to 14 years the child begins a period of physical and emotional transition to formal schooling, socialization and interaction with peer groups.

There are striking rural urban differences concerning the primary enrolment rates. The net primary enrolment rate has gradually reached 91.0% in 2000, with 96.0% in urban areas compared to 85.0% in rural areas. In the majority of ‘soums’ the primary enrolment rates were below 90%. The net primary enrolment rate has slightly decreased with 90.4% in the 2003-2004 school sessions.

In 2004, 83.2% of school drop-out children in Mongolia lived in rural areas. The drop-out rates are particularly high in grade 1, grade 3 and grade 8 with 28.2%, 15.0%, and 11.4% respectively. Of the school drop-out children, 61.0% are boys and 39.0% are girls. This indicates an unusual ‘reverse gender gap’, favouring girls in both enrolment and completion rates mainly due to the withdrawal of boys in rural areas to assist in income-earning activities such as herding. New approaches must be explored to support boy’s education.

Mongolia has achieved impressive results regarding girls’ education. In primary, secondary and tertiary schools 50.1% of the students are girls. In 2004, 58.9% of school drop-outs are boys and 41.1% are girls. In the Urban poverty and in-migration study a similar trend is observed. This indicates an unusual ‘reverse gender gap’, favouring girls in both enrolment and completion rates. According to the MDG report ‘the main cause for the increased number of school drop-outs are Mongolia’s large territory, the nomadic lifestyle, and poverty. Boys aged 12-15 are taken out of school by their parents during the harsh winter and spring seasons in order to have them contribute to income-earning activities like herding. 94.5% of school drop-outs are from rural area and 4.5% from urban areas.

The GOM has increased its efforts to improve the education of children allocating an average of 20% of the budget to the education sector. Most of the public spending on education goes to heating and maintenance costs. Too little money is spent on the development of school curricula and the capacity building of teachers. In urban centres, there is a shortage of classrooms, exacerbated by the increased rural to urban migration. In 2000, 90% of all school buildings and 80% of the dormitories were in need of repair.





 Email this article

unite for children