With a $10 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education and World Bank support, the government of Mongolia is making solid progress in getting more Mongolian children an early-childhood education. Recently, 17 new kindergartens were built and equipped in Ulaanbaatar, the capital, and 100 new kindergartens in rural areas based on the typical ger (felt-lined tents) in which most rural families live.
These interventions help increase access to early childhood education for children in disadvantaged urban and rural communities, thereby reducing social inequality in Mongolia’s thriving economy.
The support of the Global Partnership and other partners also helps the country to advance its quest of getting all children in school and learning – including the most marginalized.
Involving herders’ children is key
Although nearly all children in Mongolia are enrolled in primary school, pre-school enrollment remains at around 86% (UIS) with enrollment in disadvantaged areas even lower. This contributes to poorer results and higher drop-out rates for children from these areas when they do reach primary school.
Many of the children who miss out on pre-school education come either from poor urban families, or from herders’ families who live in remote regions far from towns where they are expected to help with herding the animals and other chores.
Besides facing these pressures, rural children who do attend school must also cope with schools with poor sanitation and overcrowded dormitories, further discouraging them from attending school.
Establishing mobile kindergartens in rural areas
The 100 mobile ger-kindergartens that have been established with the GPE grant now benefit 1500 children in rural areas where the pre-school enrollment rate is especially low. They have become an important tool to increase the preschool enrollment in these rural areas. The 17 fixed kindergartens in Ulaanbaatar city, each with a capacity of 100 children, and the smaller ger-kindergartens will help children develop the skills to later succeed in primary school.
Furniture, kitchens and other equipment, indoor and outdoor playground toys, carpets and bedding are also supplied to the new kindergartens. These elements are crucial when developing a child-friendly environment to encourage and nurture high quality learning conditions for over 1,700 children in the capital Ulaanbaatar.Jeff Ramin is the GPE Country Lead for Mongolia, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Yemen, Bhutan, Philippines and Maldives.