Education Today

In June 2011, VSO Mongolia published a report on the education sector which looked at progress, challenges and future priorities given the current socio-economic changes in Mongolia. The report, which was launched to commemorate IYV+10 (10th Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers), showed that there were numerous opportunities presented by the high level of economic growth, which has brought more resources into the sector. However, it showed that as Mongolia emerges onto the world stage, the disparity between rich and poor could leave many marginalised when it comes to benefiting from education. The report argued that the Mongolian government has made an immense effort to develop the education sector at all levels since its transition to democracy with an admirable openness and willingness to progress towards its further development. This was particularly noted in accommodating for Mongolia's unique country characteristics such as the nomadic lifestyle, low population density in remote areas, and striving towards meeting international standards.

The report also showed that Mongolian people have always valued education over other attributes and have habitually made it their priority to educate their children. Due to these efforts, the findings showed that overall the parents were satisfied with their children's progress at school. However, there were still many challenges that remain to be tackled. The findings also showed that amongst all stakeholders, there was an overwhelming majority who gave a negative response when asked about the performance of the sector at present; this was in the quality of education (68%), access to education (83%), and the inclusiveness of the system for disadvantaged groups (76%).
In concluding what VSO Mongolia achieved in its education programme over the last 20 years, the report showed that international volunteers have and continue to make a significant impact in the development of the education sector. Stakeholders who took part in this research generally held a positive view of the role and influence of the international volunteers, with 67% of respondents regarding them as having played a crucial role in education. While just over half of respondents had experience of working with international volunteers, 94% of respondents were willing to work with them in the future. At this stage in Mongolia's development, the relevance and impact of international volunteering was highlighted when addressing these challenges and future priorities in taking the education sector forward to achieve its ultimate goal of "Education for All."