This article introduces the outcomes of the studies conducted on Mongolia’s education sector, focusing on organizational methods, challenges of the training processes, and the transition to online schooling during the pandemic.
As in many other countries, the Mongolian educational sector has struggled to adjust to the distance learning format made necessary by Covid-19. Thus, the Mongolian Institute of Educational Research, the Institute of Teachers Professional Development (ITPD), higher institutions’ teachers, Preschool Education Organizations, and Secondary Education Organizations have been arranging TV lessons in cooperation with the Association of Mongolian Television Broadcasters for several months since February 2020.
The TV lessons are accompanied by sign language interpretation, while some TV lessons for primary grade pupils are translated into the Kazakh and Tuva languages for Mongolia’s ethnic minorities.
During the 2019-2020 period, a total of 3324 video lessons were broadcasted throughout the country. The TV lessons can be divided into the following categories or topics:
- Mongolian national tradition and culture;
- Pre-school, general, special and life-long education;
- General Entrance Examination preparation.
During the 2020-2021 academic year, instead, a total of 2775 hours’ worth of TV lessons on 75 topics have been taught via 16 different TV channels by 577 teachers. The allocation of video lessons on the econtent.edu.mn website, and the promotion of free access to educational contents throughout the country, have increased the possibilities and opportunities for students to use the content of the application. Despite some visible advantages, we have faced a number of challenges, which will be further discussed.
The outcomes of several studies on TV lessons show that further arrangements are needed to improve the lessons’ organization as well as their content to help students who may be falling behind. As such, TV lessons should be enriched with content that might be interesting for students, including exercises and tasks that support students’ learning, and equipped for better IT usage. With regards to this, with the support of the Mongolian Government and by the order of the Ministry of Education and Science, the “Supporting Basic Educational Services During Covid-19 Pandemic” UN Project jointly with the Japanese Government has funded the development of pre-school and secondary education interactive lessons, which will be accompanied by sign language interpretations available in the Mongolian, Kazakh, and Tuva languages.
However, the children of some herdsmen living in remote areas or belonging to low-income families do not have access to the internet or equipment to watch the TV lessons, meaning they cannot pursue their studies.
The studies mentioned above suggest that students are at risk of falling behind the schedule and becoming victims of inequality and discrimination. They also show that distance learning may create emotional inconsistency, psychological disorder, or anxiety about falling behind among junior and senior students. As a result of these surveys, the Ministry of Education and Science has organized a two-month-long socio-psychological event for students, parents, and teachers. The Ministry has also distributed additional printed material to those kindergarten and secondary school pupils who are falling behind or are incapable of watching TV lessons; and it has created a video database for the development of lifelong and parents’ education. Furthermore, some 11.000 teachers have been enrolled in regular training courses held by the ITPD (L.Tsedevsuren, 2021).
The transition into the e-learning mode across the secondary education system by the Ministry of Education and Science was conducted along the following lines (T.Nyam-Ochir, 2020):
- Digital platforms;
- Smart administration system;
- Open educational resources (OER);
Creation of learning management systems (LMS).
In order to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, LMSs were tested for three months and were installed in a total of 90 kindergartens and secondary schools across the country. According to the “Vision-2050: Long-Term Development Policy of Mongolia”, “The Government shall aim to create and develop equal opportunities for the quality and inclusive education for everyone” and, in order to achieve these goals, there is an urgent need for legal amendments and reforms in the educational sector. For these reasons, as a way to keep up with the world’s development trends and digital transition in the field of education, legal arrangements have been included in law drafts to ensure equal and inclusive opportunities for education for everyone by creating OER (open educational resources) for digital and distance learning for the first time in Mongolia. During the Covid-19 pandemic, colleges and higher education institutions have been using university MIS (management information systems), LMS, and other software for their training process.
At present, some 319 soums (small administrative units), or 96.6% of the country, have fiber optic cable connections between one another (CITA, 2020). All of the 330 soums in Mongolia have 3G or 4G/LTE internet connections, and 91.6% of the population uses internet applications, while between 42.6-48% of households possesses computers.
As the quality and outcomes of higher educational institutions’ e-learning depend largely on their ICT infrastructure, human resources, and program renovations, there is an urgent necessity for the supply of teachers and students with computers and other equipment, as well as for the development and application of dual integrated curricula.
Finally, we reach the conclusion that, in Mongolia, the government is striving to plan and involve every student into its continuous training process while embarking into the education sector’s digital transformation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
 Mongolian Institute of Educational Research, 2021. Education Program Research Sector. Training Activities During COVID-19.
 UNICEF, 2020. “Video Lessons During the State of Emergency. Study Outcomes.”
 MES, MNU, UNICEF, 2020. Outcomes of the Study on Socio-Psychological Issues and Risks.
 Main Development Trends of Mongolia for 2021-2025 (Annex-1 to the Resolution-23 of the Mongolian Parliament, 2020)
 Assessment of the OR of Mongolia, 2018.
 L.Munkhtuya, 2020. Reflections on the Readiness for the Online Training. Teacher Development Journal. №4
Mid-Term Development Plans of The Education Sector for the Period 2021-2030.
Action Plan of the Government of Mongolia for 2020-2024 (Annex to the Resolution-24 of the Mongolian Parliament, 2020).
UNESCO, 2020. “Global Education Monitoring Report 2020 – Inclusion and education”.
L.Munkhtuya, 2020. “21st Century and Teaching Trends. Distance Learning and Online Platforms in the Education Sector: Findings, Experiences and Methodology” International Conference.
Open Society Forum, 2020. Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Educational Sector.