Mongolia’s transition to a free market economy in the early 1990s had a drastic impact on the country’s literacy rate. Over the last 20 years, many children, especially those in rural areas, have not attended primary or secondary school at all. Enrollment figures nation-wide have steadily declined.
To combat this growing problem, the Government of Mongolia has introduced a number of strategies to improve the country’s education system, including the World Bank-funded Rural Education and Development (READ) Project. READ is implemented by Mongolia’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Mongolia’s Rural Education and Development (READ) Project, formerly known as the Rural Education Support Project, was established in 2006.
READ’s aim is to enhance the quality of education in rural primary school grades one through to five.
READ is made up of three components:
- Support for rural schools by increasing the amount of learning materials available to students and teachers. Teachers and their school networks are supported in the use of learning materials. Classroom libraries are also being established and reading is promoted through professional development, professional teacher networks, and a public reading campaign.
- The government’s capacity to monitor student learning through participation in national and international assessments is being strengthened. The efficiency of education policy tools is also being improved.
- Financial and technical support are being provided for project management and the monitoring of projects.
So far, READ has been able to supply more than 3,520 rural primary school classrooms with new libraries and books and more than 4,500 primary school teachers have received training.
Within READ’s first year alone, libraries were established in all rural schools in 11 aimags (provinces) and hundreds of teachers received training. The books included in classroom libraries were chosen through a competitive process, one that reviewed over 900 manuscripts
READ is fully-funded by IDA contributions through to February 2013. 75 percent of funding goes to primary education and 25 percent to public administration, law and justice (central government administration).
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Mongolia.
In June 2008, additional IDA financing of USD$1 million was approved for READ.
The additional resources are helping to scale up READ activities in rural schools. Financing is supporting the distribution of learning materials (including customized children’s laptop computers) to children in selected pilot rural primary schools. Funding is also being used for teacher and student training and evaluative reports.
These resources will also examine the role of information technology in improving the overall quality and effectiveness of education.
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Mongolia is coordinating the use of these funds.