Being A Student In Mongolia: 2016 vs 2017
– What Has Changed?

Study at degree level in Mongolia is in high demand, and the country has a large number of students in higher education. That being said, Mongolia is facing some tough economic and social issues which have resulted in some students joining protest movements.

Enrollment Rate
Mongolia has one of the most surprising tertiary education enrollment rates from its category of middle-low income countries. A UK-based research initiative led by Development Progress revealed that the total number of students increased several times over an extremely short time span. In 2017, it is estimated that three out of five Mongolian youths are enrolled in higher education programs. That figure puts the landlocked Asian country in the same league with much more developed European nations.

Mongolia also has a high number of universities compared to its population. When compared to China, Mongolia has approximately 400 times fewer citizens, but only 17 times fewer educational institutions. Around 30,000 Mongolian students enter university or college each year.

Freedom of Speech
Mongolian students are far more involved in their country’s decision-making in 2017. One notable example is a series of protests nicknamed “Battle of Noyon-Uul” or “Protect Noyon-Uul.” Mongolian students, backed by political and environmental activists, managed to divert the government from its decision to mine a burial site in Noin-Ula.

A recently introduced austerity plan and an alleged theft of public funds triggered mass protests in the capital Ulaanbaatar. In March 2017, thousands took to the streets in protest, including students. There were no notable clashes with security forces, and the right to protest was respected.

Innovation
A group of students from the Mongolian State University of Education created a unique and highly useful plate recognition system. Numbers written on the plate are scanned, processed, and ran against an already existing database. Access is granted automatically based on finding a match. The project, which required less than 1,000, was completed in June 2017 and is currently being tested for access on the university campus. Mongolian students proved they can innovate and their idea is already being considered for large-scale implementation. Gated communities traditionally depend on security staff, and the electronic solution promises to reduce costs.

Exchange Programs
Starting with 2017, Mongolian students can sign up for an increased number of exchange programs in neighbouring countries such as Russia and China. This concludes that there are already a number of Mongolian students studying overseas. Mongolia is hoping to learn about the various education systems offered overseas so that it can improve its own programmes. Mongolia also has close ties with its powerful neighbour, Russia. Soviet influence was able to lift the level of literacy from 1% close to 100% in just a couple of decades, mostly because the country had a population of only hundreds of thousands.

Year after year, university students from Mongolia become more interested in studying in China. As a direct result, an increasing number of primary and secondary schools are incorporating Chinese into their curriculum.

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