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 Figures show the most recent available data and the year.

Source: World Development Indicators 2006  

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MN-PETS blue coverPublic Financing of Education in Mongolia: Equity and Efficiency



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Mongolia, a country with vast surface area of about 1.5 million km2, has the lowest population density in the world (3 times the size of France, but a population which is 24 times smaller) and a per capita income of about US$430. 

The transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy since the early 90s has taken a very heavy toll and showed signs of turnaround only in the early 2000s. Despite high economic growth rates over the last couple of years (10.6 percent in 2004, highest in East Asia), poverty and inequality continue to be serious problems in both rural and urban areas. 

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Education in Mongolia

Father and son The Mongolian education sector is recovering from the crisis during the transition period in the early 1990’s after the fall of communism and the subsequent departure of Soviet support. The Government of Mongolia has, in recent years, worked hard to protect public spending on education and to recover from a drop in enrollments that occurred in the mid-1990’s.

Although on average education outcomes are relatively high in Mongolia compared to other low-income countries in the region, there are large disparities between rural and urban education outcomes. There are still many children in rural areas who do not attend primary or secondary school. 

Child According to the 2002 Living Standards Measurement Survey, 3 percent of rural students never enroll in school, grade 4 completion is 95 percent and 9 percent drop out before completing grade 8. In addition, urban schools are becoming overcrowded due to the rapid rural to urban migration that is taking place across the country.

GOM has introduced some important recent reforms, including the decision to expand the primary-secondary cycle to 11-years. In school year 2004-2005, the official entry age to grade 1 changed from 8 to 7. GOM is also planning to add a 12th year to the structure by 2008 and lower the official entry age to primary school to 6. The ultimate goal is to move from the 4-4-2 system, to a 5-4-2 system,and eventually to a 6-4-2 system.

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World Bank Program


  • boy and girl in front of their horses Rural Education and Development Project (READ).The READ project is intended to enhance the quality of education in rural primary schools by providing classroom libraries to schools and training teachers around the use of books. The project also aims to strengthen student assessment  in Mongolia by providing resources to create a new national assessment for grade 5 students.
  • Fast Track Initiative. Mongolia was accepted into the Fast Track Initiative in September 2006 and has received a total of $29.4 million in grant resources from the FTI's Catalytic Fund to be spent on improving the access and quality of basic education in Mongolia over the next 3 years. One of the main objectives will be to prepare the education system to expand to 12 years in 2008-2009.

Analytical and Advisory Services

  • Public Financing of Education in Mongolia. This report provides an overview of the financing of public schools in Mongolia. It combines a  review of the sector with the  results of extensive qualitative and quantitative data collection efforts at the school, provincial and central levels.
  • Building Skills for New Economy. There are concerns that the current education system is outdated and is not geared towards a market-based economy. This report looks at the skills that are currently demanded by the labor market and where the education can do a better job in providing these skills for the labor market. The report also highlights some key concerns in Mongolia's unemployment rate, with many of those who are unemployed holding higher degrees.
  • close up of mongolian boy in class Improving the Data Collection on Children with Disabilities (in progress). For countries attempting to reach the last 10 to 15 percent of children not enrolled in primary education, addressing the needs of children with disabilities is particularly important, since they are often the last considered. However, due to a lack of data, governments are unsure about how to identify and scale up best practices. 

    This project, part of the Netherlands partnership program, will help build local capacity for collecting real-time data on children with disabilities that can be used to monitor education services and evaluate the impact of interventions intended to improve them. Ongoing disability data collection that is built into countries’ own Education Management Information Systems is needed because survey data – which is usually scarce and of poor quality – is too expensive and generally not suitable for monitoring and evaluation in national programs for a relatively small, hard to identify group.

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June 2007

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