Development of schools

Development of schools in rural areas
The project started in 2000 with the aim of supporting the development of rural schools.
 
40 schools were involved in the project between 2000 and 2004. The project is now being expanded to comprise 80 schools following its extension for an additional four years.
 
Project activities
include the development of educational material, supplementary education for teachers, facilitating cooperation between the school and its local community, and providing children from poor backgrounds with the most necessary material for their school.
 
The schooling sector
in Mongolia is currently being reformed. While highly effective, the Russian inspired system was also very top down. Today, communication between the school leadership and the teachers, as well as between the teachers and pupils, should no longer take the form of one-way communication.
 
The Danish Mongolian Society school project encourages teachers and the school leadership to enter into dialogue and exchange ideas so that all stakeholders are included in the decision making. The experience indicates that this leads to increased work satisfaction and better quality of teaching.
 
School development in rural areas
Our intervention is focused on schools in rural areas, where the population was most hardly hit by the changes brought about by the transition to a market economy in 1990.

Many nomads witnessed a fall in their living standards to below subsistence levels with the end of collectivism. Their children dropped out of schools to help herding the family livestock. Meanwhile, the schools deteriorated. There were no means to maintain school facilities, provide school books, technical equipment or heating.
 
With the help from donors, Mongolia’s schools are slowly becoming functional again, and the government has having paid for the establishment of new ones.
 
Practical components of the project
The school development project has provided participating schools with means to maintenance, equipment, new books, heating and winter clothes for children. An equally important part of the project has been to provide supplementary education for schools principals and teachers. '

Around 600 teachers from the school project have attended courses, seminars and workshops, where Danish guest teachers among others have taught pedagogy and teaching methods.
 
Democratisation is a main pillar
It should be noted that democratisation is a main pillar in the school development project, where a main objective is for all the involved parties learn to jointly hold responsibility and make a difference in the development process.
 
Prior to the reform of the schooling system, teaching methodology was imposed from the top. Today, in project schools exchanges of ideas and experiences occur between school principals and teachers, and pave the way for cooperation.

There is room for teachers to put their own mark on the teaching. Experience shows that this has not only improves work satisfaction but has also makes the teaching more appreciated by pupils.

Children’s performance has undergone a significant improvement, and the number of pupils that prematurely drop out of school has decreased to zero in almost all the project schools. 
 
A main contributing factor
to these results is the increased involvement of parents in their children’s education: another of the major objectives of the school development project.

Parent boards
have been established which are imbued with real power, and parents have been offered short educational courses to bring their levels on par with that of their children and be able to discuss the different school activities with them.

Increased parent attention towards the school and its development has also benefited the local community, and one can observe a greatly strengthened local support to the school projects.
 
Project Partners
The school development project is an extension and expansion of Danida’s bilateral aid to Mongolia’s education sector in the period 1992-1999. Projects were carried out under the initiative of the Danish Mongolian Society and are being implemented in close coordination with the Copenhagen Centre for Educational Development, CICED.
 
In Mongolia, partners include Mongolian Association for Primary and Secondary School Development, MAPSSD, and the Mongolian Pedagogical University. Here, the principal of the pedagogical university, Professor Jadambaa, and the local administrator, Ms. Altanzuul, are catalytic role for the ongoing achievements of the project. 

The Danish project leader is Johnny Baltzersen, head of CICED at the CVU in Copenhagen and North Zealand.