INCREASING KINDERGARTEN ACCESS
This September, 1,422 public and private kindergartens have received 252,753 children between the ages of two and five throughout Mongolia.
Some 76.6 percent of all children between the ages of two and five attended kindergartens in 2016, and as the government built 13 new kindergartens this year, children’s attendance in kindergarten has reached 81.5 percent, but 20 percent of children (nearly 57,000 children) have not been able to receive preschool education, and over 32,000 of them are in Ulaanbaatar and more than 24,000 are in provinces.
As 227 public and 443 private kindergartens operating in Ulaanbaatar have received 113,597 children on September 1, kindergarten access for children in the capital has increased by more than 8,000 children compared to last year.
In recent years, many parents used to spend two to three days to secure kindergarten enrollment for their child, which created massive queues outside public kindergartens in Ulaanbaatar before September 1. But this year, the Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office started an online registration system from July 25 to August 24 to ease the kindergarten registration process, which was considered as a better approach by most parents.
To deal with kindergarten shortage issues, the government wants to build new kindergartens, fund restoration of old kindergartens, increase kindergartens under public and private partnership and promote child care services, but this alone efforts could not dismantle challenging issues with respect to preschool education as the national birth rate has increased by 10 percent in recent years.
Senior official of Preschool Department of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports L.Otgonsuren pointed out that to increase kindergarten access, the ministry is working to include funds for purchasing or renting private kindergartens that provide children with comfortable environment and meet relevant standards in the 2018 state budget, and noted that 29 private kindergartens of Ulaanbaatar and provinces proposed to transfer the facility to the Capital Education Authority.
He added that the ministry is collaborating with 136 private kindergartens to provide 3,087 children who were unable to enroll in a public kindergarten with preschool education access.
Head of Labor and Social Protection at the Ministry’s Human Development Department S.Tungalagtamir emphasized that the government devoted 3.8 billion MNT to provide child care services to 5,496 children, including 297 children with disabilities.
She noted that the ministry wants to draw out 5.8 billion MNT from the 2018 state budget to provide child care services to over 5,200 children throughout the country through 426 centers. S.Tungalagtamir pointed out that the ministry is giving preferential treatment to children with disabilities and children of low-income families in its child care service.
Head of the Capital Education Authority (CEA) J.Gantulga stressed that as last year the government issued an order that promotes the establishment of kindergartens under public and private partnership, several state organizations such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Intelligence Agency and Law Enforcement University opened kindergartens for their employees. This year, five public and private partnerships were made to open new kindergartens, including the Government Office of Khan-Uul District, Thermal Power Plant No.4, and Wedding Palace.
J.Gantulga said that as opening a kindergarten to provide its employees’ kids preschool education creates many advantages for an organization, especially for their employees, organizations should work to open a kindergarten or center for child care service.
He noted that to reduce kindergarten shortage, CEA is supporting all organizations seeking to open a child care center for their employees by providing advice on how to meet kindergarten or childcare service standards.
Parents leave home earlier due to traffic congestion to get their children to kindergarten on time and to not be late to work, and they also leave work early to pick up their kids from kindergarten on time. But if their organizations have their own kindergartens for staff children, they will no longer face such problem.
Three of the new 13 kindergartens this year were built with financing from the state budget; another three were built with financing from the capital’s budget; two were commissioned with a loan and aid from foreign countries; another two through concession agreements; and three more with funds from districts’ budgets.
Although the government is exploring many avenues to provide preschool education access to all children, finding more financial resources to build more kindergartens is the best way for the country to deal with its preschool education challenge as the nation’s birthrate is increasing at an ever growing rate.
Kids at the Kindergarten No.198