Mongolia : Support for Innovation and Collaboration in Science, Technology, and Climate Change Education in Secondary Schools

Sovereign Project | 57176-001

The proposed project aims to improve the learning outcome of science education and the 21st century skills cultivating strong foundations needed for future labor force in this fast-changing and technology-driven societies. The PISA 2022 results revealed Mongolian secondary students' low comprehension in science, mathematics and reading. The learning context during the COVID-19 pandemic, characterized by TV and online-based learning, further weakened student competencies in these subjects in addition to existing challenges in the education sectorsuch as low teaching quality, changing and unclear curricula, and weak alignment with labor market demand skills.

Project Details

Project Name
Support for Innovation and Collaboration in Science, Technology, and Climate Change Education in Secondary Schools
Project Number
57176-001
Country / Economy
  • Mongolia
Project Status
Proposed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance
  • Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Operational Priorities
  • OP1: Addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities
  • OP2: Accelerating progress in gender equality
  • OP3: Tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability
Sector / Subsector
  • Education / Secondary

Gender
Effective gender mainstreaming
Description

The proposed project aims to improve the learning outcome of science education and the 21st century skills cultivating strong foundations needed for future labor force in this fast-changing and technology-driven societies. The PISA 2022 results revealed Mongolian secondary students' low comprehension in science, mathematics and reading. The learning context during the COVID-19 pandemic, characterized by TV and online-based learning, further weakened student competencies in these subjects in addition to existing challenges in the education sectorsuch as low teaching quality, changing and unclear curricula, and weak alignment with labor market demand skills. Therefore, to improve learning outcome of science education and the associated 21st century skills, Mongolia secondary students require hands-on drills and collaboration with peers supported by high quality teaching and laboratory-based learning as well as the quality content making strong relevance to real-world problems in the industries and issues around climate change.

The project development objective will be achieved by output 1. Teachers' capacity for planning and teaching secondary students' science, mathematics and reading classes improved; output 2. Creative and innovative science and climate change education laboratory established; and output 3. School-enabling environment for innovative hands-on education and climate change education strengthened.

Strong feature of the project is the establishment and operation of the creative and innovative laboratory that fosters hands-on experience in science and climate change education for both students and teachers. This space will be inclusive, catering to students with disabilities and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The program will promote more female student participation and invite many female leaders in the science and technology who can become role models for students. The laboratory will serve as a hub for knowledge exchange among secondary students, scientists, and industry professionals, promoting skills development through internships, capstone projects, and specialized programs in leadership, project management, and entrepreneurship. It will support the implementation of programs tailored to students with disabilities and from poor families, and foster women's leadership in science and technology.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Mongolia is a vast and sparsely populated country situated between People's Republic of China and Russia. As of 2022, Mongolia's total population reached 3.5 million (an increase of approximately 0.2 million since 2019), with its share of urban population rising from 68% to 70% over the same period. By 2030, about 78% of the population is expected to live in urban areas and youth population is expected to grow by 71% at 550,554 compared to the 2018 count of 321,538 which will significantly stress the education system.

Mongolia's economy has experienced robust expansion, evidenced by sustained economic growth and a notable increase in labor productivity. However, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic saw a significant downturn with a 4.4% contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) and a 5.0% drop in employment in 2021. About 63% of the population belongs to the age group 1564, and only about 58% of them participate in labor market in 2022. The labor participation rate is much lower among females (50%) compared to the rate of male population (65%). In 2021, the secondary graduate students labor force participation rate was only 42.3%, of which about 30% was in nonagricultural informal work. The higher education enrollment rate was about 59% in 2022. The country's economy is deeply rooted in construction, mining, agriculture, and services. Even though the labor demand has expanded substantially over the last two decades, many jobs created are mostly in low-paying sectors. The country's labor demand is created by small firms in the commerce sector and two-thirds of jobs are created by companies based in Ulaanbaatar, and about 60% of jobs created from 2010 to 2020 are in sectors where their average salary is below the median wage, whereas higher-paying jobs in mining and construction sectors' jobs creation is low. Secondary education serves as a critical bridge to higher education, establishing the essential knowledge and skills for advancing to higher education and specialized training in field such as computer science and chemistry. Like in other countries, graduation from higher education institutions often opens doors to more professionally and financially rewarding careers in Mongolia.

Mongolia is experiencing severe climate changes, with a warming of over 2

C since 1940, reduced rainfall, and escalating rates of warming that could surpass 5

C by century's end, exceeding global averages. Mongolia's escalating climate crisis poses a multifaceted threat to its economy, industry, agriculture, and deepening poverty, affecting public health and people's livelihood. Climate change education in Mongolia is in a nascent stage and needs integration across all educational levels, particularly in secondary education where it aligns with students' cognitive and social development phases.

The Government of Mongolia assigns high priority to education, spending 4.3% of the GDP or 12.8% of total government expenditures in 2022. As of school year 2022, of the total 859 schools, 688 or 80% are public. Mongolia's education sector has witnessed significant progress, with high enrollment rates and strategic implementations to enhance access to education across all levels. Notably, the country achieved universal basic education enrollment (98%), which is a testament to successful education access strategies, especially for primary and secondary education. Student learning outcomes showed better results among students enrolled in private schools and students' absence and dropout rate was much lower compared to public schools.

Secondary education enrollment consistently increased with the expansion of schools in rural areas and a growing willingness among parents to invest in their children's education. Despite these advancements, significant challenges persist, most notably in teaching quality and teachers' workloads that are not recognized such as training, dormitory supervision and other school activities; curriculum and textbooks; student learning outcome; gender stereotypes in education; inclusive education for students with disabilities; academic and career progression after graduation; and other issues such as school management's weak support for innovative approaches in teaching, hierarchical organizational culture, urbanrural gap, weak infrastructure, etc.

Students at all levels were shifted to TV-enabled and online learning soon after the restriction on movement measures were imposed in the country to reduce the negative effects of COVID-19. Of the total of 165 school days a year, about 100 days were taught through home-based distance learning through TV sessions and online learning, however more than a quarter of students did not have access to internet or equipment through which they can tune into the TV and online learning sessions.

In Mongolia's 2022 PISA debut, 49% of students reached level 2 in mathematics which is significantly less than the OECD average of 69%, and in science, 50% of Mongolian students reached this benchmark which is below the OECD average of 76%. This level signifies a grasp of basic math concepts and scientific understanding but lacks capacity to engage complex scientific concepts and processes. Only 36% of Mongolian students achieved level 2 or higher in reading, a stark contrast to the OECD average of 74%. This level indicates just basic text comprehension, without the skills to interpret complex or abstract material found in lengthier texts, as demonstrated by nearly no students reaching level 5. This shows that Mongolian students are significantly behind in reading proficiency, with a proficiency gap that poses a barrier to engaging with and understanding more intricate, conceptually challenging content. Female students outperformed male students in both mathematics and reading, leading by 6 points in math and 25 points in reading, contrary to the worldwide pattern of boys leading in math. Overall, the first PISA result is above many of Asian Development Bank (ADB) developing member countries but to leverage its workforce for spurring innovative, climate-smart industry growth, the country requires more efforts. Students' low performance can be attributed to many factors including curriculum, pedagogy, and the lack of relevance between the teaching content and curriculum with real-world needs.

The proposed project aims to improve the learning outcome of science and technology education and the 21st century skills cultivating strong foundations needed for future labor force in this fast-changing and technology-driven societies.

Impact

Enhancing holistic development of Mongolian students to work and live in the digital era actively participating in sharing knowledge and experiences, and contributing to national socioeconomic development and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Outcome

Secondary students'' learning outcome in science and technology subjects and the 21st century skills aligned with job market demand improved.

Outputs

Teachers' capacity for planning and delivering secondary school science and technology classes improved.

Science, technology and climate change education laboratory established.

School-enabling environment for innovative science, technology and climate change education strengthened.

Geographical Location
Ulaanbaatar

Safeguard Categories

Environment
C
Involuntary Resettlement
C
Indigenous Peoples
B

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples

Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation

During Project Design
During Project Implementation

Contact

Responsible ADB Officer
Youn, Hyun Joo
Responsible ADB Department
Sectors Group
Responsible ADB Division
Human and Social Development Sector Office (SG-HSD)
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education and Science

Timetable

Concept Clearance
17 Apr 2024
Fact Finding
27 May 2024 to 31 May 2024
MRM
-
Approval
-
Last Review Mission
-
Last PDS Update
16 May 2024

Funding

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Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

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Related Publications

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Tenders

No tenders for this project were found.

Contracts Awarded

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Procurement Plan

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