PINZ has been helping one of the world’s largest and most sparsely populated countries to reform its higher education system.
PINZ consultants worked on an Asian Development Bank funded project in Mongolia in 2011 and 2012, and the final Workshop with ADB and the Ministry of Education Culture and Science is being held in Ulaanbataar this week. Recommendations made by PINZ Team for improving the quality, relevance and management of higher education will be discussed.
David Brook was one of a PINZ team that spent nine weeks in Mongolia, sometimes intemperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius. He and the Team were looking at issues ranging from financing and governance to university entrance exams and state funded training.
“It’s a country that gained independence relatively recently but has mining wealth and a fast growing economy. They want to develop a higher education system with an appropriate qualifications framework and stronger international connections to ensure Mongolia is producing the trained workforce it needs.”One focus was looking at how investment in new technology can improve outcomes for students says David.
“Having courses available on-line, for example, could make a big difference for a country with a very spread out population (around 30 per cent of Mongolia’s population is nomadic or semi-nomadic).
“Around the world, web platforms are increasingly part of university teaching programmes and Mongolia has the opportunity to leapfrog declining technologies, like copper wire, and deliver Internet access through advanced systems like wireless.”
Another recommendation is to adapt initiatives used in New Zealand and other parts of the world to equip people moving from the workforce into teaching with the skills they need.
David says there was keen enthusiasm from staff in Mongolian universities to learn more from New Zealand’s well developed and high quality higher education system.
“From our end, it was a fantastic cultural exchange that built links between our two countries.”