In September 2022, members of the Consortium implementing the project Distance education to improve quality and access to school education in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Tajikistan held intensive meetings, consultations and discussions in Ulaanbaatar with the participation of consultants, experts, researchers and the Mongolian project team. The Project Lead, Jyldyz Doolbekova, Director of Taalim-Forum public foundation, Almagul Osmonova, Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant, Chinara Omurkulova, Country Coordinator for Tajikistan, Abduvohid Safarov, met with field researchers and consultants together with the Country Coordinator for Mongolia, Tungalagtuya Khuuhenduu, and Mongolian project team.
The development of distance education in Mongolia has been part of the national program since 2000. The expansion of online education and teacher training in distance learning/teaching began even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The research conducted in Mongolia included focus group discussions with parents and schoolchildren, interviews with key stakeholders, and participant observation by staying in the families with schoolchildren and visiting local schools in remote districts. Research work covered three regions of Mongolia: Khovd (western part), Gobi (southern part), and the Bayanzurkh district of Ulaanbaatar. Mongolian researchers shared preliminary results from qualitative stages of their research. They found that challenges in distance learning differed in remote areas, mining areas, and the capital city. For instance, in the Khovd region, 50% of the students did not watch tele-lessons. In some remote districts, children of herders were studying by receiving paper-based materials via gas stations and shops.
In October, the discussion on research results continued in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, with the participation of the Kyrgyz and Mongolian researchers, a member of the KIX National Committee in Mongolia, Academic Secretary of the Mongolian National Institute for Educational Research, Sanjaabadam Sed, IDRC KIX Senior Program Officer, Sangay Jamtsho, and project consultant, Dr. Emma Sabzalieva, from UNESCO IESALC.