Mongolia’s school system lasts twelve years with school entrance age at six. In Ulaanbaatar and cities like Erdenet there are private schools, though of mixed quality. Ulaanbaatar also has some foreign-language public schools, for example for Russian, Chinese, Turkish, English, and German.
The National University of Mongolia is the country’s oldest. It hosts twelve schools and faculties in Ulaanbaatar, and runs branches in Zavkhan and Orkhon. Approximately one third of Mongolians with university degrees have graduated from NUM. Mongolian State University is the next biggest, with about 4,000 students.
There are seven other institutions of higher learning: the Institute of Medicine, the Institute of Agriculture, the Institute of Economics, the State Pedagogical Institute, the Polytechnic Institute, the Institute of Russian Language, and the Institute of Physical Culture.
In addition, UNESCO estimates that there were just under 10,000 Mongolian students enrolled in higher education abroad in 2012. Leading destinations include South Korea, Russia, the US, Japan, and Turkey There is also a network of vocational training for highly skilled workers, such as machinists, heavy-equipment operators, and construction workers.
The Ministry of Education and Science, often in conjunction with NGOs and outside government organizations, has implemented non-formal distance education programs promoting basic skill development. About 100,000 of Mongolia’s 1,200,000 adults are taking part in some form of distance education. In Mongolia, surveys of Mongolian employers reveal key issues as enhancing the employability of Mongolian workers.
Improvement should be made in basic education and reducing the drop-out rate. For secondary and tertiary education as well as vocational training, better links need to be established between education/training programmes and skills and knowledge required by enterprises. The government’s response has been to create a national council on vocational training, skills standards and certification, involving key stakeholders to support skills development and link it to the demands of the labour market.