JICA grassroots project final meeting

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — On January 12, 2017, the final conference on “Sustainable use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Improving the Quality of Primary Education in Mongolia” project was held at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (MECS) conference hall.

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Conference Participants, Ulaanbaatar, January, 2017

This meeting marks the project milestone at the finishing line of the 5-year JICA funded grassroots project (2012 – 2017). Project activities had positive impact on development of capacities for primary school teachers in Mongolia to use, create, and integrate ICT for professional development and into their teaching. A total of 73 officials, educators, and counter partners attended the conference, including experts from JICA, MECS,  Tokyo Tech, MNUE, UNESCO-IIEP, and representatives of 21 aimags and Ulaanbaatar city.

The conference started with the Minister for Education, Culture, Science and Sports of Mongolia, Mr. J.Batsuuri’s welcome speech. The Minister expressed his deep gratitude for the successful implementation of the project during the last 5 years. He appreciated the uniqueness of the project to improve the quality of primary education through improving teachers’ knowledge and skills at their workplace, especially for geographically remote areas. Next, Mr. Sato from JICA Mongolia Office gave a speech about the project experience. Mr. Sato emphasized the significant change in skills of local primary school teachers–from those who were unfamiliar with computers to those who are creating and sharing original digitalized teacher training materials. He also noticed the good timing of the project that was in line with major educational developments in Mongolia such as one lap-top per teacher program to broaden the project activities.

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Mr. J.Batsuuri, Minister of MECS
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Mr. Sato, Representative, JICA Mongolia

Dr. Saito was invited to speak on behalf of UNESCO-IIEP, Paris. She congratulated the success of the project implementation and noted that she appreciates the contribution of UNESCO-IIEP graduates’ continuation to this endeavor. Prof. Yamaguchi from Tokyo Institute of Technology delivered the opening remarks about the project involvement. Prof. Yamaguchi overviewed the history of development of education sector in Mongolia, and emphasized a great development in educational resources such as the school infrastructure, ICT facilities, teachers’ competencies etc. She appreciated the remarkable changes in teachers, especially the vast and rapid integration of ICT for teachers’ professional development currently.Mr. Sato, Representative,   JICA Mongolia

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With Mr. Sato, Representative, JICA Mongolia

After the opening remarks, the project team members from MSUE, Steering committee members, and Tokyo Teck took stage to present about the project.  From the project implementation unit of MSUE, Prof. Jadambaa gave an overview on the important activities of the project, and the successful distribution of all final products (VCDs and DVDs) to local schools and educational institutions in all aimags and Ulaanbaatar city.

Next, Prof. Sukhbaatar’s presented the analysis of quantitative findings of the project impact survey. There are four important findings: First, appreciation of teachers’ work by stakeholders (principals, parents and community, and peer teachers) has increased. Second, perceived professional competency of teachers on use of ICT has substantially increased. Third, a number of teachers who received recognition of their teaching excellence awards has significantly increased. Fourth, ICT infrastructure and use of ICT in school have increased over the duration of the JICA funded project.

As for the qualitative findings, Prof.Yamaguchi and Prof.Takada covered the monitoring outcomes in five regions. For example, the training materials were perceived to be highly localized, which is very important because the project aims to promote the creation of localized teacher training and classroom teaching materials. Furthermore, it was found that the project activities promoted teacher collaboration among teachers and schools, and teacher development as a group rather than individuals is highly emphasized. Corresponding with quantitative finding, the progress is evident to utilize different types of platform for sharing digitalized training materials. For instance, “Bagshiin Khugjil” at national level, ECD website at aimag level, and SNS such as Facebook at individual level.

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Prof. Sukhbaatar from Institute of Finance and Economics, Ulaanbaatar

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Prof. Yamaguchi and Prof. Takada presenting qualitative findings

In the afternoon, the keynote speaker,  Dr. Saito from UNESCO, gave a speech on “use of ICT for the capacity development in educational planning and management”, which covered topics such as the evolution of distance education in UNESCO-IIEP, and introduction of MOOC on learning assessment. She also answered questions from participants including the strategies for successful implementation of PISA in 2020 in Mongolia. She was also very happy to hear that the alumni of IIEP are actively leading the development of education sector in Mongolia.

 

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Dr. Saito from UNESCO-IIEP

Education Culture Department (ECD) methodologists from five counterpart regions also gave presentations about the specific activities carried out in each region.  Each presenter reported how  teachers’ ICT skills and professional competencies are improved though the project activity, especially through developing digitalized teacher training material. Presentation from each aimag is summarized below.

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Question from participant (Khentii ECD methodologist)

  • Bayankhongor aimag

With close collaborations among MNUE professors, ECD methodologists, and local primary school teachers were observed in developing and improving the digital teacher training materials. Bayankhongor aimag has already been utilizing the VCDs in 30 subjects for aimag and school level training in order to enhance teachers’ capacity. The ECD methodologists also observed improvement in teachers’ attitudes and behaviors to use ICT to improve their job, and this is considered one of the most appreciated outcomes of the project.

  • Bulgan aimag

Bulgan aimag ECD has observed that teachers are becoming proactive in producing the digital teacher training materials, instead of acting as a user of such materials like in the past. Teachers are developing new skills, developing the scenario of digital material, recording videos, editing and integrating into a complete file. Such a educational activities are impossible without these new skills, as well as successful delivery of the final product.

  • Khentii aimag

In Khentii teachers, training managers, and ECD methodologists are collaborating closely to conduct effective, efficient training sessions. The study tour to Japan was also a highlight: teachers learnt the teaching methods from Japanese primary school classrooms and immediately shared with local primary school teachers upon arrival. Khentii schools are also taking students for excursion to local historical places such as Home of Chingiskhan, inspired by Bayankhongor Man and Environment subject digitalized teacher training material.

  • Khovd aimag

Khovd aimag teachers and schools are benefiting from the project activity especially the promotion of teacher collaboration and experience sharing within the aimag. With the significant increase of ICT skills of primary school teachers, 987 materials in eight subjects are currently archived in the digital library. Also, parents and community members are involved in the project, resulting in positive outcomes.

  • Ulaanbaatar city

The general principal of Ireedui Complex School in Songinokhairkhan District stated that this project contributed to improve not only the quality of the teachers, but also the students through the lessons conducted by the teachers who gained new skills. The principal also reported they planned and conducted their own competition of developing digital training materials within the complex school, to motivate teachers for producing high quality digital contents.

Exhibition of the materials used for teacher training and classroom teaching took place after the conference. The materials from counterpart aimags were displayed. The photos on the left sides shows the materials produced by Khovd aimag, and the photos on the right shows the digital training materials produced by teachers and teaching tools in Khentii aimag.

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Exhibition of materials for teacher training and classroom teaching

This project has also attracted attention from local newspaper in Mongolia. Century News covers details of our projects and profile of project members right before the colosing event 11, January, 2017.  Mongolian News published the article on 13 January, 2017 with title “The wave of ICT use in the teaching and learning process has been started successfully”. The big wave refers to what project members, teachers, school principals, methodologists, ECD experts, all advocate in ICT integration into teaching and learning. This news described how digital teacher training materials were developed and distributed by local primary school teachers, and its impact on improving the teaching and learning quality via supporting of the student-centered approach.

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Century News, Jan. 11, 2017

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Mongolian News Jan. 13, 2017

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