ICT in Education Taskforce consultation with UNESCO for the Preparation of Mongolia’s ICT Master Plan, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
In the afternoon of 29 July 2021, UNESCO, Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia and the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO, jointly organized the first meeting of the ICT Taskforce for the preparation of the ICT Master Plan for Mongolia.
Ms. Uyanga, Secretary-General of the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO, first introduced the ICT in Education Policy Review report that was just completed with solid support from UNESCO and submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science. The Secretary-General thanked UNESCO for the technical support and leadership in guiding the Ministry of Education and Science in completing the ICT Policy Review for Mongolia. The Secretary-General highlighted that the ICT Policy Review report recommendations had been taken seriously into consideration by the government and the Ministry of Education and Science and shall be incorporated in the ICT Policy and Master Plan for Mongolia. The final remaining piece is the ICT Master plan for Mongolia, and she acknowledged the continuous technical support being provided by the UNESCO to ensure the completion of the ICT Master plan. The Secretary-General had reiterated in her concluding remarks that the ICT in Education policy framework and the ICT master plan are very critical to laying the foundation for the ICT mainstreaming and integration at all levels of the education system in Mongolia.
Mr. Ganbaatar Jajamba, Team-Leader of the ICT in Education Task Force of Mongolia, acknowledged and expressed sincere appreciation to UNESCO for the continuous technical and financial support in the on-going process to finalize the ICT in Education policy and ICT Master plan. He reassured that in light of the on-going COVID-19 impact of the education system, the Ministry of Education and Science must ensure that a clear ICT in education policy framework and master plan are critical towards the Ministry’s effort to integrate ICT at levels of the education system. In the long-term the solid technical support being provided by UNESCO will ensure the Ministry of Education and Science will align its ICT strategic priorities with the ICT policy framework and master plan. In particular, in light of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and its impact in the continuation and service delivery. The Ministry of Education and Science recognized the urgent need to develop a comprehensive ICT in education policy and regulatory framework, which will guide and ensure the delivery of equitable quality education in Mongolia. He assured that the Minister of Education and Science had attached great importance and top priority to the development of the ICT Policy and Master plan for Mongolia.
In his remarks, Mr. Robert Parua, Education Programme Specialist of UNESCO Beijing Office, introduced the overall steps and requirements in the development of a national ICT Master Plan for the education sector in Mongolia. He commended the Ministry of Education and Science in establishing the ICT Taskforce as an important institutional mechanism to ensure the completion of the ICT Master Plan for Mongolia. He informed the ICT Taskforce, MoES, and the National Commission that UNESCO Beijing had engaged the ICT international and national consultants to provide the necessary technical guidance and support throughout the entire preparatory process of the ICT Master plan. Mr. Parua stressed that, Mongolia is among the few countries in the Asia-Pacific Region in not having a comprehensive ICT policy framework, it is high time for Mongolia to sharpen the focus to complete the ICT policy and master plan that could lay the solid foundation for ICT mainstreaming at levels of the education system in Mongolia. The ICT Taskforce was advised to carefully review the key policy recommendations of the ICT in Education policy review report concluded in June 2021 and incorporate key priorities in designing the ICT policy and master plan. The final printed copies in english and mongolian versions of the ICT Policy Review report will be released soon by UNESCO. He re-iterated that UNESCO is strongly committed to provide all the necessary technical and financial support to ensure that the ICT Task Force in Mongolia is fully equipped to complete the ICT policy and ICT master plan by the end of this year. The Taskforce was urged to prepare urgently a timeline and action plan with a clear timeframe to complete the ICT Policy and master Plan for Mongolia.
The ICT Taskforce team then held detailed discussion with UNESCO, the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO and the international consultant, on the final steps and process to complete the ICT Master Plan. They reviewed the key preparatory tasks such as the timeline of the preparation of the ICT Master plan, detailed specific tasks and work plan, planned workshops and consultation with stakeholders and experts and the final approval process for the ICT master plan.
The meeting was concluded with higher confidence and expectation by the ICT Taskforce and by all participants at the meeting and observed that it long-overdue for Mongolia to build a very solid and resilient education system that is enabled by an integrated ICT system at all levels to ensure delivery of quality education services to its children in Mongolia that is built on the foundations of a solid ICT Master plan and policy framework.
In 2020-2021, under the framework of the UN MPTF Joint emergency project on “Strengthening the National Capacity to Suppress Transmission and Maintain Essential Services in the COVID-19 Pandemic in Mongolia”, UNESCO has been supporting Mongolia in conducting a comprehensive review of the ICT in Education policy and regulatory framework. At the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no existing ICT policy or regulatory framework in place to guide the Ministry to mainstream ICT at levels including on-line learning. The rapid needs assessment clearly showed the need for ICT policy and Master plan for Mongolia to be developed. The Ministry of Education and Science then established an ICT taskforce to work with UNESCO to review the existing ICT policy framework. UNESCO completed the final ICT Policy Review Report with key policy recommendations and submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science to develop the new ICT policy for the education sector.
The ICT taskforce has now been tasked to prepare the ICT Master Plan and policy with the technical assistance and guidance of UNESCO. The on-going preparation of the ICT master plan for Mongolia is to be completed by the end of 2021. The Ministry of Education Science has shown strong commitment in the process as an important institutional mechanism to coordinate and provide oversight to the preparation of the ICT policy and master plan.
The ICT mainstreaming process is on right track to be institutionalized with a solid ICT policy framework and master plan that will ensure long-term sustainability and effectiveness.