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Mongolia’s paradoxical education problem

Author: Orkhon Gantogtokh, University of British Columbia

In 2019, Mongolia ranked 102 out of 141 countries in the Global Competitiveness Report. Its areas of weakness included the prominence of research institutions, scientific publications, graduate skills and ease of finding skilled workers. In this final category, Mongolia ranked 140 out of 141.

In a seemingly paradoxical contrast, Mongolia has the highest number of universities per capita, with 88 higher education institutions (HEIs) for a population of three million. University enrolment rates are almost on par with the European gross enrolment rate of 73 per cent. The number of research degree students also tripled between 2000 and 2018, giving Mongolia one of the largest numbers of doctoral students per 1000 people. This suggests that Mongolia has a decent amount of human resources in the research and development (R&D) sector.

Yet the country lacks research capacity and high-skilled…

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