Mongolia passes widespread changes to its law on education

[13 December 2006] - Widespread changes to Mongolia's Education law were passed in parliament on 8 December 2006 as a result of a year long advocacy campaign led by civil society organisations led Save the Children UK's Mongolia office. The changes, which include a ban on corporal punishment in schools, acknowledge the right of every child to learn, to a protective educational environment, and to have a say in their education.

Twenty-nine specific provisions were introduced or changed to improve the situation of children's rights in schools:

  • Educational settings will be free from discrimination and of any kind of emotional or physical punishment;
  • All forms of abuse, violence and corporal punishment will be prohibited in education settings;
  • The widespread practice of schools imposing fees to children and parents will be prohibited;  
  • A code of conduct for teachers will be introduced for the first time in the country;
  • School managers and teachers will be held responsible for ensuring that the dignity and worth of students, and their right to privacy, are respected;
  • Mechanisms to monitor and regulate breaches of code of conduct will be set up;
  • School curricula will be gender sensitive;
  • Local governments and education authorities will be held responsible for the provision of education for all children and for for creating an enabling learning environment for children from ethnic minorities;
  • State education budget allocations will be sensitive to geographical location and the specific learning needs of children with disabilities;
  • For the first time in the country, basic education delivery via non formal education centres will receive a state budget allocation in the same way as regular schools.

Save the Children believes these reforms will contribute to changing society and promoting democracy and human rights in Mongolia.

This is the third case in the history of Mongolia in which civil society groups have helped to secure changes in the law (the other two cases concerned domestic violence and minerals). It was the first ever case in Mongolia in which an international NGO has been heavily involved and moreover a leading advocate. Civil society organisation have been supported by numerous stakeholders at all levels including children themselves.

This success has been contributed to by the Child Rights and Education Alliance, a parliamentary lobby group for child development and protection, mass media organisations that been actively involved in two of Save the Children's media campaigns, parents and teachers have been continuously engaged with and have contributed to public debates and media coverage, and children have made invaluable contributions to the process by voicing their realities and difficulties through active involvement in research and television and radio debates as well as particular events such as live talks and essay writing.

Save the Children believes that this remarkable progress in education legislation and policy will bring long lasting changes to all children in Mongolia, but it must be followed up with a commitment to implement this law in practice.

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