Various development and educational opportunities open up for rural children

  • 1101
  • 0

Students of Dadal School playing Mongolian intelligent game named "Tulkhuur"

I visited primary and secondary schools in Murun, Kherlen, Dadal and Bayan-Adarga soums in Khentii Province last week to get acquainted with their training, extracurricular activities and the sub-projects they initiated. Other than Murun School, the other schools are model schools under the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) II Project.

The ESD-II project, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, is jointly being implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Ministry of Education and Science to promote an environmentally, socially and economically responsible, equitable and sustainable future for the people of Mongolia.

As the participating schools are paying a lot of attention to the students’ basic education and upbringing, every child that passed by greeted us with a “Hello” or “Good afternoon”. Most of the children told us that they would return to their hometowns after graduating from university. Of course, it’s nice to live in a clean environment with fresh air but most young people seem to prefer to stay in the city or go abroad and it was interesting to learn what motivated them to settle down in their locality.


Murun Secondary School did not participate in the project, but it implements the standards of the Eco-Schools international program, which aims to empower students to be the change our sustainable world needs by engaging them in fun, action-orientated and socially responsible learning. Under the program, the school has improved its learning environment and is paying a great deal of attention to the upbringing of children.

By sorting garbage and planting trees and flowers, children are contributing to not only making their school better but also making their village a greener and healthier environment. For instance, they are collecting used soda and water bottles and delivering them to designated points for recycling.

In addition, in order to introduce the culture of “eco” travel and treating nature kindly, the school organizes a fall trip every year and all students from the age of six spend a day visiting historical monuments. In particular, this fall, they visited the Baldan Bereeven Monastery located at the foot of the Delgerkhaan Mountain. D.Bilguun, a fifth grader, shared his opinion that by going on the trip, he learned to love and protect Mother Nature like his parents. The trip also helped him bond with his friends and learn about history and culture, he said. The students of Murun School said they enjoyed spending time in the newly renovated library and chess and checkers rooms and playing volleyball outside where a volleyball set has been installed.

Murun School's renovated library


Afterward, I visited Temuujin School in Kherlen soum, the first school to join ESD-I in 2018 and implement the Proper Use of Drinking Water Project. This year, it was selected again for the next phase. Within this framework, the Healthy Food – Peaceful Life Project is being implemented, and with the participation of students, teachers and parents, the dormitory and school kitchens were renovated to adopt healthy eating habits. As a result, 16 teachers, employees and students lost excess weight.

Eco Club members also developed a sub-project, installed a microwave oven and a kettle in the school cafeteria and taught healthy habits to the children, leader of the club N.Sarnai said. She pointed out that this has resulted in a reduction in children’s consumption of sweets and sugar. 

Eco Club members of Temuujin School

Highlighting that education for sustainable development is about essential life skills, Director of Temuujin School M.Zolzaya emphasized that as a result of providing relevant information and understanding every month, the number of parents who are motivated to have healthy diets has increased by 10.8 percent.

On top of that, students are working to reduce waste and use water and energy properly. More specifically, they have learned to save energy by limiting the use of electricity for a certain period of time one day a month. Eco Club members mentioned that children practice this habit not only in the school environment but also at home. 

Providing accessible and equal education to every child is one of the goals of sustainable development. A total of 13 students who get welfare benefits study at Temuujin School and three of them have physical and mobility impairments. However, the facilities and environment for these children to travel and study without obstacles have not yet been created in the school. For instance, eighth grader B.Uyanga spoke about the difficulty of traveling with a wheelchair at school. Her classmates help her climb the stairs, but she finds it hard to ask for help all the time. Therefore, she explained that she can’t participate in extracurricular school activities.

When asked about this, the school director replied, “Two of the disabled children can walk with a cane and one is in a wheelchair. There are also three deaf students. Each of these students is assigned to one teacher. There is a designated path for them for entering and exiting the school. Their classmates help them a lot.”


Dadal Secondary School has been selected for the ESD-II Project and is implementing the Future Guide sub-project based on local characteristics to promote Buryat heritage, customs and clothing, as well as Mongolian history and culture to the children.

Specifically, the students dressed in Buryat clothes and accessories showed us the nine “brand products” of Dadal soum, such as Deluun Boldog, Chinggis Khaan’s birthplace, Tunkheleg Brook, and so on. Within the framework of this sub-project, all teachers, staff and students have a unique tradition of saying “I am the descendant of Burte Chono and Goo Maral” before their name. Moreover, when they introduce themselves, they say the names of all their ancestors they know. It seems like a small thing but it can help children learn about their roots and ancestors and thus, prevent inbreeding. Mongolians used to recite nine generations of their ancestors during the Mongol Empire.

Members of Future Guide Club

The sub-project has involved a total of 647 children, more than 400 parents and over 200 Dadal residents. In other words, within the framework of the project, the school intends to implement comprehensive measures that affect not only students but also their parents, teachers and staff, and ensure their participation.

Buryat costumes are placed in the corridor of Dadal School

Meanwhile, the teachers and students of Bayan-Adarga Secondary School are trying to make their soum free of garbage and clean as part of the ESD-II Project. They are successfully implementing the Clean and Tidy Our Environment Project. In specific, in the last three months, teachers and students have collected 350 pieces of waste batteries and three sacks of bottle plugs.

Training manager D.Shurentsetseg said, “Not only the children but also teachers and staff are learning how to recycle garbage. We have learned to reduce our paper use and work with as little waste as possible. Plastic bottles are recycled but their plugs are thrown away, so we are studying ways we can reuse them.”

As part of the Green Grove sub-project, the students of the Eco Club have also created containers for composting leftover food. It is said to be in its trial stage.

Eco club member introducing container for composting leftover food

On top of that, English teacher G.Ariunaa is leading the Creative Girls sub-project and together with students, she makes bags, shoe insoles, bookmarks, folders, hats and gloves from waste and excess materials. G.Ariunaa and the Girls’ Club jointly made hand puppets with old clothing and created a mini-theater. Through the mini-theater, children learn and practice their English speaking skills by acting out plays. As a result, the number of children who want to learn English has increased and boys have also become interested in joining the club.

It is commendable that the above-mentioned schools are successfully implementing sub-projects based on their features and achieve results in addition to creating a green environment, reducing inefficient expenses and paying attention to the upbringing of children. Therefore, the school management, teachers and staff emphasized that the results of the project have become the basis for sustainable implementation of sub-projects.

It is great that children have the opportunity to live and develop in a peaceful and healthy environment in rural areas. They spend their free time engaging in extracurricular activities in various school clubs, reading books and playing checkers, chess or puzzles. This seems to nurture their sincere desire to live in their locality, in Khentii.

A total of 30 urban and rural schools selected for the above project are implementing main and sub-projects with 7.5 million MNT funding from the local budget and 7.5 million MNT funding from the project, or a total of 15 million MNT. If all schools can implement projects and programs and educate children according to this standard, it will not only help the school to develop and expand in the future but it will also become the biggest driver for raising exceptional youth and driving the country toward sustainable development.

Misheel Lkhasuren