Uvurkhangai Province’s cooperation with Japan

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        We got acquainted with the projects implemented by the Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the Government of Japan in Uvurkhangai Province. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) implemented the “Kharhorum Museum Construction Project” in the province. Moreover, Japanese language classroom of “Merged” School in the provincial center was decorated as part of the “Cultural Grass Roots” grant of the Government of Japan.

COMFORTABLE AND PRODUCTIVE JAPANESE LANGUAGE CLASSROOM

We got acquainted with the Japanese language class of Merged school, which was decorated as part of the “Cultural Grass Roots” grant. On March 10, 2021, Japanese Ambassador H. Kobayashi and Governor of Uvurkhangai Province A.Ishdorj signed the contract for the renovation of the Japanese language classroom. As a result, accessible education became possible to every child using information and technology tools.

When I entered the Japanese language class, I was greeted by a clean environment. All teachers, staff and students gave a warm welcome. Starting from the entrance, all areas were decorated with pictures and works drawn by students. In addition, a small corner has been created where children can read before class begins.

The school was founded in 1997. In addition to providing elementary, middle, and high school education to students, it has advanced mathematics courses for grades “one to 12” and specialized Japanese language courses for grades “three to 12”. In the academic year from 2023 to 2024, it has started its educational activities with 76 teachers and more than 1,000 students. About 92 percent of teachers have professional degrees. There are also three buildings and 28 groups of students at the school.

I was interested in how learning activities are conducted in the Japanese language classroom. The teacher interacts and communicates in Japanese with their students. The children answered the teacher’s questions very actively, openly, and freely. Junior year student Misheel said, “The Japanese language classroom has a comfortable and clean environment, so I like studying here. We use the international ‘U-class’ program in our classes. Teachers can monitor students’ progress as they connect directly to their computers. Being able to use the computer to study whenever helps us to be more productive. Every year, our school takes a Japanese language proficiency test. All children learning Japanese are included in it.
The children of our school have been studying Japanese for seven to nine years starting from the third grade.” Also, senior student Ts.Sanjaajamts said, “Previously, I took the N5 level Japanese language exam three times and failed. Since studying in this classroom, I have passed the advanced N4 exam after taking it once. I plan to study in Japan in the future.”

There is a teacher who teaches Japanese in Merged school. Her name is D.Dulamsuren. She said, “I have been working as a Japanese language teacher for 25 years. I started working as a teacher since Merged school was established. There are many students of mine, who went to study, live and work in Japan with their government scholarship and student exchange after graduation. Currently, more than 300 children are learning Japanese. Having a Japanese language classroom has increased the activities to do for children.” The second secretary of the Embassy of Japan, Ito Yoriko opened the Japanese language class of the Merged school within the framework of the “Cultural Grass Roots” project. Classroom floor, doors, ceiling, and lights have been updated. In addition, 32 computers, smartboards and printers were given. He expressed his happiness that the children were using it well and carefully. 


KHARHORUM MUSEUM RICH IN PRECIOUS ARTIFACTS

The ruins of Kharkhorum, the capital of the Mongol Empire, are located 350 km southwest of Ulaanbaatar. In the ruins of the city, the Government of Mongolia, Japan’s UNESCO Trust Fund, and the University of Bonn in Germany conducted joint excavations and research. In 2004, including the excavation findings, it was registered in the UNESCO cultural heritage as “Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape”. By doing so, the conditions for protecting, researching, and opening the ruins have been created. However, since there was no place to store and protect the artifacts, most of them were stored in a hotel warehouse belong-ing to the University of Bonn. So, JICA started the “Kharhorum Museum Construction Project” to prevent the deterioration and damage of artefacts in unfavorable environmental conditions, especially in the cold winter.

Director of Kharkhorum Museum, T.Bayaraa said, “In 2010, our museum was established with Japanese grants and investments worth 6.7 billion MNT. It was established to preserve and protect archaeological monuments and exhibits in the Orkhon Valley. In the last 13 years since then, 90,000 foreigners and 60,000 Mongolians visited the museum. Our museum has 32 employees. Of these, 20 are professional employees. In 2018 and 2019, the number of museum visitors reached 20,000 to 23,000 per year. At that time, the tourist route of the museum was directed only to Kharkhorin. Now the tourism trend is heading towards the western province. Therefore, the number of visitors to the museum has decreased. Our museum is mostly visited by European tourists. We work with Japanese researchers and scientists. Last month, we attended the East Asian Conservation and Protection Conference of the Japanese Museum. Another thing to consider in the future is the construction of an extension building for the museum. Excavation and research of the ruins of Kharkhorum has only begun. This is a place where the history and culture of the 13th century and earlier have been preserved. It is necessary to expand the museum to attract and spread awareness to citizens. Also, because the current building was built 13 years ago, it must be renovated. We are working to build a tourist street and make it
one of the main tourist destinations.”

The building of Kharkhorum is the first museum in Mongolia that meets international standards. There are more than 1,400 exhibits in permanent collection. Combined with the research fund, it has more than 4000 exhibits. Also, “Traditional Mongolian Games Center” was established, and educational activities are carried out for children and young people at the museum. In the permanent and temporary exhibition halls, a part of the illuminated statue built on the frog stone ridge, the remains of the furnace where building materials were burned, the  remains of the heating system under the floor of the temple, silver coins made by Chinggis, Uguudei, Guyug Khaan were displayed.

Kharkhorum museum commentator S.Enkhmend said, “In our museum, you can see im-
portant artifacts from the Stone Age to the 14th century, especially of the city of Kharkhorum. Mongolian and German expeditions excavated the ruins of Kharkhorum since 1999. Artifacts discovered because of excavations and research can be viewed. The construction of the museum made it possible to preserve and protect the exhibits for a long time. The treasury of the Kharkhorum museum continues to be enriched with the findings from the excavations and research of other expeditions in the vicinity of the Orkhon valley. Artifacts in the research fund are studied, restored if necessary, and taken to the permanent fund. Our special exhibit is 60 precious coins of Chinggis Khaan and later great Mongolian kings. There are gold, silver, and copper coins. There are also stone monuments, statues with Mongolian and Chinese inscriptions. For example, there is a part of the monument where Chinggis Khan decreed the establishment of the city of Kharkhorum in 1220. This is a unique and valuable exhibit that was found in the ruins of Tsogchin Dugan in Erdene Zuu in 2003. It is said that Chinggis Khaan created the city of Kharkhorum, but it was not proven by the facts, but the discovery of the statue proved he indeed founded Kharkhorum.”

Resident Representative of Japan Reiko Kawabata said, “JICA established this museum in 2010 as part of official development assistance. After that, two volunteer members came and worked here from 2013 to 2015 to provide guidance and advice. One of those volunteers was a museum fund professional. The other was a community development officer. They not only explained the museum exhibits, but also gave guidance and advice on the management of the gift shop.”

The most interesting part of the museum is the rooftop, where you can see Erdene Zuu Mon-
astery and Kharkhorin soum.

Amarjargal Munkhbat

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