Өнөөдөр Монгол Улс их дээд сургуулийн тоогоор Гиннесийн номонд бичигдэх амжилтанд нэгэнт хүржээ. Хүн амын бараг 30-40 хувь нь дээд боловсрол эзэмшсэн оюунлаг улс болчихсон мэт андуурцгаах юм. Арван жилээ төгссөний дараа ямар ч хамаагүй дээд сургуульд орж дээд боловсрол эзэмшихийг залуучууд хүсдэг, дээд боловсролтой ч болдог. Харамсалтай нь эндээс мэдлэг боловсролоор дутмаг, биеэ авч явах чадвараар сул хүмүүсийг гаргах болж.
Энд сурч буй залуучууд, мэргэжил олгож буй сургалтын байгууллага нь ч, систэм нь ч , дэндүү мөнгө хөөсөн сургууль нь сурагчидаа, сурагчид нь багшаа хуурч бантан болгож байна. Би ганцxан жишээ хэлье, бүх сургуульд улсын, хувийн адилхан дахин шалгалт гэж монголын арт түмэн, оюутан сурагчдыг буруу үлгэр дууриалд уруу татсан, тэднийг хууран мэхлэхэд сурган дадлагажуулсан том дутагдал байна. Мөн шалгалтын дүн гуйх гэж нэг том эмгэнэл байна, сургуулийн захирлаасаа авахуулаад, бүх багш нар нь бие биенээсээ сурагчидийн дүн гуйна. Мөн айхтар гутамшиг аа!!! Мөн багш нарт хээл хахууль, элдэв дарамт шахалт ч ирдэг болж. Боловсролын ийм гаж тогтолцоо бий болсныг бүгд л ярьж бичиж байгаа боловч улам л газар авсаар, хээл хахууль, авлига, албан тушаалын хэнээрхэл улам гаарсаар л байна.
Одоогоос жилийн өмнө нэгэн хувийн дээд сургуулийн захирал ирж бид нэлээн халуун яриа өрнүүлж суув манайдаа л нилээн дээгүүр ордог, анхны хувийн сургуулиудын нэг. Би болсон хойно ийм их олон дээд сургуулийн хэрэг байгаа юм уу, зарим нь бүр байр ч үгүй, тэр байтугай зөвшөөрөл ч аваагуй хичээллэж байна шүү дээ, ингэж болж байгаа юм уу гээд л муулах тал руугаа нилээд шүүмжлэлтэй хандлаа. Тэр захирал хэлэхдээ, харин Mонгол улсын засгийн газар, ард түмэн бидэнд баярлах ёстой, яaгаад гэхээр энэ олон залуучууд охидууд eрөнхий боловсролын сургууль төгсөөд, бүгд гудамжны хүмүүс болохоос бид аварч байна, сайн муу боловсрол олгож байгаа ч гэсэн тэднийг тэр гудамжны амьдрал эрчүүдийг нь архичин дээрэмчин болохоос, охидыг нь биеэ үнэлдэг янхан болохоос хамгаалж байгаад бидэнд баярлах ёстой гэж билээ. Тийм ч биз бас үгүй ч биз. Саяхны нэг сонинд бичсэнээр дотоодын их, дээд сургуулиудад одоогоор суралцаж байгаа 46 мянга гаруй оюутныг эрүүл мэндийн үзлэгээр оруулахад ихэнх нь бэлгийн замын өвчтэй байсан бөгөөд тэдний ихэнх нь эмэгтэй оюутнууд байсан байна. Хөгжил гэдэг байшин барилга, боловсон хүчин нэртэй боловсроогүй баахан хүмүүсийг бэлдэхээр болдог юм биш түүний хажуугаар бас ёс суртхууны хүмүүжил гэж нэг зайлшгүй тэргүүлэн удирдаж байдаг нэг юм бий. Хөгжихийн тулд бид бодит байдлыг үнэнээр нь хүлээн зөвшөөрч, биднийг сулруулж байгаа асуудлуудтайгаа тэмцэх хатуу бодлого барих хэрэгтэй. Үйл болгон хариутай, иймээс зөв амьдрах нь зовлонгоос хол байх үндсэн арга, хүн шуналаасаа болж буруу үйл хийдэг, буруу үйлийн хариу зовлонг л авчирдаг.
Дээрх сургуулийн урилгаар Австралийн Их сургуулийн нэг танил багш маань Монголд 3.5 сар ажилласан юм. Монголын амьдрал, боловсролын талаар түүний ярьж хэлснийг энд бүрэн эхээр нь толилуулж байна. Би тэр багшид урьд нь Монгол удахгуй хөгжинө, олон олон Монголчууд гадаадад мэргэжил эзэмшиж байгаа удахгүй манайх бар болно, гэж ирээд бурж бурж явуулсаныг яанаа. Тэр хэлэхдээ манай сургуулиудыг хүүхдийн цэцэрлэг л, гэж байна лээ. Ийм байхад Монгол хөгжих үү.
Уншигч авхай та мэргэн оюундаа тунгаан бодож хэрхэхийг мэдтүгэй.
A critical evaluation of Mongolia’s tertiary education system
In 2008 I taught for 3 ½ months at a private tertiary institution in Ulaanbaatar. I want to discuss my experiences and will try to find reasons and possible solutions for the problems. Before going to Mongolia, I had taught for around 22 years at tertiary institutions in Germany, Australia, Singapore and the USA.
In Ulaanbaatar I had to teach 200 students of year 3 in a 4-year-undergraduate course and some Master students in English. I taught them 1 lesson of 90 minutes per week per class and my colleagues taught another 2 lessons per week.
When I arrived at my first class on a Monday morning at 8 a.m., I saw 7 out of 22 students on my list sitting in the class. When I asked where the rest of the class was, my colleagues told me, that the other students had maybe forgotten that the timetable was changed from this week on. In the afternoon in my second class there were again only 9 out of 21 students in class, although they must have heard during the day from the others, that the timetable was changed. This pattern continued over the full 13 weeks of teaching: I had between 50 and 70 % of the enrolled students in front of me. In one class I had 2 students which I have never seen, and 2 other students who were in the class twice: the first and the last week. In every class a (reliable) female student filled in the class list, ticking off those who were in class.
Within hours after my first class I had made a list of 3 rules for my classes: 1. Arrive punctually, 2. No chewing gum in class 3. All mobile phones have to be switched off. My colleagues had no such rules. First question of a student: teacher, what means ‘punctually’? – If I saw them chewing gum in class they had to dispose of it into the rubbish bin – in case this class had a rubbish bin. – If a mobile phone went off, I confiscated the phone till the end of the class, having at least 3 phones on my desk after every lesson.
I let my students write a test of 10 minutes at the beginning of every class, covering the contents of the class of the previous week. At the end of every class I explained what would be expected for next week’s test and asked a (good, female) Mongolian student to get up and tell the class in Mongolian, what I had just stated. But because the number of students regularly attending every class was about 50 % and the rest didn’t ask their peers what had happened in the last week, I had on average 6 students with 10 out of 10 marks, 9 students with 0 or 1 marks out of 10 marks and the rest in between.
My colleagues didn’t have regular tests, but only 1 written exam after half the semester, 1 written exam at the end of semester and an oral exam after the semester. When I expressed my absolute surprise about the atrocious results, my colleagues seemed to find that normal.
In class behaviour was also irritating: The good female students where in the first row, motivated, studying, preparing for the tests. Row 2 and 3 were girls with not so good English and in the last row the boys, mostly not motivated at all, trying to cheat in tests. And a new trick (for me as an experienced teacher): A boy comes to the front and asks: ‘Teacher, can I go to the toilet?’ I ask back: ‘Yes, but do you come back?’ He: ‘yes’, That was usually the last I saw of the student. 5 minutes later the next male student, then another 7 minutes later a third male student, never to be seen again in that class. After the class I found them in front of the building having a cigarette or the second or the third….. . Some students tried despite the rules to use their mobile phones, sending SMSs or even having a conversation on the phone.
To the content of my classes: I tried to incorporate a lot of role plays, I taught them 2 songs, we did what they called ‘competition’: The class is divided into 2 groups where 1 student has to write words on the whiteboard and the other students in his group could support them. I found that their vocabulary was not bad, but that they were unable to form a single sentence with these words. I decided to avoid teaching any grammar and emphasised to build full sentences with their answers. Even for role plays I had to write the sentences on cardboard, so that the students doing the role play were reading the sentences from the cardboard on the whiteboard.
Then the examination time arrived. 200 students had oral exams over two days. We were 5 examiners. Each student has 30 minutes preparation time, before doing a short presentation to one of 32 topics which they had covered during the semester, a translation from Mongolian to English and another exercise to allocate words to the content in a sentence. (The good female students had made short summaries of the 32 topics and learned them by heart). Before the exams we had to find out, which students had attended less than 70 % of lessons and where therefore excluded from the oral exam and failed straight away. That reduced the students to 180 students. Then we had to check whether the students had actually paid the tuition fees for this semester, which is possible up to one day before the exams. That reduced the number of students to 165 students.
On the first day the first student had sat for 30 minutes for his preparation. When called he got up and told us examiners that he had not prepared for the exam, so couldn’t give us any answers. That was it, he failed and went out. In my entire time as a tertiary teacher I have never experienced such behaviour. My colleagues seemed to be unimpressed. Under the next students many got up and told us, that they couldn’t say anything about the topic they were given, but could they tell us something about the Institute? My colleagues agreed, I intervened vehemently; eventually they got 10 % of the possible marks for this ‘Ersatz’-Topic.
Some sentences about the behaviour of my colleagues. If any of my students arrived late for the lesson they missed the test and got therefore 0 out of 10 marks. If any student had missed a test for my colleagues, they let him or her do the test afterwards, in our teachers-room. One student had not attended a single lesson during the semester. His mother from the country found out, that every morning he had left the flat which he shared with his brother and spent the day playing computer games in internet-cafes. The mother stormed the Institute, wearing a traditional deel, and wanted to talk to every teacher of her son. She explained the whole family had put their money together to let him study in Ulaanbaatar. – In every country in the world that would be clear: he failed and could come back in 9 months time. – Not so in my Institute: Every teacher thought about ways to ‘rescue’ him, admit him despite 100 % absence to the oral exam (which he failed), finding ways to let him study during the 2 ½ months holidays and so on. – I told my students that in a Western country they would survive exactly ¾ quarters of a day in a job before getting sacked. They were surprised. Many of them told me they want to go to America and get rich! To my colleagues I called the Institute a Kindergarten, with the only difference that we don’t have to clean their bottoms.
Now my evaluation of these experiences.
1. No discipline: My students had only 10 years of primary and secondary schooling. They were still in puberty when they came to the tertiary institution. I think from 2009 on the new students have attended 11 years of schooling and in March 2008 the government announced that they would introduce 12 years of schooling in the future. This will need some years to implement, so that I think in around 4 or 5 years the first new students will have attended 12 years of schooling. This will also mean that they had two more years of English lessons, which have hopefully improved their level of proficiency.
2. When capitalism broke out in Mongolia in 1990, at least the young people interpreted that as ‘freedom’, which also meant the freedom to decide every day whether they wanted to go to university or stay in bed. This is one of the reasons why the discipline is missing to a great extent. Officially Mongolia tries to adapt to Western standards within the next years, but this process is hindered by students, teachers and institutions who don’t understand that discipline is necessary to succeed. This missing discipline is currently supported by the system. One of my colleagues, an old professor who had taught also in ‘Russian’ times, told me that under the Russian Government the discipline was much better than now under capitalism.
3. The education system is actually supporting the extremely low level of discipline. If you have to pay the semester fees only up to one day before the end-exams, then the poor students can calculate that they are likely to fail and don’t pay. If the students miss a test and can write it later (of course having asked his/her peers what the test covered) in the teacher’s room, they learn that life is meant to be easy.
4. My colleagues had all sorts of excuses for bad behaviour, e.g. “He comes from very poor parents” ( and every student has a mobile phone which costs them 100000 to 200000 Tögrög initially and lots of fees every month. Anyway, students from poor background should be motivated even more than others) or “She is pregnant” (the pregnant girls were actually better in English than the others. Most had planned the pregnancy so that they had the baby between end of June to mid August, so that they could give the baby to their mothers and continue studying from September on), or “he comes from the country” (which might be the reason for bad English, but not a reason for bad results in other subjects. If an Institute takes that as an excuse they graduate students with poor knowledge, which will fall back on the reputation of the institution. Tertiary institutions have a selection process, which means only the best can study. If Mongolian institutions take bad students because of charity reasons, the country will not improve.
5. The fact that the students can’t formulate a sentence in English is obviously coming from the poor level of English of their teachers. The teachers don’t dare to ‘talk’ to the students and accept many mistakes by the students initially. Instead they create their own textbooks (those textbooks from e.g. Cambridge are expensive for Mongolian schools) and insist on grammar. Grammar comes after speaking and a student who has been drilled in grammar, but not speaking, will not open his/her mouth because of fear the grammar would be wrong. If Mongolia wants to improve their education system they have to use textbooks from e.g. Cambridge which are the best in the world and teach first speaking and then grammar.
Angelika Lange email Angelika_555@hotmail.com