Project location: Mongolia
Project leader: Tuguldur Sukhbold, sukhbold@ucolick.org

In Mongolia, astronomy is not part of the standard high school curriculum and only a few schools even address it as part of the physics class. In the whole country only a few schools have telescopes, but almost all of them are too old and unusable. Therefore, in order to promote the teaching of astronomy and science in general, through this project we are starting the process of supplying proper educational telescopes to each high school in the country.

Mongolia is a large, land-locked, central asian country with a rich history and unique nomadic culture. It spent much of 20th century under the soviet sphere and found democracy in 1990. The population is roughly 3 million, with more than one-third of the inhabitants living in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. The country is divided into 21 provinces, each with dozens of administrative subdivisions called “soum” ( 329 soums in total ).

The development of astronomy in Mongolia reached its peak between 1960 and 1980. With assistance from the former USSR, several Mongolians went abroad to study astronomy in other soviet block countries, built an observatory and planetarium, and astronomy was taught in all highschools and even in some universities as part of the standard curriculum.

After the collapse of Soviet Union, funding for science was severed at all levels. As a result, research
in astronomy was halted and astronomy gradually disappeared from the teaching curriculum. By
mid 2000 astronomy became a small part of the high-school physics course, and today the astronomy part is often skipped in most classes.

Though the situation in general is grim, lately there has been some progress. Due to the mining boom, funding for science has been increasing slowly in recent years. A new planetarium was built, part of the observatory was renewed and a new observatory is under the construction. With some support and guidance, there is a lot of potential for the science education to recover.