Mongolia: Campaign leads to salary increase for teachers and education workers and more support for students

published 26 June 2024 updated 3 July 2024

Through a series of campaigns in the past year led by the Federation of Mongolian Education and Science Unions (FMESU) significant reforms across multiple educational sectors have led to a salary increase for teachers and education workers, more support for students’ well-being, and a focus on infrastructure for higher education.

Elevating the status of educators: pay raise for the profession

The union representatives of the education sector did not settle, securing substantial salary increases for teachers and education support workers. FMESU aims to increase salaries in the education sector by 15% in 2024, 10% in 2025 and 10% in 2026.

Teachers employed in the capital city Ulaanbaatar recently received a salary increase of 12-15%, teachers in the provinces a salary increase of 20%, and teachers in the soums (subdivision of provinces a salary increase of 40%.

The union is committed to fight Mongolia's teacher shortage, focus on salary increases and oppose performance-based pay. For FMESU President Tsogtgerel Zambal, “through our campaigns, we managed to ensure an overall increase of 50% in the salaries of our teachers by 2026. However, it is not sufficient in comparison to the cost of living in Mongolia. Our fight continues! We are determined to ensure that our teachers and the education support personnel receive fair salary for the work they love!"

A good educational start: The preschool meal campaign

From the outset, FMESU’s “Invest in Pre-School Meal” campaign set a robust tone for the year. Targeting the youngest learners, the union called for an increase in the daily meal allowance for kindergarten children.

Positive change has been brought, as students now have access to healthy food, contributing to the well-being of students and enhancing their academic performance, and reducing the financial barrier for parents.

This move, aligning with Clause 3.8 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), not only succeeded in securing the necessary funds but also garnered the support of the Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Mongolia, setting a precedent for future campaigns.

Higher aspirations: Addressing university infrastructure

In higher education and science, FMESU addressed the pressing issue of infrastructure inadequacies and the allocation of fixed costs for state-owned universities. The campaign culminated in a collective agreement with the Ministry of Education, slated to take effect in January 2025, as outlined in the 2024-2026 CBA. This strategic move promises to reshape the academic landscape for years to come.

Looking ahead: FMESU’s future endeavors

FMESU is not resting on its laurels. With plans to expand its advocacy efforts, the union is preparing to address the needs of secondary schools and science trade unions. Upcoming campaigns will focus on increased provisions for teacher meal allowances in the 2025 budget and initiating dialogue with the Ministry of Education regarding teacher performance evaluations.

Empowering through engagement: Capacity building and social dialogue

Key activities for the upcoming year include advocating for the establishment of social dialogue mechanisms at the local level and the continued enforcement of CBAs. FMESU is also organizing a series of capacity-building and recruitment activities, demonstrating a constant commitment to strengthening the educational community from within.

A forum for change: Involving key stakeholders

In the fall of 2024, FMESU will host a national forum involving key education stakeholders, alongside a dedicated forum for youth and women leaders. These events are poised to foster a collaborative environment where diverse voices can contribute to the ongoing transformation of Mongolia’s educational system.

FMESU’s campaigns have not only achieved immediate benefits for Mongolia’s educational sectors but have also laid the groundwork for sustained progress and social dialogue.