German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology

Project description

Title: German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports
Country: Mongolia
Overall term: 2013 to 2019

Context

Mongolia has one of the world’s largest stocks of mineral resources, particularly of coal, copper, gold, fluorspar and tungsten. Thanks to the strong global demand for these commodities, Mongolia is currently experiencing a sustained phase of economic growth averaging 15% per annum. However, it has not yet managed to fully harness the still substantial potential for growth in the mineral resource sector to stimulate economic and social development. There is only limited further processing and use of the mineral resources in the country itself. One major obstacle is the severe shortage of highly qualified technical experts and management staff.

The university sector in Mongolia has yet to acquire the technical and organisational resources and the expertise required to meet the needs of industry and society in terms of highly trained engineers and technology experts. Shortcomings in the Mongolian university sector include inadequate practical orientation and a lack of international quality standards. Companies and line ministries have ascertained that there is insufficient practical professional content in university education. For example, engineering and technology science graduates do not possess the necessary professional, linguistic and social skills to enter into careers. Furthermore, cooperation between universities and the private sector is inadequate and the participation of the scientists in international networks is low.

The German and Mongolian governments and private enterprises in the two countries are aware of the need for reform. For this reason, they decided to establish the German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology (GMIT). This was preceded by an agreement between German Chancellor Merkel and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj concerning close cooperation in the fields of mineral resources, industry and technology.

Objective

The German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology (GMIT) helps meet the demand for specialists in the mineral resource sector and increase the value added within Mongolia. Mongolian universities benefit from the transfer of international expertise and standards, which in turn furthers sustainable economic growth.

Approach

As a state-run university for academic teaching and research, GMIT serves as a model for reform of the university education sector in Mongolia. It works in close partnership with a consortium of well-known German technical universities. In coordination with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the University of Resources Freiberg, the RWTH Aachen University, the Technische Universität Darmstadt and the TFH Georg Agricola Bochum are all supporting the development of engineering degree courses. Furthermore, teaching staff from these and other German universities are working as lecturers at GMIT.

Students are prepared for employment in Mongolia through a course that is oriented to the needs of the labour market, combining solid theoretical learning with practical experience. The university provides teaching that reflects how the industry operates in practice and suits the needs of the private sector. Many companies, including the largest Mongolian mining company, Oyu Tolgoi, support GMIT in a variety of different ways, such as providing internships, making contributions to teaching and programme development and awarding scholarships. As such, students are able to gather comprehensive practical experience and get to know potential future employers during their studies.

Results achieved so far

The German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology (GMIT) is responding to the demand for highly qualified engineers and technology experts in Mongolia’s mineral resources sector and its downstream industries. A survey of more than 80 enterprises conducted during the assessment phase for the project confirmed this demand and serves as a guide for the development of programmes at the university.

In September 2013, the university welcomed its first 40 or so students, who enrolled in a one-year preparatory study programme in engineering. Since September 2014, three bachelor programmes have also been available in the subjects of mineral resources engineering, mechanical engineering and environmental engineering.

Through its close cooperation from the outset with German partner universities, GMIT is bringing international scientific expertise and modern academic standards to Mongolia. At the same time, with its practical engineering courses, the university is leading the way in improving coordination between the education sector and private businesses. As such it is helping to meet the need for specialists in Mongolia's mineral resource sector, increase the value added within the country and support its sustainable economic development. GMIT also provides a model for the Mongolian university system in an organisational sense, for instance by incorporating the principles of modern university management into its administrative structures, and maintaining institutional autonomy.

By developing an applied research profile and offering academic training courses to complement the professional activities of engineers and technicians, GMIT is set to further establish itself as a partner to companies in the Mongolian mineral resource sector and its downstream industries.