Mongolia gets economic lesson

November 17, 1995

New generations of Mongolian economists are to be given the chance to study the economic model that they believe is most suitable for their country, with the help of advisers from the University of Manchester.

The school of education at Manchester has been awarded two million ECU (around Pounds 1.6 million) over three years for what is reckoned to be the largest education programme in Mongolia.

The project is coordinated by Tom Christie, professor of education assessment and evaluation, and will be based on work done over the past 15 years by the school's economic education research unit.

He says: "One of the difficulties in economics education in post-Communist countries has been the way in which one orthodoxy has been replaced by another, with western economists going over and teaching them straightforward market economics."

He hopes that the Manchester approach will offer Mongolia, whose economists have been largely Russian-trained, a more intellectually diverse and challenging approach.

"The exciting thing about this project is that it is about the management of change. We want people to consider their current situation and consider the range of options that different economic perspectives and analyses offer them."

They will be using economists from Manchester and other European universities to help with the project. Their main partner in Mongolia will be the National University, but work will also take in the former research institutes which operated under the Soviet-pattern Academy of Science.

Professor Christie has already visited the capital Ulan Bator: "It is an extraordinary city which has a curious mix of people on horseback wearing traditional dress and the sons and daughters of nomenklatura dancing in discos brought over from Singapore.

"They moved from a totally controlled economy to a free market and have suffered all the consequences associated with such a shift."

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