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Work on central campus of universities restarts

By M.ZOLJARGAL

Talk of building a central campus of universities has started over ten years ago in Mongolia. The Mongolian University of Science and Technology once decided to build its campus at the foothills of Bayangol and even obtained the official permission to use the land. The urgent need to establish a central campus has started to be discussed in government since 2008 and the land in Bayangol was estimated to be insufficient for building the campus. For this reason, two more years passed and the Mongolian Government approved Decree 149 to develop universities by establishing a central campus of universities. At that time, the Administration for Pre-Operation of the Central Campus (APCC) was formed under the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science to implement the decree; and then Ulaanbaatar City Mayor G.Munkhbayar provided 2,000 hectares of land in Shiveet Valley of Nalaikh District for the purpose of buiding the campus.

Approximately 220 million MNT was spent for conducting a technical and economic assessment on the land, formulating a general plan, and designing the land survey. But the land was detected to have permafrost and the area’s harsh weather conditions prevented its construction. What’s more, it could have entailed a great risk and high amount of funding. Some parts of the land were also already privatized for citizens. Therefore, the National Development and Innovation Committee announced a bid to choose another suitable land. As a result, the central campus was decided to be built in Khurment Valley in the fourth and fifth Khoroos of Baganuur District on a 10-thousand hectare land, according to a decree in a government meeting last November 2011.

The advantages of building the campus in Baganuur were that no thermal power and water treatment plants had to be constructed there so that the campus will be linked to heating, electricity, and water lines directly. However, a year passed without any progress on the central campus. When journalists inquired about its slow progress, APCC officials said no further that it needs thorough preparation and planning before starting construction.

Soon enough, the Innovation and Reform Government was formed and all staff of APCC were reappointed as it is almost a tradition to change state officials when a new government is formed in Mongolia. Therefore, the central campus is restarting with other officials. As newly appointed officials are likely to be inexperienced, it will take time to learn. When they finally get to know what they are supposed to do and get enough experience, the election in 2016 may change everything again.

When the President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj, quizzed about the central campus’ progress, Minister of Education and Science L.Gantumur claimed, “It is rather slow. The estimation of 500 residents in Baganuur University Camp is impractical. This is preventing progress of the campus. Other camps are currently under research. It is too early to talk about their results.”

Mongolian GT Company is working as the main company for the general plan of university camps while Canon Design Company of the USA is working as an advisory company.

If the central camp is built, the pressing problems of our city – traffic congestion and pollution of air, soil and water – will be remarkably reduced. The camp is supposed to completely solve problems in current facilities by building dormitories for both students and workers as well as  kindergartens and schools according to world standards. Campuses must have an environment where students are provided with every required facility.

An additional 3,000 hectares of land was added to the 10,000 hectares campus purposes in order to develop Baganuur District along with the campus. Seven thousand hectares of land behind the Kherlen River is planned to be researched for further efficient use.

In the first stage, five state-owned universities, the National University of Mongolia, Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST), Health Sciences University of Mongolia, State Education University of Mongolia, and the University of Arts and Culture will be moved to the campus. University development work on establishing the central campus will be implemented orderly from 2010 to 2021 in accordance with the plan. However, no remarkable or practical progress has been shown.

Apart from the central campus in Baganuur, other campuses will be built, too, in Khovd, Dornod, Orkhon, and Darkhan-Uul Provinces. A campus land of 50 hectares in Orkhon Province and twenty hectares in Khovd Province have already been provided. Land issues haven’t been solved yet in Dornod and Darkhan-Uul Provinces.

Below is an interview of Unuudur Newspaper with Yu.Enkhbat, acting chief of APCC, regarding the campus issue.

-What is APCC working on currently?

-We worked in Orkhon Province and chose the land to build a campus where we formulated a land survey and conducted an engineering and geological study. In Khovd Province, the same research is in progress. As for Baganuur, research was already done and we announced a bid to carry out a technical and economic assessment as well as a general plan twice in July and October. We signed the contracts with bid winners in late 2012.

-How much fund has been allocated for the campus project in 2013 from the State fund?

-Two billion MNT. We planned to conduct 24 measures within the fund and submitted it to the relevant ministry. Construction work is planned to start in 2014 as there hasn’t been a suitable condition to start it this year.

-How are you managing the investment?

-There are eight financial backing sources including the fund from selling some premises which universities used; international soft loans or aid money; profit gained from the universities’ operations; funds provided by the Human Development Fund for the education sector, the State, and alumni; other investments; etc.

-When will the central campus of universities go operational?

-Exact numbers of university buildings and their square meters as well as the number of students and workers to move to the Central Campus will be determined based on technical and economic assessments. We are aiming to move the univerisites within 2015 to 2016. However, there are still many problems regarding some issues.

-You said the abovementioned five universities will be moved to the campus in the first stage. What will happen to other universities?

-It is uncertain what to exactly do with the other universities. Five universities will be obligated to move to the campus. It is too early to talk about other universities. We are thinking of moving MUST first. MUST will choose its first schools to be moved to the campus after discussing it with the State Property Committee and the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science. As we are generally inexperienced in this field, we are learning from foreign countries.

-How much fund was budgeted for campus work in 2012?

-Two billion MNT was budgeted and we used half of the budget for the environmental general assessment, water prospect plan, land survey, as well as engineering and geological research.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=3181

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