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German Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology (GMIT) trains new generation of engineers in Mongolia

The German Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology (GMIT) recently began training a new generation of engineers and technology experts here in Mongolia. The Institute aims to promote the professional and personal development of its students, while imparting pertinent expertise, a spirit of research, creativity and leadership skills in an ever-changing environment. GMIT also aims to transfer international expertise and cutting-edge standards to Mongolia in support of sustainable economic growth.
The UB Post recently conducted this interview with program director Dr. Peter, programme director at the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ),to discuss recent developments at the Institute, its concept and educational opportunities for Mongolian students hoping to develop their skills in the mining and technology sector. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

GMIT: The Concept

“The concept of our Institute (German Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology) was conceived of in 2011, in discussions between our Chancellor Mrs. Merkel and the Mongolian President, T. Elbegdorj. They came up with the idea of setting up a higher education institute for mining. This idea has since been developed further throughout the past two years; only in the beginning of 2013 was there an official political decision made by the two governments, that the German Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology should be founded. Therefore we began in September, with our first academic year involving some forty students. So the institute has begun, with quite ambitious plans.”

A new style of education

“What you might know about higher education in Mongolia is that the curricula is very traditional, very theoretical and textbook-based. The first thing we want to bring about at GMIT is that, from the very beginning, curriculum is very practice- oriented. We’ve already begun collaborating with firms in Mongolia from the mining and technology sector. They influence the curriculum themselves, as they outline what they need from students, from graduates, to be able to work in their firms.
We also integrate into the curricula very large amounts of practice, at the companies themselves. I think this is a very big difference to normal higher education in Mongolia.
Prior to September we conducted a survey with eighty companies here in Mongolia, and asked them what they needed in terms of competencies of graduates. The response was very nice – we learnt what they consider the most important areas of study.This is why we will start with a bachelor program in mineral resources engineering and mechanical engineering. They also told us that it would make more sense to educate students in English, rather than German, as the graduates working here in the mining and technology sector should be able to speak in English, because of the international context.
German is offered as option, as it’s a very good link to our partner universities who offer very good professional expertise to designing the curricula from an academic point of view. German competence in engineering is quite well-known, worldwide – this is the other special feature of GMIT. We bring German expertise in engineering to Mongolia, in regards to designing curricula and creating strong ties with German partner universities. We already have two partner universities in Germany who specialize in the mining and technology sector.
At the end of January we will have a workshop in Germany, where we meet with professors of these universities, and make a first draft of the curricula of the two bachelor programs that will start in September 2014.
From September onwards, we will also have German teachers, coming to Mongolia teaching parts of the bachelor programs.”

Mongolia and Germany: a long-standing relationship

“There certainly is a special relationship between Germany and Mongolia. There are really close diplomatic ties – this year we have our 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries. We have many Mongolians studying in Germany and then returning home to Mongolia, before becoming some of the elite in the economic and political sphere. Since 2011, there is a bilateral agreement on co-operation in the mineral resources sphere – the first bilateral agreement of its kind that Germany has ever undertaken. This certainly is a two-way road: Germany helping Mongolia to develop its own expertise and infrastructure to make sustainable use its mineral resources, on the other hand there’s an interest of the German government to secure its own economic interest in the mineral resources sector, to bring German companies into the mining and technology sector. Also, to guarantee the import of needed mineral resources to Germany, such as rare earths. I am pleased that there is a genuine interest from both sides – it is a mutual agreement.”

Competent and capable students

“So far, the students are very happy as they talk to their colleagues from other universities, and they already see that the difference between what is done at traditional Mongolian universities, and what is done here. We’ve already taken them to several study excursions, such as to the Baganuur Coal Mining Site and Clean Energy Park nearby. We have invited experts in geology to give them an overview of what you can find beneath the ground, in Mongolia. We have tried from the very beginning to give our students an idea of what they will need as upcoming engineers – not only textbook knowledge, but communicating with companies, and how these companies work.
What is also very different about our institute is that we had three orientation days and we invited nine companies to take part, such as Anglo American and Energy Resources. We have a special relationship with Oyu Tolgoi as they built our new campus. We want to have a value-added relationship with the companies, for the students, to get them in direct contact with the companies that they will be working with.”

Preparatory courses

“The curricula concept has foreseen a preparatory course for students only having finished secondary school. This kind of one-year program is called ‘Basic Engineering’, and during this year we teach the students across four basic areas: mathematics, physics, chemistry and English. These are the basics for being able to start a bachelor program which is designed to German and European standards. We want to bring the quality standards of Germany and Europe to Mongolia, but we have to bridge this with the competencies of our students.
Then the bachelor program will take four years to complete, as we’d like to integrate large practice phases into the programs. Of the four years altogether, the students will spend at least four months in companies, in practice phases. That is what the sector actually needs. Overall, for an average student, finishing middle school, it will take five years to become an engineer or technology expert who will then be able to start a career in the sector.”
Right now we have a second round of recruitment for the summer semester, which is quite unusual in Mongolia. We are very optimistic that we will recruit 20 to 30 talented students to the ongoing, basic engineering program. At the end of the first academic year we would like to have at least 60 students all together that will be able to begin the bachelor programs. We will move to our new campus in summer, and the new academic year will begin there. It is the first real campus university in Mongolia, as we have our own dorms on campus.”

Scholarship opportunities

“There are some scholarship opportunities available. Scholarships have been awarded by the Ministry of Education and Science for the best students. These are scholarships with regard to performance of the students. We also think of introducing scholarships rewarding social engagement of students. And there is another possibility as to how students can be supported financially. In our first class, in the basic program, we have six students from mining companies in Mongolia, who have already been working for these companies and have been selected to come to our Institute. Their education will be paid for by the companies.”

Continued Mongolian and German co-operation

“I am very optimistic because what I have seen so far is a very good co-operation between the German and Mongolian sides. I have been working in such projects all over the world, and this cannot be taken for granted. You often face problems in this regard, in projects where two governments have decided to form an institute such as this. However, in this case co-operation has been working very well. I am looking forward to seeing how the institute develops throughout this year.”

Why study at GMIT?

- learn within the Institute’s worldwide renown study programs, in accordance with internationally recognized standards – become practically skilled thanks to GMIT’s co-operation with the industry – be individually coached by GMIT’s Mongolian and international teachers
- acquire comprehensive and sound language skills in English and German – train professional key competencies and develop your soft skills – become prepared for your professional future with GMIT’s Career Services – profit by GMIT’s agreeable learning environment within it’s new modern campus

Study Programs at GMIT

Beginning autumn 2014: B.Sc. in Mineral Resources Engineering (with an emphasis on mineral processing) and B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering Beginning autumn 2015: B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering
Basic Engineering Program A one-year preparatory program for the Bachelor of Science studies successfully began in September 2013. It is an intensive program enabling students to study in engineering program at an international level. Basic subjects include mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer application. Languages: English, German (optional) Practical training: Apprenticeships and training in laboratories Key competences: Problem-oriented scientific work, project management, presentation and communication skills, other soft skills.

For further information

Address: No 402, BOOBSH Building, Peace Avenue 10/5, Ulaanbaatar 14210. Web: www.gmit.edu.mn Facebook: www.facebook.com/edu.gmit. E-mail: office@gmit.edu.mn

Phone: 7000-9973

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=7613

Posted by on Jan 15 2014. Filed under Business & Economics, Domestic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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