Guest Post: Political Parties’ Election Platforms on Higher Education

By Orkhon Gantogtokh

This review focuses on how 19 political parties and 2 coalitions that submitted their election platforms reflect higher education (university level education) in their platforms, based on comparisons available at iKON and iToim. The analysis includes how many objectives each party has on higher education extracted from their platforms in iToim, the areas of higher education they cover, and the specificity of their objectives. Here, I summarize the main actions of the five parties with the most objectives in higher education, followed by an overall summary of the remaining parties’ objectives.

Democratic Party

The Democratic Party (DP) stands out with its specific section on higher education, having the highest number of objectives (21 objectives) related to higher education. For comparison, the Mongolian People’s Party, Citizen Will Party, and United Party of Patriots each have 6 objectives, the National Labour Party has 5 objectives, and other parties have fewer than 4 objectives in higher education.

The Democratic Party places significant emphasis on research capacity building in alignment with the country’s socio-economic development to strengthen the knowledge society. Specific objectives include increasing research funding to 1% of GDP from the current rate of 0.1%, recognizing research as a public good, establishing a matching fund to strengthen university-industry research partnerships, increasing funding for interdisciplinary research addressing socio-economic problems, investing in research faculty, and improving research management. They also focus on faculty development, attracting diaspora academics to work in Mongolian universities, providing scholarships to faculty members to study for PhDs abroad, and improving their English skills to retain talented scholars in public universities. They prioritize the autonomy of public universities through specific changes in higher education law, increasing the number of external members on university governing boards, and making professional associations like the Quality Assurance Agency more autonomous. They aim to establish a campus for regional higher education and increase the number of scholarship recipients studying abroad. The Democratic Party’s objectives are specific and cover the widest range of higher education areas, including university governance, autonomy, academic freedom, research management and funding, university and industry partnerships, student fees, scholarships, faculty development, life-long learning through micro-credentials, quality assurance, campus development, and alignment of academic programs with practicum opportunities.

Mongolian People’s Party

The Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) has 6 objectives directly related to higher education. Their objectives include general statements about improving the link between university and industry through research, increasing research funding, and establishing an ecosystem of research. They have a specific objective of supporting two universities in reaching the global top 1000 in university rankings. They also support regional higher education to meet labor market needs, attract diaspora academics, support teacher education colleges, and aim to increase student scholarships through a transparent system. While their objectives are fewer and more general compared to the opposition party, they include ambitious goals, such as improving Mongolian university’s rankings in the global standing, but do not specify how.

Civil Will-Green Party and United Party of Patriots

These two parties have relatively numerous objectives (6 each) in higher education among the parties not represented in the current parliament. The United Party of Patriots aims to elevate higher education to a global level, improve university human resources through merit-based recruitment, allow global and Asian top universities to open branches in Mongolia, elevate the status of science and research through better funding and recognition, support university-industry partnerships through state recognition, and provide scholarships for talented first and second-year students to study abroad. The Civil Will-Green Party emphasizes research, labor market alignment of academic programs, and education funding systems, and stands out with its focus on increasing part-time work opportunities for students.


The KhUN (National Labour) Party has surprisingly few objectives, considering many of its members are from academia. However, some of their objectives are different and specific. They aim to develop universities as innovation-based institutions, foster university-industry partnerships, improve university governance through greater autonomy, align academic policies with labor market needs, and instill market principles in higher education by decreasing the number of poor-quality universities through stricter criteria, including higher university entrance scores. They also emphasize flexible pathways to higher education, a shorter period of studies through accepting high school credits and supporting the link between secondary schools and universities through career development programs.

Other Parties

The parties that have 3 objectives related to higher education include the New United Coalition, Mongolian Liberal Democratic Party, Motherland Party, Social Democratic Party, and United Party of Good Democrats. The National Coalition and Power of the Masses Party have 2 objectives. The Republican Party, the Party For Mongolian Humanity, the Truth and Justice Party, Masses’ Majority Governance Party, and Civic Unity Party each have one objective. The majority of these parties have similar general objectives, emphasizing research universities, alignment of academic programs with labor market needs, quality assurance of higher education, and research funding systems. The Freedom Implementation Party, Civil Movement Party, and Freedom Alliance Party do not have specific objectives directly related to higher education.

To summarize, it is commendable to see that the majority of parties’ election platforms emphasize improving university governance through granting autonomy, supporting research at universities through better funding, fostering university-industry partnerships, enhancing faculty development through better human resource management, and aligning academic programs with labor market needs. Many of them emphasize increasing scholarships to study abroad through a more transparent funding system, which may be related to the recent scandal associated with foreign study scholarships. Several parties also aim to improve regional higher education, quality assurance mechanisms, flexible pathways, and funding and fees for students. In their overall education-related objectives, most parties seem to focus more on basic and secondary education, whereas the Democratic Party provides a more balanced approach across all levels of education with a comprehensive and specific focus on higher education in its platform.

About Orkhon

Orkhon Gantogtokh is a PhD candidate in Education Studies at the University of British Columbia. She has been actively engaged with the higher education reform processes of Mongolia with her civic engagement, research activities, and involvement in national-level projects. She has led the higher education sub-committee of the Education Reform Movement, an NGO established in 2019 to address the low quality of education in Mongolia. She completed an MSc in Higher Education at the University of Oxford in 2016. Her professional experience includes positions at the University of British Columbia as a Researcher and Academic Policy Assistant, Higher Education Reform Project as a HE Specialist, the London School of Economics Enterprise as a Researcher, Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation as a Research and Partnership Manager, and NUM and MUST as a Higher Education Consultant and Mongolian Academy for Higher Education Development as Executive Director.

About Julian Dierkes

Julian Dierkes is a sociologist by training (PhD Princeton Univ) and a Mongolist by choice and passion since around 2005. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He toots
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