September 10, 2020 – A team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference to discuss how a national free childcare program can improve mothers’ wages and job prospects in Mongolia.
Following the easing of Covid-19 pandemic response restrictions in Mongolia, the team of local researchers was able to reschedule their national policy conference and bring together 30 stakeholders. Attendees included representatives of the National Education Institute, the Metropolitan Education Department, the Bank of Mongolia, as well as of several international NGOs and the media.
The team presented findings and recommendations from their PEP study that sought to assess the impacts of access to free childcare on women’s labor market outcomes, selected under the PAGE II initiative in 2017. See PEP Policy Brief 227 for findings and policy implications.
The team leader, Altantsetseg Batchuluun, described the problem facing Mongolia’s women. She said: “Childbirth and care are key factors in reducing women’s employment. As you know, the employment of women, especially in the capital city, is lower than the national average. The declining level of labor force participation, especially among women, has been a concern for policymakers in recent years.”
The researchers then explained that by offering free childcare, the government can improve employment for parents, especially for mothers. For families with children enrolled in the Pre-School Education Program, mothers’ employment increased by 10.5% and their hourly wage by 6% in the short term.
The General Secretary of the Education Institute said that she was glad one of the most significant programs in the education sector has been evaluated scientifically. She stated her intention to organize a conference on child development in which the PEP will present their research and discuss how the impact evaluation methodology can be used in Mongolia.
A Senior Officer for the Metropolitan Education Department also stated her interest in the team’s findings. She will organize a meeting with the managers of public kindergartens in Ulaanbaatar where the team will share their results and recommendations.
Following the conference, the team held a press conference, which was also streamed live and remains available to watch via Eagle News, Tovch Media (in Mongolian). As well as being published by the journalists present, the team’s findings were picked up by other media organisations in Mongolia. Team members also gave interviews after the conference with Bloomberg TV Mongolia and TV9 Mongolia.
The conference was hosted by the Department of Economics at the National University of Mongolia. The research team organized the event with financial and advisory support from PEP. The research project was supported by PEP and the World Bank.