A group of University of Alaska, Fairbanks Professors will develop an engineering school in Mongolia over the next few years. UAF signed a contract this spring with the American University of Mongolia in that country’s capital, where the new school will be based.
A team of seven professors from UAF are developing curriculum and designing classroom space for an engineering school at a newly formed American University of Mongolia.
Rajive Ganguli is heading up the project. He’s the chairman of the Mining and Geological Engineering program at UAF.
“For me and my team it is very exciting,” says Ganguli. “It is wild to think you’re going to engineering school from scratch. So the good things, the stuff we like about the education system here and the stuff we hate, we get to remedy it. So what we will do is review engineering education in some of the top universities and we have our own ideas and we’ll steal from the best.”
Ganguli says Mongolia and Alaska are natural partners when it comes to mining in the far north.
“I think that our cold climate engineering expertise is very relative to Mongolia and they can benefit from it and so we have academic agreements with Mongolia institute of science technology and with Erdenet Mining Corporation,” he said.
There is no federal funding going toward the effort. Ganguli doesn’t have a solid dollar amount on what development of the school will cost, but he expects it will be in the tens of millions of dollars. He says nearly all of it will come from private sector mining companies in Mongolia.
“Mining has been booming in Mongolia for a few years,” says Ganguli. “Their economy is taking off. They’re one of the fastest growing economies in the world at about 17 percent and so when you grow that fast, you need lots of good employees especially in engineering given their investment in infrastructure and mines etcetera.”
Officials with American University of Mongolia hope to admit the first engineering students within two years.