Sending children, especially six-year-old ones, to school put pressure on pastoralist or herder households to balance their livestock herding needs and their children’s schooling needs at the same time. Due to remote campsites located in isolated rural areas far from any schools, pastoralists need to arrange a place for their children to stay during the school year. In this interpretive phenomenological study, we explored pastoralist parents’ experiences in managing different living arrangements for their primary school children during the school year. We conducted semi-structured interviews with five pastoralist parents from a remote county (an administrative division under a province) in Mongolia. Living arrangement options included staying in a boarding school dormitory, staying at a relative’s place, and staying with mothers in split households. The pastoralist parents’ own school experiences, the presence of first-grade school children, boarding school conditions, and family resources were found to be important factors for deciding the best living arrangement. We recommend that the government agencies should work on improving conditions of school dormitories and on providing better educational opportunities for pastoralists and their children.


pastoralist parents, six-year-old learners, boarding school dormitories, interpretive phenomenological analysis

Author Bio(s)

Batdulam Sukhbaatar is a lecturer in the department of Educational Studies and Methodology, School of Educational Studies, Mongolian National University of Education. She has a bachelor’s degree in primary education teaching from a local Teacher Training College in Mongolia and a master’s degree in human sciences from Osaka University, Japan. She earned her PhD in educational sciences at University of Szeged, Hungary. Her research focuses on parental involvement and teacher education. Please direct correspondence to batdulam.s@msue.edu.mn

Klára Tarkó (F), PhD. habil. is a College Professor, Head of the Institute of Applied Health Sciences and Environmental Education, Juhász Gyula Faculty of Education, University of Szeged, and vice-dean for education and innovation; Sociologist and teacher of English and Physics. She carried out her PhD research in Educational Sciences and since 2000 she focuses on minority studies and lifestyle research. She leads a practice-based education in Health promotion and Minority studies on different forms of university education. She was elected vice-president at large for the Executive Committee of ISA RC13 Sociology of Leisure for the period of 2014-2018, and now serving as a Board Member. She is head of the MTA-SZTE Health Promotion Research Group.

Batkhand Sukhbaatar is a senior lecturer in the department of Social Sciences and Humanities, Eastern Regional School of the National University of Mongolia. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in history from the National University of Mongolia. His research focuses on history of education in Mongolia and educational studies.

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