The Director of Mongolia-Korea Polytechnic College (MKPC), D.Ulambayar gave an interview during the college’s groundbreaking ceremony about a wide range of issues in Mongolia’s science and education sectors, as well as related social issues.
-Can you briefly introduce yourself for our readers?
-I was born in Zavkhan Province. I am a radio electronic engineer and Mongolia-French translator. I received my bachelor’s degree at Novosibirsk Electro-Technical Institute (currently Novosibirsk State Technical University) Russia in 1986. I am a cofounder of BC, Proton and Integral companies, I have served in the energy sector for 19 years, and now I’m working as the Director of MKPC. When I returned from Russia, I set myself objectives to produce and supply radio electronic equipment and devices in Mongolian and to train Mongolians in technology and science.
-Did you fulfill your second objective? Can you talk about it more?
-I assisted one outstanding student to enroll into Novosibirsk Electro-Technical Institute in 1992. He studied extremely well and graduated with a Red Diploma, the highest honor. He returned to Mongolia and started working for Mobicom Corporation. He reinvented the first ever mobile phone in Mongolia through his own technological studies.
–Did he really make a mobile phone?
-No one believed me when I told them that a Mongolian young man reinvented the mobile phone. Neither the head of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (MAS) nor bank directors. He needed 20,000 USD to file a patent for his redesigned mobile phone. We have requested for sponsorship from everywhere, the Central Bank of Mongolia, MAS and many businessmen at the time.
-Why do you think that academicians of MAS didn’t believe it? Aren’t they supposed to be the first to support such achievements?
-Society was like that back then. Prior to my student’s achievement, several Mongolians conned people with false inventions, and this caused a widespread distrust to such claims. There was a woman called Unurmaa, who claimed that she can produce fire from within her body and other profited from a con involving a perpetual motor, that was later found to be hooked onto car batteries. Many people managed to con organizations through such claims.
-It is very unfortunate for your student. What became of this invention?
–When we sent the mobile phone to Nokia, they agreed to purchase it. He set a condition to receive two percent from every 10,000 mobile phones sold which could’ve become a permanent financial source. We have sent the official material to Nokia, but ended up with nothing as Mongolia wasn’t a member of any international patent union. If Mongolia had already joined such patent organizations, our student could’ve lived without the constant financial struggle and even Mongolia could’ve been acknowledged as a modern mobile phone designer nation. Though the state charged tax on intellectual property from us, the tax never helped the scientists. I hope that Mongolia has joined international patent unions by now. I feel deep regret for that young man’s achievement. A Mongolian citizen was valued very low back then.
-What happened to him after that? Do you have any information where he is and what he is doing now?
–He sold his material of the redesigned mobile phone to Nokia for 5,000 USD. We went to Beijing and he bought a Toshiba laptop for 3,000 USD and the money was spent on other minor things. His name is M.Bilegt. He lives in the U.S. now. He promised to invent a perpetual motion machine when he left of the U.S. and I think that he is still pursuing his dream.
I remember that chilly fall day when I took him to his university in Novosibirsk. I was so delighted when he graduated with the highest honor. Russian teachers used to tell me that Bilegt had a real Mongol gene and potential that outshone others.
–What were the advantages of the mobile phone that Bilegt reinvented?
-Radio wave frequency impacts and harms the human brain. Bilegt reinvented a mobile phone with frequency emission that is twice as low as a regular mobile phone. However, a Russian man patented the device in 2002. But it had already been invented by a Mongolian man years ago.
This is a regretful thing that happened to the Mongolian science sector as an intellectual property of a Mongolian had no value and significance back then. Though I don’t want to talk badly of my own home country, the society wasn’t supportive of scientific development.
–But you have laid a solid foundation for Bilegt’s life. Do you have any other students that you trained on technological engineering?
–I held technological trainings for the disabled residents in Ulaanbaatar to show that you can happily live and earn money if you have a fully functional brain. The month long training session and was focused mainly on repairing radio electronics and appliances. I said to my students, “You are no different from any other young person. You can do it!,” on my first lesson. They were so diligent in their study and many of them are operating their private mobile phone repair businesses now.
–It seems that workshops and trainings for the disabled are considered instruments for profit. What do you think about it?
–For me, I have spent my own money to train and help a few disabled citizens to acquire a financial source. I didn’t do it for personal gain. I’ve spent 600,000 MNT for every one of my students. When they graduated, I also gave the equipments and tools for repair business worth 20,000 MNT.
-What did you learn after working in the education sector?
–When I sold radio electronic equipment and tools that I made, I observed my customers. Some of my students who used to buy the tools had become engineers. Radio electronic sector is not progressing. I asked myself why that ism and realized that to improve education and professional skills of our population, we have to let students decide what they want to learn, according to their interests starting from kindergarten through general education schools and universities. It is very important for people to pursue their own interests and work hard in their respective sector. I have never seen shoe repairers or welders quitting their job and looking for different jobs because they receive reasonable wages as their jobs are considered dangerous. But there are many young people with university degrees who are cashiers in supermarkets. Working in the education sector, I’ve found that the skills and knowledge of teachers need to be improved. Employers are hiring based on foreign language skills and computer skills alone, instead of closely considering their work experiences and specialized profession. Educational sector will recover only when its structure is changed to give solid foundations to students and teachers alike.
–Due to globalization, Mongolians, especially women, are moving abroad. What are your opinion about this issue?
–I think that each person on this planet wants to lead a happy life. Since 1990, Mongolian men started running their own business, while many women have married foreigners. But Mongolians are not fools. They can adapt to any lifestyles wherever they go. Many people are very concerned about women moving abroad, but they will come back to their home country sooner or later. Mongolia is developing. I want to call out to Mongolians living abroad, to come back and live here on their home soil, no matter what nationality their spouses are. They must have Mongolian ID cards. Only intelligent people can survive in foreign countries for a long time, so I want them to come back and show the things that they have learned. The state should send invitations to call them back.
-Since you have helped many people to pursue their interests, I presume that you have high expectation for your students at MKPC. Can you talk about your plans for them?
–Yes, I do. I became director to train more skilled construction planner and workers, and auto mechanics. To reach this goal, we are about to establish an electronic science laboratory and will enroll students that are specialized. Two years from now, MKPC will be reputable for its outstanding students in engineering and other sectors.
-It is clear from our talks that you have a deep passion for helping people and you have worked to improve the society for many years. Do you have an interest in the environmental sector?
–One of my hobbies is gardening. I grow plants at home and present them to people that I’m close with. All of my friends have plants in their homes now. I want to plant a million trees before I pass away. Currently I have planted 2,000 trees in total. Lately, people have been planting trees for business purposes, but I do it for my amusement. Many of us who plant trees do not nourish and look after the trees after it is planted. But it is very important, and also us want to plant trees again year after year. I think it is my nature to do anything from the bottom of my heart.
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Mongolian Academy of Science has dumb management otherwise the capacity still lies there.