Education System in Turkmenistan
Education in Turkmenistan on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea is going through a tough period as the government eliminates a wide variety of subjects considered undesirable and reduces teachers’ salaries. Links with other education sources are being depleted too, as the traditional Turkmen alphabet is reintroduced. Soon primary schools will be little more than places to memorize Islamic scriptures as hard-won education rights for girls recede.
The balance of the 9 year education period is spent at secondary schools, where the medium of education continues to be Turkmen. A book entitled Rukhnama and written by a president is at the core of the curriculum, and is changing education into a propaganda machine. The upper 2 years of secondary school have been cancelled.
Although Turkmenistan is relatively well-endowed with higher education colleges, tertiary education is no longer free, and ethnic background checks are carried out on applicants. Moreover many leading academics are losing influence because they are neither literate in Turkmen nor considered ethnically pure. Turkmenistan State University which is illustrated here is the only tertiary institution in the country, having been established in 1931 as the Ashgabat Pedagogical Institute. Although it still has a wide range of faculties these are gradually being pared down, and foreign qualifications are no longer recognized. It is an open question how much longer girls may even enter through its portals.