About the situation at schools in Turkmenistan.
Recently commissions from the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan have inspected the work of the schools. Special attention was paid to pupils’ appearance, to the design of the classrooms, to' their knowledge of Ruhnama and the new alphabet, to their attendance and progress. I didn't put all these points of interest of the commission in such an order just occasionally. The progress in their studying is really not the main thing (otherwise they wouldn't be sent to the fields to gather cotton at the beginning of the school year), the most important point is that every pupil should wear "tahya" and clothes similar to each other and is able to cite Ruhnama by heart.
Another important thing, according to the words of the teachers is nationalization or in other words "turkmenization" of all the schools, no matter the language they are taught in. Inspectors-methodologists of the education department say it in a rather straightforward manner: "Forget about such concepts as "the Russian school", "the Uzbek school", you'd better call it "the Turkmen school with the Russian language bias", etc." When attending classes of such schools with other language bias, the members of the commission greeted the children in Turkmen and demanded the same from the pupils.
It is rather funny to hear the children to greet their teacher: "Salam, mugallym!"(How do you do the Teacher!") This is the way to depersonalize a concrete teacher.
It is rather odd to see a red-haired or even a blond girl wearing a Turkmen headgear. In the Uzbek schools it is strictly forbidden to wear the Uzbek headgear! Everybody must use only the Turkmen one.
One more example of that absurd situation. In a number of Uzbek schools there are no first-year classes taught in Uzbek, this is only the beginning of the process of pushing the Uzbek language out of the schools. In Russian schools there are classes taught in Russian, but those schools have the Turkmen classes as well.
One of my friends who is a teacher in an Uzbek school has told me bitterly that the school lacks textbooks in Uzbek. They are available in a neighborhood Urgench, but it is still too expensive to buy them for each child in a family. The school library has some amount of the textbooks, but they are often torn or out.
That teacher's niece studies in a Russian school and they have the same textbook problem. As far as Turkmen schools are concerned they have the latest textbooks published during the last few years.
The dominating subject in all schools is Ruhnama. Every lesson no matter if it is mathematics, chemistry or literature begins with Ruhnama. And this is in addition to the fact that school education has been shorten for one year, then 2,5 months a year for gathering cotton make it even shorter. Thus the time to acquire knowledge is apparently not enough.
Despite all these facts the school administration still demands -since reports on the curriculum. Such cheerful reports are in all spheres of the society, including education.
Lost generation... It is terrifying to think so, but it is the truth.