Education in Turkmenistan
The Constitution of Turkmenistan provides for free access to primary education for all children but for a mandatory schooling up to the secondary level. The entire education set still retains the features of the structural framework of Soviet education but is undergoing reforms designed to produced highly skilled citizens so that the country can participate in international activities or undertakings. These reforms also include educating the citizens who can write the new history of the country. The government is also restructuring the primary and secondary school system to Western standards that have shorter curricula but with more vocational training and human resource development. With both formal and non-formal education, the country’s formal education consists of the kindergarten or bagoka, and the primary school or mekdep, for children starting with the six-year olds, and compulsory up to Grade 8, and the secondary education which is supervised by the Ministry of Education. The higher education level consists of schools beyond the secondary education, entrance to which requires students to pass lengthy, pressure-laden entrance tests. Courses in higher education, which normally last five years, are offered in the Turkmenistan State University in Ashgabat and various specialized institutes.
Non-formal education is offered by the Internet Access and Training Project Center on internet training and use of the computers, and by the Turkmen-Turkish University, which is equipped with more than 100 computers, on internet access and internet use. Turkmen is used is a medium of instruction in 77% of primary and general schools, and 16% of the schools use Russian as a primary language of teaching.