Country Listing

Turkmenistan Table of Contents



The curriculum followed by schools is standardized, allowing little variation among the country's school districts. The prescribed humanities curriculum for the ninth and tenth grades places the heaviest emphasis on native language and literature, history, physics, mathematics, Turkmen or Russian language, chemistry, foreign language, world cultures, and physical education. A few elective subjects are available.

Although teaching continues to enjoy respect as a vocation, Turkmenistan's school system suffers from a shortage of qualified teachers. Many obstacles confront a teacher: heavy teaching loads and long hours, including Saturdays and double shifts; wholly inadequate textbooks and instructional materials; serious shortages of paper, supplies, and equipment; low salaries; and, at times, even failure to be paid. An estimated 13 percent of schools have such serious structural defects in their physical plants that they are too dangerous to use for classes.

Instruction in 77 percent of primary and general schools is in Turkmen, although the 16 percent of schools that use Russian as their primary language generally are regarded as providing a better education. Some schools also instruct in the languages of the nation's Uzbek and Kazak minorities. Especially since the adoption of Turkmen as the "state language" and English as the "second state language," the study of these two languages has gained importance in the curriculum, and adults feel pressure to learn Turkmen in special courses offered at schools or at their workplaces.

Data as of March 1996