Turkmenistan’s schoolchildren could be forgiven for getting dizzy. Their president is again changing the number of years they are expected in the classroom.
Effective this fall, Turkmen children will be required to attend 12 years of school, rather than just 10, starting at age six. The state-run Turkmenistan.ru online newspaper reports that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov approved the change last week.
According to the decree, the switch aims "to further improve" secondary schools and to ensure that "the quality of education in them" meets global standards.
Berdymukhamedov's predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov reduced the number of years Turkmen schoolchildren were required in the classroom from 11 years to nine. Berdymukhamedov increased the curriculum to 10 years shortly after he came to power in 2006.
Niyazov – apparently no fan of school – also cut university education from five years to two. Soon after assuming office, Berdymukhamedov restored university curricula to five years.
Berdymukhamedov’s blueprint envisages new subjects for high school students such as "The Cultural Heritage of Turkmenistan," "Basics of Economics," and "Information-Communicative and Innovation Technologies." The program also increases the number of hours for studying computer programming and foreign languages. Turkmen schoolchildren will continue to study The Rukhnama: Reflections on the Spiritual Values of the Turkmen, the holy book Niyazov (a.k.a. The Turkmenbashi) published 2001, though it appears the book is slowly falling out of favor under Berdymukhamedov’s rule.
Turkmenistan.ru does not mention if Berdymukhamedov’s own works, including the 2008 Akhal-Teke Horses – Our Pride And Glory, or his later tomes on medicinal plants, for example, will become part of the curriculum.