|Tejen School - (The Tejen School from their Facebook Group page)|
As indicated above, the mass closing has evidently been going on for some time already, and in a very systematic fashion. Besides the changes already mentioned, the schools’ Turkish directors were exchanged with Turkmen ones.
This development has been hushed up in the strictly government-controlled Turkmen media. Meanwhile, a representative of the Turkmen-Turkish schools association in Turkey who wishes to remain anonymous was hesitant to call it a “closing” per se. In the least, a status change is occurring, as the remaining schools are being taken over by the Provincial National Education Ministry Directorate. The representative explained to me:
“A hundred percent localization is taking place. A new generation of well-educated, conscious and decent Turkmens has grown up in these schools and in the schools of Turkey. Local teachers are replacing Turkish teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science. Most of the teachers are now Turkmens. That is a natural process that was expected over time.”
I’ve gathered from various sources and remarks on the Turkmenet that the Turkmen authorities may have wanted to close some of the schools immediately in order to turn them into hospitals. However, the Turks labored to convince them that if they did so, schools’ interiors would be “wasted”. The pace of the closings suggests that this argument was somewhat successful.
Destroying a generation
The closings/change-in-status parallels a trend in neighboring countries, particularly Uzbekistan, wherein all Turkish schools were closed in 2000 as part of a diplomatic crisis with Turkey. However, internal factors peculiar to Turkmenistan may have played a role, as well.
The atheistic political establishment is fighting religious influences. As part of that, the authorities are increasingly growing intolerant of Islam and are becoming suspicious of any foreign presence in the country. I’ve previously reported that alleged private lessons given by Turkish teachers to their Turkmen pupils on Islamic principles and rituals proved especially irksome. However, the suspicion of outsiders extends beyond Turks: for example, Peace Corps volunteers have been denied entry visas, while Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Russian mobile phone provider MTS have been unceremoniously kicked out of the country.
The end-results could be a small disaster for my nation’s best and brightest. The education system here is even weaker than in other Central Asian countries. Good teachers and teaching materials are in short supply, the official ideology is omnipresent, and corruption is widespread. The Turkish schools, which were first opened in 1991, represent the best opportunity for quality education. They have produced some of my nation’s most talented graduates who have won prizes in international education contents and have climbed the ranks of society to attend some of the best universities and get the best jobs in Turkey and elsewhere.
Their success, and evidently, their current crisis, lies in the fact that they have been teaching Western-style modern science and a good level of Turkish and English. Although the teaching of Islam has not been allowed, the students have nevertheless learned how to pray and live like a modern Muslim (the schools are connected to the Nurcular movement, one of the main religious organizations in Turkey, as well as to Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States. Gülen is a controversial figure in Turkey, but his educational network has spread across five continents,)
As Turkmenistan’s authorities quietly move to shut down the system of Turkish secondary schools,
|Atamyrat School- The Atamjrat School originally the Keri School from their Facebook Group Page)|
Annasoltan communicates with an alum of one of these schools to get an insider’s view
TURKMEN – TURKISH SCHOOLS THE INSIDER STORY By Annasolton
Editor’s note: As Turkmenistan’s authorities quietly move to shut down the system of Turkish secondary schools, neweurasia’s Annasoltan communicates with an alum of one of these schools to get an insider’s view. “I want to clear away one untruth about these schools right from the start,” he says, “I have witnessed with my own eyes that the schools are not directed to control or colonialize the country.”
In my previous post on the current situation of Turkmen-Turkish secondary schools, I reported on their rather secretive, gradual mass closure by my nation’s authorities. Only five are allowed to remain open, but their status is being changed.
I recently met a graduate of one of these schools who was willing to provide me his impressions as an insider, but strictly on the condition of anonymity:
Regarding the pedagogical and ideological content of the schools:
“I want to clear away one untruth about these schools right from the start: I have witnessed with my own eyes that the schools are not directed to control or colonialize the country. I have never seen them spreading nationalism; they have viewed all Turkmens as Muslim brothers and sisters. They haven’t tried to impose anything upon us; rather, they are driven by our needs and what we want to achieve. They want to assist us.
“The teachers have needed the utmost patience to overcome all the difficulties they have faced in our country. Those of them who were not married would stay overnight in the dormitories to take care of us. They don’t teach religion; they teach life. They taught us about cleanliness, respect for elders, halal and haram. What I like about them is that they are true to themselves and to their principles. In the country where I am currently located, my neighbors see me and recognize my enthusiasm and high morale. They tell me that I’m different. That’s because our teachers instilled in we students this high morale [and these] good things
|Balkanabat- The seal of the Balkanbat School from mail.ru|