ASHGABAT – Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has urged the government to ensure that government officials and pupils alike acquire basic PC user skills.
A Turkmen farmer takes a course on business and management skills, supported by the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, October 2005. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has urged the government to ensure officials and students have basic PC skills. [OSCE]
Addressing a cabinet meeting January 10, he ordered government officials to take computer courses and be ready to pass an exam upon completion. He also urged the distribution of computers to all schools and computer courses for all pupils.
Bakhysh G. of the Ashgabat mayor’s office’s planning unit praises the initiative.
“I am over 50 now; in my younger years, we didn’t care much for computerisation,” he said. “I think learning some PC user skills will be helpful, especially as regards my communication with officials at other agencies — if I learn to use e-mail.”
Many government officials in Turkmenistan still cannot operate a computer, he said.
An OSCE-sponsored course for airport officials acquaints participants with checkpoint and X-ray machine skills in Ashgabat, October 15, 2008. [OSCE/Anne Suotula]
“Youth are handy with computers, but for us from the older generation, taking this kind of course will be helpful. Thanks, Mr. President.”
It’s important for everyone to learn PC user skills young, Usniya Gakhramonova, computer science teacher at School No. 45 in Ashgabat, said.
“For all I know, Ashgabat schools don’t face this problem — many of them were equipped with computers back in 2009, after the new education law was passed,” she said. “But in other cities and, particularly, in rural areas, the problem is pretty bad.”
Many children in Ashgabat have PCs at home.
“When ninth-graders first come to attend my classes, many of them already know how to handle a PC and know the basic programmes,” Gakhramonova said. “But that’s so only in the capital.”
Vilyura Khankeldiyeva, said her family lacks access to computers at home and school alike.
“I’m a housewife, my husband is the sole breadwinner earning only US $400 per month, and we also have a six-year-old daughter to feed,” she said. “We can’t afford a computer, nor do they have any PCs at my son’s school. But now that the president has taken up this matter, I hope it’ll get computers soon.”
The Education Ministry has been ordered to estimate how many PCs schools need, said a ministry official who requested anonymity because he lacked authorisation to talk to media.
“Teachers of computer science and other subjects will be sent for retraining to Russia and Belarus,” he said.
Turkmenistan did not have a single internet café when Berdymukhamedov took office in 2006. Today, the country has three, all in Ashgabat.
Sayid Nuraliyev, 24, visits an internet café from time to time, since he has no PC of his own, he said.
“There are not very many computers there, and the Web browsers are slow,” he said. “I was in Kazakhstan a year ago; the situation there is much better – new computers, high-speed browsers and all. … I hope with the president’s new directive we’ll get all those things, too.”
Ever more employers require job seekers to have computing skills even though the country lags behind its neighbours in computer technology development, Nuraliyev noted.
Turkmenistan to boost PC user training by Aman Durdiyev for CentralAsiaOnline.com