The Minister of Education assured the Turkmen President in August that schools were totally ready for the new academic year. However, many Ashgabat secondary schools are experiencing a shortage of textbooks and the situation is especially appalling for schoolchildren from grades 2 to 7.
In particular, Ashgabat school ? 55 is experiencing a shortage of textbooks for Natural History, the Turkmen language, the Russian language, fundamentals of life safety and native speech. In the best-case scenario classes are supplied only with half of the required textbooks.
No textbooks are also available in bookstores and teachers suggest that schoolchildren's parents contact the publishing house and get textbooks printed at their own expense.
Parents are no longer surprised by additional extortion of money. On a monthly basis they pay 6 manats ($2) for classroom and school needs and 5 manats for drinking water. Besides, every year 50 to 65 manats ($18-$23) are collected from the parents to buy sportswear as officials from the Ministry of Education regularly change requirements for the colour of sportswear.
Needless to say, financial contributions are also made for repair works and gifts for teachers.
The quoted fees are not standardized as every school has different requirements. However, parents are urged to make money donations virtually in every school.