Turkmen to Recognise Russian Diplomas at Last

Turkmen to Recognise Russian Diplomas at Last

Monday, 13 April, 2009
An agreement under which the Turkmen authorities will recognise educational qualifications awarded in Russia will make life a lot easier for people studying in that country.

President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement providing for mutual recognition of educational diplomas when the Turkmen leader visited Moscow in late March.

The agreement will come into force once it is ratified by both countries’ parliaments, which is expected to happen this month. It should put an end to the numerous bureaucratic obstacles placed in the way of Turkmenistan nationals who go to Russia to study, and then find the qualifications they have gained there are not accepted at home unless they sit additional exams.

Although qualifications from Russian universities have not been recognised in Turkmenistan since 1993, people still aspire to study there because the education system is better. On their return, they find that prospective employers ask them to provide certificates from the Turkmen education ministry to prove that their diplomas are valid.

Acquiring these certificates is a laborious process, entailing requests for additional documents from Russia and then a wait for a final decision by the Turkmen education ministry.

“It can take the [education ministry] commission years to make a decision, although the waiting period has become shorter recently,” said an observer in Ashgabat.

If that decision is positive, the graduate has to sit several exams, including one on the Ruhnama, the book written by the late president Saparmurat Niazov to serve as a handbook and moral guide for his subjects.

An economist educated in Russia said that when he applied to the Turkmen ministry to learn his fate, he was told, “The commission hasn’t met yet. Please wait.”

Another graduate, from the St. Petersburg Engineering and Economics University, is still waiting to hear whether his degree will be accepted in Turkmenistan. In the interim, he cannot get a job that suits his qualifications, so he is working as an assistant to a private businessman in Ashgabat.

“I don’t think I have good prospects here, and I am thinking about emigrating to Russia,” said the young man, who added that he would stay if his diploma was approved.

A schoolteacher said he was glad an agreement had been reached with Moscow, but he still had doubts that it would be honoured in Turkmenistan/

“After a recent conversation with the people from the education ministry, I got the impression they would make the procedures more complicated and retain many of the practices from the current system,” he said.

(NBCentralAsia is an IWPR-funded project to create a multilingual news analysis and comment service for Central Asia, drawing on the expertise of a broad range of political observers across the region. The project ran from August 2006 to September 2007, covering all five regional states. With new funding, the service has resumed, covering Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.)
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