According to Soviet government statistics, literacy in Turkmenistan
was nearly universal in 1991. Experts considered the overall level
of education to be comparable to the average for the Soviet republics.
According to the 1989 census, 65.1 percent of the population aged
fifteen and older had completed secondary school, compared with
45.6 percent in 1979. In the same period, the percentage of citizens
who had completed a higher education rose from 6.4 percent to
Education is free of charge, although introduction of fees is
being considered by selected institutions. Formal schooling begins
with kindergarten (bagcha ) and primary school (mekdep
). School attendance is compulsory through the eighth grade. At
this point, students are tested and directed into technical, continuing,
and discontinuing tracks. Some students graduate to the workforce
after completing the tenth grade, while others leave in the ninth
grade to enter a trade or technical school.
Data as of March 1996