Turkmen president orders reform

The new president opens an internet cafe in the capital and raises school leaving age.

     The late president had built a personality cult [AP]
    Also on Friday, Richard Boucher, US assistant secretary, was due to visit the town of Turkmenabat on the Uzbek border, a visit likely to reinforce US calls for the country to open up to the outside world.
     
    During his 15 years as president Niyazov largely sealed off this country of five million people, relying on natural gas exports to Russia and Iran to fill state coffers, while building an elaborate personality cult around himself and his deceased parents.
     
    Berdymukhammedov was declared winner after voting that the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said marked an improvement but could not be described as an genuine election.
     
    Basic education
     
    The education decree follows widespread dismay at Niyazov's cutting of the number of years of basic education.
     
    The policy stopped Turkmen parents from getting their children into Russian universities, which many saw as the best and most affordable option.
     
    The decree describes the new 10-year period of schooling as the "foundation of education, allowing Turkmenistan's citizens to gain deep knowledge".
     
    Berdymukhammedov told Chinese journalists: "Our aim is not only to save the results achieved since independence but to reinforce ... state policies and to implement them in the interests of the prosperity of the country and its people."
     
    More internet cafes are to be opened in other regions of the country, he told the journalists.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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