This is what deputy minister of education told the parents of American University- Central Asia (AUCA) students at a meeting in the ministry held on August 18th. He also said the Turkmen government doesn’t need their liberal arts degrees. The official forgot that the Turkmen government doesn’t pay a penny for student’s education at AUCA.
A number of AUCA students was again rejected at Ashgabat airport yesterday. Some of the students had dual Turkmen-Russian citizenship, but their red passport was of no use.
“You are blacklisted. You are not permitted to leave,” – border official returned young man’s passport, disregarding the fact that the student had a ticket to Istanbul.
“I know you are going to Kyrgyzstan via Turkey; this won’t work,” – he said.
According to a source at AUCA, the new rules that required all students to get approval certificates from the Ministry of education were imposed by the government solely for AUCA students.
“Finally, now they told this to them straightforward, but everybody knew this from the very beginning” – the source said.
Neweurasia has reached a source at American Councils for International Education (ACCELS) in Ashgabat via Skype – an institution entitled to manage Turkmen-American Scholars Program (TASP) – the scholarship held by most AUCA students to attend AUCA. According to the source, ACCELS is trying to negotiate with the Ministry of education, but still fruitlessly.
“We can’t really push them to grant students freedom to choose where to study and what classes to take,” – the source said and added that ACCELS has other programs in Turkmenistan, which “in no way should suffer from our pressure on AUCA deal.”
When asked what should students expect in the coming days or weeks from ACCELS or the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat, the source said “nothing much.”
“Again, we are doing our best to send the students to Bishkek, so far in vain” – he said.
The Turkmen media don’t say a word about the problem. Yesterday’s issue of “Neitralniy Turkmenistan” – the only newspaper in the country published in Russian language – was mostly devoted to President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov’s business trip to Lebap oblast situated on the south-east of the country.
“We are waiting for September to come when Western government officials and human rights organizations return from holidays,” – a 22-year-old AUCA students said.
“They are our the only hopes,” – he said.