Analysing teaching

Mission report

Submitted by: Senior Non Key Expert: Amanda Davies

1. Objectives and dates of the mission 

The main objective of the mission was to gain a better understanding of Turkmenistan’s education system and the ways to align it with international standards.

The mission was conducted from 13/02/2018 to 23/02/2018 and 12/03/2018 to 23/03/2018.

Terms of reference:

Activity 2.1.1  Development of an educational program/curriculum framework.  Activity 2.1.2  Development of educational programs/curricula including key competences: IT, mathematics, learning to learn and entrepreneurship.

Activity 2.2.1  Assessment of qualifications needs in terms of knowledge, skills and competence in the chosen sectors.

Activity 2.2.6  Development of a certification methodology in at least 6 sectors.

See Annex I for agenda of meetings

2. Main Findings and Achievements

This document pertains to primary and secondary education only, except where otherwise stated.


It’s helpful to define the following terms:

Curriculum: The overall content taught in an educational system. Includes learning objectives, teaching methodology, methods of assessment and resources.

Syllabus: pertains to individual courses. It lists the topics to be learnt. Can be structural, lexical, skills based etc.

Main findings 

The document Maksatnama outlines the English as a foreign language curriculum and syllabus for primary and secondary schools. The curriculum is in Turkmen. The syllabus is in English and is embedded in the document.

  • The curriculum includes references to speaking, listening, reading and writing learning objectives which are not reflected in the syllabus or textbooks.
  • The curriculum lacks reference to methodology and assessment.
  • The curriculum and syllabus lack alignment with any recognised framework for measuring language proficiency (e.g. CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) / GSE (Global Scale of English)).
  • The syllabus and textbooks often do not align (see Figure 2 and Figure 3 below for examples).
  • The syllabus caters only for topic and grammar and omits lexis and skills.
  • The syllabus is extremely repetitive and lacks structure. The same grammar and vocabulary items are introduced across multiple levels, with no distinction made between what is being revised and what is new. Some repetition of structure and vocabulary is required, however this needs to be recorded in detail. For example in level 1 we have present simple of the verb ‘to have’. This could refer to first person singular, third person singular or plural, positive statements, negative statements or questions. At level 1 it would be highly unusual to cover all of this. Therefore, certain aspects will be covered in later units or levels. We do not need to start from the beginning in each level, but only to build on what has already been learnt. The syllabus (and connected to this the text book) should only include what is new, or make distinctions between what is new and what is revision.
  • Topics included in the syllabus are relatively limited. Levels 1-5 include me, my family, my society, my culture, my motherland, sport and nature. Additional topics from level 5 are Great Britain, travelling, the world of work and my future.