The 2020-2025 Digital transformation strategy refers to “information and communication technologies (ICTs)”, “distance education” and “online education” without providing any definitions.
An explicit definition of information and communication technologies (ICTs), or reference to Education technology (EdTech), distance education, open educational resources, and assistive technologies in education, has not been found.
Constitution and laws: Article 55 of the 2008 Constitution (amended in 2016) refers to the right to education and Article 16 aims to promote the development of science and technology as well as the support of international co-operation in these areas.
Article 6 of the 2021 Education Act states that the structural elements of the education system shall consider the "digitization of the education system” and “world technological progress, processes of urbanization and migration, environmental, demographic and other problems of global development”.
The 2014 Legal Regulation of Internet Development and Internet Services (amended in 2020) highlights that schools have the authority to incorporate Internet services and technologies in their educational practices, ensuring the safety and suitability of the information provided to children. It emphasizes the importance of evaluating the competence of children in accessing information through the internet, both within and outside the school environment. Additionally, it underlines the need to consider age-appropriate content, promoting physical and mental well-being, and avoiding harmful influences. The text also mentions that the use of computers and electronic games should adhere to regulations to prevent negative impacts on children's health and development. Furthermore, it highlights the responsibility of internet service providers, educational institutions, and administrators to uphold legal guidelines and safeguard children's online experience (art.28-29).
Policies, plans and strategies: The 2020-2025 Digital transformation strategy aims to accelerate the digitalization of all sectors of the national economy and the active introduction of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) “The policy pursued echoes the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The benefits of digital technologies are obvious for the SDGs, which are integrated into all government programmes (…) Therefore, the development of telemedicine technologies, online education and distance learning, e-government tools, etc. has received a powerful impetus in the country in recent years”.
The 2019-2025 Digital Economy Development Programme aims to transform the education system and its digitization. The concept and program are designed to improve the efficiency of all sectors of the country's economy and public sphere through the use of information technology. The national education system is undergoing modernization to incorporate digital technology in teaching and learning processes. This includes the digitalization of the educational process, the development of national educational platforms and portals, and the acquisition of professional, personal, and digital skills. Additionally, the concept note highlights the importance of lifeline learning for IT and digital skills that support the digital economy and the country’s transformation agenda.
Digital competency frameworks: No information has been found.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: According to the UNESCO Global monitoring of school closures, caused by COVID-19, school closed only for one month between September to October 2021. No information on changes as a result of COVID-19 has been found.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The 2014 Electric Power Industry Law is the legislative framework that governs the electric power sector in the country and aims to regulate the generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption of electric power, ensuring the efficient and reliable operation of the electric power industry. It outlines that the main directions of state regulation in the field electric power industry include” ensuring equal access of consumers (art.8).
Computers and devices: In 2023, the Ministry of Education awarded a contract to Turkmen technology companies to produce and supply laptops to educational institutions. The President of Turkmenistan signed a corresponding resolution solidifying the commitment to this initiative. Under the terms of the contract, the laptops will be delivered to the educational institutions by August 1, 2023, and ongoing maintenance will be provided. A notable aspect of this endeavor is the provision of laptops as a gift to first-grade students admitted in the 2023-2024 academic year in secondary schools throughout the country. These computers are manufactured in compliance with quality standards and medical requirements suitable for child users, highlighting the government's commitment to providing a safe and effective learning environment
Internet connectivity: According to Article 7 of the 2014 Regulation of Internet Development and Internet Services (amended in 2020) , the government's policy regarding the provision of Internet services includes several key areas. Firstly, it aims to ensure universal and equal access to internet connection services by establishing and maintaining the necessary infrastructure in both state and non-state entities connected to internet networks, including the provision of computer equipment. Secondly, the policy focuses on providing benefits for internet services to social security groups within the population. Lastly, there is an emphasis on developing the infrastructure of internet connection services in remote rural areas of Turkmenistan. Article 13 also states that “access to the Internet is mandatory for scientific and cultural institutions, including scientific institutions of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan and higher education institutions, educational institutions of all types, libraries, museums and archives”.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
In 2017, Turkmenistan adopted the Concept for the Development of a Digital Education System, which includes the development of e-learning methods.
Article 7 of the 2014 Regulation of Internet Development and Internet Services (amended in 2020) focuses on creating favorable conditions for the development of distance learning methods, with an emphasis on disseminating essential knowledge and skills required to access Internet services.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkmenistan has taken measures to protect its population and address the impact on children and education. UNICEF has collaborated with the government to implement “two national plans addressing the impact of the pandemic, the Country Preparedness and Response Plan and the Socio-Economic Response Plan developed to ensure that the needs of children and their families are addressed during these unprecedented times”. This includes expanding risk communication and community engagement through television, radio, and digital channels to provide prevention messages and accurate information. UNICEF also supported the Ministry of Health in procuring vaccines and medical supplies, while assisting the Ministry of Education in introducing digital and distance education. Efforts were made to ensure the quality and resilience of the education system and to address the socio-economic impact on vulnerable families. UNICEF's interventions focused on risk communication, providing information and procurement services, supporting safe school protocols, and developing community-based social services.
Article 7 of the 2014 Regulation of Internet Development and Internet Services (amended in 2020) states that it aims to incorporate fundamental knowledge and skills necessary for obtaining Internet services into the standards of secondary education. These initiatives aim to promote digital literacy and ensure that individuals have the necessary competencies to utilize Internet services effectively.
No information has been found on digital skills for teachers and training on technologies.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2017 Information on Private Life and its Protection Law No. 519-V establishes the rights of individuals in relation to their personal data, the responsibilities of organizations collecting and handling such data, limitations on transferring data, and general guidelines for collecting and handling personal information.
Article 28 of the 2014 Legal Regulation of Internet Development and Internet Services (amended in 2020) outlines restrictions on children's access to information products distributed through the Internet. It states that educational institutions and organizations providing Internet access services can ensure children's information security by using appropriate hardware, software, and technical means. Additionally, these organizations have the right to employ measures, allowed by Turkmenistan's legislation, to verify the age of individuals accessing their services.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The 2014 Legal Regulation of Internet Development and Internet Services (amended in 2020) states that prohibited information for distribution to children encompasses content that incites actions endangering their life or health, such as self-harm or suicide. It also includes material that promotes the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or other harmful substances among children. Furthermore, it encompasses content that justifies the use of force or violence against people or animals, undermines family values, fosters disrespect towards parents or family members, excuses illegal conduct, contains offensive language, or features pornographic material (art.28). It also outlines the responsibility of internet users as they are required to refrain from transmitting or sharing information that is classified or restricted according to Turkmenistan's legislation. Additionally, internet users bear responsibility for not causing harm, both morally and financially, to individuals, legal entities, and the state. By adhering to these responsibilities, internet users contribute to maintaining a safe and lawful online environment (art.30).
The Department of Digital Systems and Information Security, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan, is responsible for the development of the digital education system. Its main tasks include implementing policies for high-quality digital education, developing the digital education system, promoting the digital economy and cybersecurity, providing digital services to the population, and introducing and improving digital technologies in the education system. Its main functions include coordinating the work of educational institutions, promoting the use of digital educational technologies, contributing to the availability of electronic educational resources and services, promoting teacher professional development, coordinating digital educational services, promoting digital literacy, implementing cybersecurity policies, developing and implementing software for the digital education system, monitoring compliance with legislation, and participating in international negotiations on digital education.
No specific national regulations regarding the involvement of schools in technology integration, including the use of mobile devices, have been found.