“There’s cotton – always has been, always will be!” Teachers Told As They Still Have to Pay for Harvest

School administrations in the eastern city of Turkmenabat are continuing to collect money from teachers in order to pay cotton pickers, even though there has hardly been any cotton left in the fields since the end of October. The teachers give 15 manats three times a week.

From turkmen.news archives

An increasing number of teachers are refusing to pay the money. They think it is being pocketed and no one is going to the cotton fields any more. In response to their staff, one school administration quotes education department officials: “There’s cotton – always has been, always will be!”

The teachers complain that their salary disappears in no time, because as well as cotton they have to fork out for newspaper and magazine subscriptions – 2.8 manats multiplied by each teacher’s number of hours. If teachers have one position (24 hours of teaching), they pay more than 67 manats ($3.6); for one and a half positions, almost 101 manats ($5.5). Every six months the education department and local administration set a financial plan for subscriptions for every school.

There’s no need to choose the newspapers and magazines – they are all publications concerning education and culture, and everything else besides.

“None of us read these newspapers. They’re all the same: for example, a report of the latest government meeting or texts of congratulations to the president on one occasion or another – we can find everything out in just one newspaper or hear it all on television,” one schoolteacher said.

Previously turkmen.news published the results of monitoring of the 2019 cotton campaign. In at least two regions of the country – Ahal and Mary – the cotton didn’t ripen properly. The farmers’ associations are fined for the cotton they do not produce, so many are refusing to lease land. The government media, however, reported that Ahal region had fully met its state commitments. This region is led by the president’s son, Serdar Berdimuhamedov.