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Turkmenistan Restricts School, University Teachers And Students

Turkmen students have to be in bed by 11 p.m.
Turkmen students have to be in bed by 11 p.m.
ASHGABAT -- Turkmen authorities have tightened their control over Turkmenistan's secondary schools and universities in the past week, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Secondary school teachers are now required to be at work from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. each school day regardless of their class hours.

University students are not to leave the university premises before 6 p.m. Those who live in dormitories must be in bed before 11 p.m. and are not permitted to do their homework after that time.

No reason for the new measures was given. It is unclear whether they are political, possibly in response to the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, or intended to prevent the repetition of a violent incident earlier this month at the Ashgabat Polytechnical Institute.

A female student from the institute was killed and a second injured after a party involving three male and three female students.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov sacked the deputy prime minister responsible for science and education along with several senior members of the institute's staff after the incident.

Meanwhile, two pop singers, one of whom is a university student, were arrested after their Western-style video was played on the Turkish music TV channel TBM.

Maksat Kakabaev and Murat Owezov were first summoned by the Culture and Broadcasting Ministry and warned not to appear again in foreign media.

But they were later detained by national security officials. It is not clear what charges, if any, have been brought against them.

Kakabaev is in the Yashlyk detention center, 40 kilometers east of Ashgabat. He has reportedly been beaten. Owezov has been exiled to the Hanghouz district of Mary Province.

Students at Turkmen colleges and universities are not allowed to appear in foreign media, leave the country on vacation, drive a car, or use mobile phones on university premises.