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Kyrgyz teacher ends up in Madagascar and changes his mind about education system

A Kyrgyzstani Zaiyrbek Suyunbek uulu has moved to Madagascar a year ago and got a job at a secondary school as an English teacher. The man admits that at the age of 29 he chose exactly this country. According to him, the Africans, despite poverty and difficulties in the educational system, strive to acquire knowledge.

Zaiyrbek Suyunbek uulu told 24.kg news agency about the life of the only Kyrgyz teacher in this country.

— Zaiyrbek, how did you ended up in Madagascar?

— I am from Zhumgal district. In Kyrgyzstan, I worked as a teacher at Sapat schools. I have long wanted to live abroad, gain knowledge, because I believe that a person should constantly develop and strive to gain new experience.

Our educational institution helped me to implement these plans, which often practices exchange of experience among teachers. When an offer was received from Madagascar, I immediately agreed. It was a good chance for new discoveries for me, which is important for a teacher.

— What difficulties did you encounter at first? What can’t you get used to?

— At first, we could not get used to the local currency. One som is equal to 49 Malagasy ariary.

They have very narrow sidewalks, few parks and public gardens where you could walk.

People in Kyrgyzstan are used to walking freely, but here it seems that our movements are restricted all the time.

Aside from the homesickness, we got used to the country quickly. The climate here is pleasant: it is neither hot nor cold. My family is delighted with exotic fruits that we have not seen before. Moreover, they grow here all year round.

The local population is very simple, patient and very respectful towards foreigners.

— You work at a private school in Madagascar. How do you assess the country’s education system, the level of literacy and the attitude of the local population to learning?

— Public schools are in a deplorable state and there are very few of them. The government does not fund them well. People are forced to pay for education. Free schools are funded by international organizations or by churches.

There are no schools at all in some villages, students are forced to cover kilometers every day, carrying their bags to the nearest educational institution.

Seeing this, you understand that although we criticize the authorities, we still have free high-quality education in Kyrgyzstan.

— Does the standard of living of the population allow local residents to attend private schools?

— They live very poorly. The main income in the villages comes from agriculture. Regions are still not supplied with electricity. Only the urban population is provided with it.

The standard of living is very low, and everything is expensive here: gas, electricity, water, the Internet, medicine. Despite this, the population strives to gain knowledge. There are parents who spend all their earnings on education of children.

There are many private schools, and education is not cheap. The children of the wealthy people attend English and French schools.

I would like to note that foreign teachers are highly appreciated and trusted here like in Kyrgyzstan.

— What language do people mainly speak?

— Earlier Madagascar was a colony of France, therefore the main language is French along with the native — Malagasy. But compared to the Kyrgyzstanis, many people speak English well.

— How long do you plan to work on the island?

— I will work here until my children go to school. After that, I want to leave for another country, if there is an opportunity to get acquainted with the educational system of other countries.

— What are your plans for the future?

— I plan to get another profession. I want to simultaneously master something new for myself.

— What do you miss abroad?

— There are very few Kyrgyz people in Madagascar for communication. We miss our relatives, family gatherings. This year we were unable to travel to Kyrgyzstan due to the pandemic.

— What is the situation with the coronavirus on the island?

— The peak of the spread of the virus was in August. About one thousand people died. The quarantine measures have already been lifted.