Bishkek, July 12, Interfax - The future of Kyrgyzstan will rest upon education rather than "alien religious values," Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said.
"I am happy that one of the tasks I have set for myself is being achieved. I was dreaming of a higher prestige of teachers and their worthy salaries. Although we have built no new enterprises in the past five to six years, an average teacher's salary has grown fourfold," Atambayev said at a state award ceremony on Wednesday.
"We have achieved a situation in which 24% of the national budget goes to education. No one else in the world can boast that. The indicator varies from 3% to 4%, maximally 6%, in other countries. I think this is right because people are our biggest treasure and our future lies with an educated country," the president said.
"Stop hurting your head while praying. You should focus on education instead. In that case you will no longer confuse religion with Arab culture. The Almightily is neither an Arab nor a Kyrgyz, this is universal conscience and energy," he said.
"You should not confuse rules with the culture the Arabs have had for a thousand years. I believe that our culture is much more ancient," Atambayev said.
The course towards high quality and better conditions of education would continue after the end of his presidential term, he added. "Kyrgyzstan is posting the highest economic growth on the post-Soviet space. I believe that our economy will begin to enhance 18 or 24 months from now, and we will be able to raise pensions and salaries of teachers," he said.
The president decorated teachers, doctors, artists, and a number of officials and heads of local administrations on Wednesday.