Analysis
23 june 2016

The price of celebrating independence in Uzbekistan’s schools

The education department in Uzbekistan is forcing schools and kindergartens to sell banners which have been printed to mark independence day.

The heads of educational establishments in the Fergana Region are obliged to buy two banners with the slogan “You are beautiful and unique my sacred Motherland, I sacrifice myself to you, my Uzbekistan”. The banners cost 90,000 som each, the equivalent of $18.

A presidential decree issued on 2 June this year “On preparations of the 25th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan” declared that this slogan would be the main message of the celebrations.

The head of a school from Rishtan District, who has requested anonymity, has told Eltuz.com that “the heads of the district education department might be profiting from a deal with a publishing house”.

According to him, there are 64 schools in the district. In addition, there are establishments like kindergartens, music, arts and sports schools, the children’s “Barkamol avlod” [perfect generation] centre which are run by the district education department.

“Each of them have to buy two of these banners and they are to be hung in the most visible place of these establishments,” said the director.

According to him, the heads of the district education department are very keen to sell these banners, otherwise they wouldn’t have forced every director of every school to buy two of them.

When we contacted the heads of the district education department, they confirmed that these banners were indeed being sold. However, they also said that they were carrying out orders “from the top”.

This is only one example of how money is being collected from schools and kindergartens in Uzbekistan. Up until now they have been raising funds for the refurbishment of their schools by collecting scrap metal and paper for recycling or for unnecessary “inspections” by officials in exchange for not having to harvest cotton or silkworms. On the eve of the independence holiday, Uzbekistan’s schools are now paying for slogans.

 

Artist: Elsevar

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