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Kyrgyzstan: Uzbek-Language Schools Disappearing

Children sing in a Kyrgyz-language kindergarten in Barskoon, located on Kyrgyzstan’s Lake Issyk-Kul, in February 2013. Most schools teach in Kyrgyz or Russian, while Uzbek-language schools are becoming fewer, dropping from 141 Uzbek schools in 2002 to 91 schools in 2012. (Photo: David Trilling)

Among the numerous recent hardships endured by Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, the closure of Uzbek-language schools ranks among the most discouraging.

Uzbek schools were already starved of funding before the outbreak of inter-ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010, during which Uzbeks suffered disproportionately. But the closure rate has accelerated over the past two-plus years.

“A human should be educated in his or her native language, and then in other languages. Every year the number of Uzbek schools is decreasing,” said Izatilla Rahmatillaev, the head of Law & Order, a legal-support non-governmental organization (NGO) in Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s southern capital. “Today, constitutional norms in relation to the Uzbek minority are not respected.”

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Kyrgyzstan: Uzbek-Language Schools Disappearing

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