• KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09394 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09394 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09394 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09394 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09394 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09394 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09394 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09394 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 9

Rise in Kyrgyzstan’s Foster Families

At the beginning of July, records showed that 218 children without parental care were being raised by 110 foster families in Kyrgyzstan; an increase of 29% compared to the previous year. Active in promoting fostering as a far better alternative to orphanages , the Kyrgyz Ministry of Labor reports, "A foster or adoptive family is a trained family that provides upbringing for children in difficult life situations for a certain period of time, based on a contract with the state. Citizens between the ages of 30 to 65 are eligible to apply to become foster parents and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their charges, receive specialist training as well as monthly checks by social service employees.  Contracted by the state, they also receive an allowance of $80 a month until the orphans come of age. According to the Ministry of Social Services, "If applicants have one or two children, they can only foster three. If foster parents have no children of their own, they can raise up to five toddlers or teenagers from three to 16 years of age." Beneficial on many levels, fostering provides children with both a secure base and opportunities to master a trade, work in agriculture or follow a profession, to enable them to lead independent lives as adults.    

Saudi Islamic Development Bank Increasing Its Presence in Central Asia

The Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has been particularly active in Central Asia so far in 2024. The growing IDB role is part of Central Asian region’s foreign policy shift toward the Arab world as financial backers to replace Russia, which is devoting huge attention and resources to its war in Ukraine, and China, which is increasingly reluctant to spend large sums of money in Central Asia after pouring in tens of billions of dollars there during the last 25 years. Some of the Central Asian governments owe China substantial amounts of money that they are unlikely to be able to pay for possibly decades. The Central Asian states have been members of the IDB for many years. Kyrgyzstan was first, joining in 1993, followed by Turkmenistan in 1994, Kazakhstan in 1995, Tajikistan in 1996, and Uzbekistan in 2003. One of the IDB’s three regional offices is in Almaty, Kazakhstan (the other two are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Rabat, Morocco).  The IDB has been dealing individually with the five Central Asian countries on a wide range of projects and programs in recent months. Energy Resources In February, Tajik Minister of Economic Development and Trade Zavqi Zavqizoda announced a deal was reached for the IDB to provide $250 million to Tajikistan. Zavqizoda said $150 million of that would go toward construction of the Rogun hydropower plant (HPP).  The Rogun HPP was a Soviet-era project. Construction started in 1976 but was discontinued shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed. Tajikistan restarted work on the HPP in 2008. Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has repeatedly said that building the HPP with a planned 3600 MW capacity will make the country energy independent and even allow Tajikistan to bring in extra revenue exporting electricity to neighboring countries.  In its 28 years as an IDB member, Tajikistan had received some $620 million from the IDB, so the $250 million announced in February 2024 represents a significant jump in IDB financial help. Not surprisingly, when IDB President Muhammad Al-Jasser visited Kyrgyzstan in June, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov sought IDB investment in the Kambar-Ata-1 HPP, another decades-old project with a multi-billion-dollar price tag that has barely made any progress in being realized during the 33 years Kyrgyzstan has been independent. Al-Jasser did not commit to IDB financing for the Kyrgyz HPP. However, less than a week after Al-Jasser was in Kyrgyzstan, the IDB was one of several international financial organizations that signed on at a conference in Vienna to be a members of a coordination donors’ committee for the Kambar-Ata-1 projects. At a meeting in Istanbul in February, the IDB reaffirmed its support for the Central Asia-South Asia-1000 (CASA-1000) project that aims to export electricity from HPPs in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kyrgyz Energy Minister Taalaybek Ibrayev met with Al-Jasser in June during the latter’s visit to Kyrgyzstan to discuss funding for Kyrgyzstan’s section of CASA-1000. Not Only Energy In June, the IDB pledged up to $2 billion in funding for improvements to water management...

Stay or Go? Uzbek Students Ponder Studies at Home, Abroad

Like many Uzbek students, Nigina Poziljonova left Uzbekistan to study at a university abroad. She doesn’t regret her decision. “Unlike the teachers I personally saw in Uzbekistan, professors are happy when students say, ‘I don’t understand, please explain again,’” said Poziljonova, who is studying for a bachelor’s degree in business economics with data science at the University of Cassino in Italy. “If necessary, they are willing to spend two hours after class for that student. If I fail one exam, I can take it 5 times a year for 3 years for free,” said the Uzbek student, who nevertheless describes her Italian experience as “more challenging than I anticipated.” --- The perceived shortcomings of higher education have long been a preoccupation in Uzbekistan, which has a large population of young people and is the most populous country – with about 35 million citizens – in Central Asia. Authorities are trying to fix the problem. Last month, Minister of Higher Education Kongratbay Sharipov said 20 underperforming universities will be closed because only 5-10% of their graduates are employed. Uzbekistan has more than 200 universities - 114 are state-run, 65 are private and 30 are foreign university branches, according to 2023 data. Uzbekistan had the fifth largest number of “tertiary” students (students who have completed secondary school) studying abroad – 109,945 – among countries around the world that were surveyed, according to UNESCO data in 2021. Around that time, more than 570,000 students were studying in higher education institutions in Uzbekistan. As in many countries, a lot of Uzbek students believe a quality education lies abroad and their increasing command of English and openness to the world can bring that goal within reach. Additionally, Uzbekistan’s El-Yurt Umidi foundation, a state agency launched in 2018, covers tuition fees and living expenses of talented people who want to study abroad. The foundation signs a contract with scholarship holders that requires them to return to Uzbekistan and work for three years. Many students study at universities in neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and then, after one or two years, transfer to universities in Uzbekistan. According to Kyrgyz data, some 38,857 Uzbek students studied in higher education institutions in Kyrgyzstan in 2022 and the figure reached 40,282 in 2023. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a meeting in May at which officials discussed the 306 majors available at the bachelor’s level in Uzbekistan, and the 625 specialties at the master’s level. They acknowledged that some don’t meet international standards and labor market requirements and explored ways to revise them. Opening new courses in areas of high demand was also discussed. Another problem in Uzbek universities is an excessive focus on specializations. At one journalism university, specialists taught multiple sub-topics, including TV, international news, public relations, the internet, as well as military, travel, art, economic and sports journalism. Progress has been made. More people have access to higher education. Starting this year, state grants are given for one year, and in the remaining years of...

Large Bribes Being Extorted from Graduates of Foreign Universities in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan citizens graduating from foreign universities, are currently required to undergo a complex process to have their  diplomas recognized in their home country. A source in the Main Department of Education of Lebap told Radio Azatlyk that Turkmenistan citizens graduating  from pedagogical universities in CIS countries are obliged to enrol in a month-long advanced training course at the Pedagogical Institute in Turkmenabad to nostrify (recognize university qualifications) their diplomas and moreover, provide 17 references. According to graduates, the process also involves the extortion of bribes. Hakberdi, a Russian language teacher from Turkmenabad who underwent the diploma recognition process about five years ago, explained that the size of the bribe depends on the influential status of whoever is engaged to help. "From 2018 to 2019, the bribe could reach 10-15 thousand dollars. If you have an acquaintance in the ministry, the bribe will be smaller, but can rise if intermediaries are involved." In addition, when attempting to get their diplomas recognized, graduates can fall prey to fraudsters who promising help, take their money and disappear. In parallel with the season of diploma nostrification, the process of submitting documents and sitting exams for admission to foreign universities continues. Exams are taken online and because of internet issues, this can create new problems. "Since the speed of the Wi-Fi signal at home is inadequate," reported a resident of Dianev, "applicants from across the districts gather at the Turkmentelecom internet cafe in Turkmenabad but there are not enough computers and often queues from 6 a.m."

UNDP Launches Course on Gender Issues in Turkmenistan

Turkmenportal has reported that the United Nations Development Programme is launching a specialized online course on gender issues for Turkmenistan's civil servants. The course will cover topics such as basic gender definitions, international standards, gender in public policy, gender analysis tools, local gender stereotypes, strategies for achieving gender equality, national frameworks, the prevention of gender-based violence, and engaging men in efforts to promote gender equality. Training will be offered in English, Russian, and Turkmen, and will include texts, quizzes, presentations, and other content to aimed at providing the necessary knowledge and skills to promote gender equality in the workplace. The course is expected to provide civil servants with a comprehensive understanding of gender equality concepts and international standards, enhance their ability to integrate gender aspects into public policy, and enable them to actively promote gender-responsible governance. As Tomica Paovic, the UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan, noted, mainstreaming gender issues and awareness into civil servants' work is crucial to promoting equality, enhancing policy effectiveness, and ensuring sustainable development. "We are confident that this important initiative, supported by the UNDP's partner, the Government of Canada, will strengthen the country's capacity for gender equality and women's empowerment, in line with the National Action Plans on Human Rights and Gender Equality in Turkmenistan," Paovic stated.

Uzbekistan: Deaf Photographers Document the World Around Them

By Sadokat Jalolova The assignment for the Uzbek deaf photographers’ workshop: cover a game of kupkari, in which horse-riders jostle for a goat carcass and hustle it to a goal amid shouting, shoving and swirling dust. It didn’t go well for student Murod Yusupov, who arrived late at the event in Piskent, in the Tashkent region, and then struggled to orient himself in the boisterous crowds watching the maelstrom on the field. [caption id="attachment_19449" align="aligncenter" width="599"] Crowds watch a game of kupkari, a traditional sport in Uzbekistan (Photo: Khuvaido Fatihojayeva)[/caption] “Unfortunately, I was a little late, and I had to stay among the fans. Communication with the teacher and participants was almost non-existent. But it was a big problem to take pictures there, there were too many people who came to watch the kupkari, I didn’t have enough experience to find a convenient place and opportunity to take pictures,” Yusupov said through a sign language interpreter in an interview with The Times of Central Asia. He learned from the experience, though. With the help of workshop director Husniddin Ato, 21-year-old Yusupov got accredited for the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent in February and delivered strong images. Best of all, he enjoyed the assignment. [caption id="attachment_19450" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Uzbek athlete performs during the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent in February. (Photo: Murod Yusupov)[/caption] --- One recent evening, at the Bon Cafe in Tashkent, Ato, Yusupov and several other participants in the “Deaf Photographers” workshop talked about their experiences and hopes to a correspondent from The Times of Central Asia. Ma’mur Akhlidinov, a sign language teacher at the University of Uzbek Language and Literature who is also deaf, helped to interpret. Cups of sea buckthorn tea were served during a conversation lasting two and a half hours. The deaf photographers were upbeat, often smiling, communicating with each other through hand gestures and showing photos on their phones to each other. --- A decade ago, Ato, a professional photographer, wanted to report on deaf people. Then he decided to let deaf people show in pictures how they feel about the world. While in quarantine during the pandemic, he consulted Akhlidinov, a member of the Deaf Society of Uzbekistan. For many years, Akhlidinov worked as a designer in the editorial office of Ma’rifat, an Uzbek publication, and as the editor-in-chief of the MediaPlus project. Akhlidinov was surprised by the fact that there wasn’t a single internet resource about deaf people and their rights in Uzbekistan. In 2017, he launched a blog for deaf people, their parents and educators. Akhlidinov supported Ato’s proposal for an initial three-month course. and announced the project on the Deaf Society blog, which has more than 1,000 subscribers. An age requirement (18-25) was set for the participants. Nine people signed up. In the fall of 2021, the teaching started. It was slow going at first because of scheduling conflicts and other obstacles. “Later, their interest and enthusiasm wasn’t always there, they didn’t complete their assignments on time, and I had...