• KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 68

Higher Education in Central Asia: Leaders and Outsiders

In June, it will be three years since the signing of a declaration at a forum held in the city of Turkestan between the heads of the Ministries of Education of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. According to the document, the Central Asian states agreed to expand cooperation and unite the scientific, intellectual, and creative potential of higher education institutions throughout the region. However, only Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have made progress in terms of synergy during this time. The reason for this is the serious gaps between the Central Asian states in the level of provision of higher education for their citizens.   The pace of reform In the 1990s, the reform of education in Central Asia occurred at different rates. Although the Central Asian republics had similar problems at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, they began to address them depending on the degree of influence of global trends. For example, Kazakhstan signed the Bologna Declaration and joined the European Higher Education Area in 2010, while Turkmenistan switched to two-stage higher education under the "Bachelor's - Master's" system only in 2013. Some started organizing English-language curricula at their universities as soon as the early 1990s, such as Kazakhstan's KIMEP University or the University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan, on the other hand, only came around to the idea of the need for English-language education in the noughties. In the 2000s, universities established jointly with foreign partners, such as the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University and the Kazakh-British Technical University, began to open in the region. Uzbekistan was again somewhat late to the trend, first opening the International Westminster University (a branch of the University of London) and a branch of Turin Polytechnic University. In 2014, the first university established jointly with foreign partners from South Korea - Inha University, specializing in the training of IT specialists - appeared. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan are currently implementing reforms in the recognition of diplomas and attracting foreign employees and students, while Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are experiencing problems of a different nature related to low levels of enrollment in higher education.   Kazakhstan Kazakhstan has been the most successful nation in reforming higher education. Degrees have been reduced to four years, and the Unified National Testing (UNT) and credit system of education appeared, creating favorable conditions for accession to the Bologna Process in 2010. By 2016, almost every second Kazakhstani was studying at a higher education institution. Now, Kazakhstan has more than 120 universities. There are more than 600,000 students, and about 40% of Kazakhstanis are certified specialists. Kazakhstan's supremacy in this arena is confirmed by international rankings. For example, the international organization, Times Higher Education included four Kazakhstani universities in its rating for 2024: the Eurasian National University named after L.N. Gumilev; Satpayev University; the Kazakh National University named after Al-Farabi; Nazarbayev University (NU). Participating in these rankings for the first time, the latter was recognized as the best in Central Asia. NU is the first university of its...

Arrest Made in Connection with Bishkek Unrest

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kyrgyzstan has announced the detention and opening of a criminal case against a man suspected of beating foreigners during unrest which occurred on the night of May 18, leaving 41 people hospitalized. The suspect also allegedly transported people to places where foreigners lived during the events which transpired in the Kyrgyz capital. On May 18, 2024, a video showing the beating of foreign citizens began circulating on social media. The footage revealed an unidentified man of Asian descent, approximately 20-25 years old, wearing a beige hooded sweater, striking victims with his hands and feet on their faces and other body parts. The incident took place after four individuals broke into a house near the Dordoi Market. The accused assailant was identified on surveillance cameras located in the vicinity. “Four attackers arrived in a dark-colored Mercedes-Benz Sprinter on May 18 at 04:00 am.,” the Ministry’s statement reads. Investigations revealed that it is “registered to a resident of the Issyk-Kul region. The driver of the said car was Zhekshenbekov Azat, born in 1999, a native of the Issyk-Kul region, living in Bishkek, and an employee of a furniture workshop. The detainee was placed in the temporary detention center of the Bishkek City Internal Affairs Directorate.” The investigation is ongoing, with the authorities seeking to identify and apprehend the others involved. On Monday, President Japarov promised swift action should the events be repeated, sating that “Anyone, whether he is our citizen or a foreign citizen, who threatens the integrity of our state, organizes chaos, will be punished mercilessly.”

Kyrgyzstan’s President Warns of Swift Crackdown If Unrest Flares Again

President Sadyr Japarov of Kyrgyzstan on Monday has addressed the nation about recent unrest and anti-foreigner sentiment, saying “our hot-blooded youth” were led astray by inflammatory internet posts and warning of a crackdown if it happens again. Japarov spoke after a week of tension in Bishkek that began with a fight between local and foreign people at a hostel on May 13 and culminated with large crowds of angry Kyrgyz youths roaming intersections on the night of May 17-18. There were scattered attacks on foreigners, whose population includes students and workers from Egypt, Pakistan and other countries. Some people were hospitalized. Riot police were on standby as officials negotiated with the crowds and persuaded them to disperse peacefully. “Now, if such an event happens again, then the law enforcement agencies will switch to the method of dispersal by force from the first minutes. Thank God, now the power structures are not as weak as they used to be,” Japarov said. “Anyone, whether he is our citizen or a foreign citizen, who threatens the integrity of our state, organizes chaos, will be punished mercilessly.” Japarov said the demands of Kyrgyz youth for tough action against illegal migration were “certainly correct” and that the government had taken steps to address the problem. But he chastised those who were “led by the temptations of provocateurs” seeking to spread chaos. The president referred to “bloggers” trying to foment a “large-scale uprising in the crowd,” though he did not offer more details on the alleged agitators. Kyrgyzstan has experienced periodic unrest on a much bigger scale over the years, and three presidents have been ousted by uprisings since 2005. Japarov, who had been in exile and in prison, came to power in 2021 after being freed by supporters whose protests against a disputed election toppled the previous government. The Central Asian country had been known for a lively media scene and other relative freedoms in a region with authoritarian traditions. Japarov has rolled back some of those rights, tightening control over foreign funded non-governmental organizations despite international concerns and increasing pressure on some media critical of the government. Japarov said law enforcement officials arrested “the perpetrators” of the May 13 brawl and appealed to the country to consider the damage that the unrest of the last week can do to tourism and the economy, as well as the nation’s interaction with the world. He noted that more than one million Kyrgyz citizens live abroad (the total population is about seven million), and that the number of working migrants in Kyrgyzstan is 5,322 people and foreign students number 42,620. “We should be happy about that,” he said.

Tension Spills Into Streets of Bishkek After Fight Involving Foreigners

Police in riot gear deployed in part of Kyrgyzstan’s capital overnight as large crowds gathered in anger over an alleged fight between local and foreign people which was widely circulated on social media. The Kyrgyz government later reported that 28 people, including three foreigners had been injured in the incident, whilst four foreign citizens were arrested for incitement. The crowds milled around some intersections of Bishkek for hours before dispersing early Saturday, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs said the situation was stable. Riot police cordoned off areas where the mobs had gathered and negotiated with the protesters in order to head off any further confrontations. The incident appeared to reflect tension over the presence in Kyrgyzstan of migrants. Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs is taking steps to tighten monitoring and penalties for foreigners who violate immigration laws, Kaktus Media reported. The fight which led to the wider conflagration happened at a hostel on May 13. Rumors spread on social media, and a video showing Kyrgyz students fighting with medical students from Egypt went viral. People started gathering on Friday night to show their dissatisfaction with what they said was the lax treatment of foreigners involved in the fight. However, police said three foreigners were detained on suspicion of hooliganism, the AKIpress news outlet reported. It said the suspects appeared in a video, apologizing for the fight and saying they would accept their punishment. “All measures were taken in a timely manner, they were detained, legal measures will be taken against them,” said Azamat Toktonaliev, head of Bishkek´s Internal Affairs Directorate. He told AKIpress that Kyrgyz citizens were invited to testify as witnesses and were not detained. Kyrgyzstan has expressed concern about the plight of some of its own citizens who travel to Russia in search of employment and have faced official scrutiny and sporadic harassment there. In the wake of the violence, diplomatic delegations from Pakistan and India have advised their students in Bishkek to stay indoors.

Bishkek Bets on Bikes and Buses

To alleviate congestion and traffic bottlenecks in the capital, the Bishkek Mayor's Office has green-lit a strategic plan for enhancing the city's road transport infrastructure over the 2024-2030 period. This initiative, as detailed on the municipal website, encompasses an ambitious range of projects. Highlights include the construction of bridges and new road junctions, the introduction of bike lanes within the road network, the consolidation of dedicated lanes into a coherent system, the expansion of parking facilities including an increase in bicycle parking spaces, and the establishment of transport hubs and park-and-ride lots. The vision driving these efforts is to significantly reduce car dependency in Bishkek, promoting instead a robust network of public and bicycle transport options. Plans are underway to construct seven park-and-ride facilities around the city’s perimeter, encouraging commuters to opt for public transport upon entering Bishkek. City officials have consistently advocated for strategies to lower rampant smog levels and congestion, including proposals to limit private car access into the city based on a vehicle's license plate number. Furthermore, the Mayor's Office announced plans to establish at least two advanced transport and transfer hubs at key entry points into Bishkek. These hubs will serve as critical junctions for intercity and regional bus routes, facilitating seamless connections with the city's public transport system. By 2030, these initiatives aim to achieve a 20% reduction in car usage within the city and cut congestion by 30%.

Kyrgyz Writer Oljobai Shakir Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

On 14 May, the Alameda District Court of the Chui Oblast in Kyrgyzstan sentenced 52-year-old activist and writer Oljobai Shakir to five years imprisonment for inciting mass riots on social media against the government. At the previous hearing, Shakir a frequent and popular blogger, pleaded not guilty to the charges of slander and argued that the aim of his posts was to encourage open dialogue  between the country's leadership and its people on how the government is run. During the trial, the writer's lawyer, Akmat Alagushev, demanded the acquittal of his client and announced his intention to appeal. Olzhobai Shakir has been held in the pre-trial detention center of the SCNS since August 2023 on account of the “provocative nature” of material he posted on Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. Throughout his incarceration, the writer has denied the validity of the criminal charges against him. Renowned for his critical statements against the authorities, Shakir was arrested shortly after he had publicly scrutinized the government’s controversial transfer of four hotels on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul to Uzbekistan. In a period when the government is increasingly clamping down on political opposition through social media, neither President Sadyr Japarov nor GKNB head Kamchybek Tashiev accepted Shakir’s invitation to be interviewed on the issue. Shakir is a well-established author and supporter of contemporary Kyrgyz literature, but like his activities on social media, his own work at times has proved highly controversial. Published in 2021 in a country where open discussion of LGBT+ rights is still taboo, his novel “Adam+” caused public outcry by relating the emotional challenges he faced during his daughter’s transgender transition.

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