Friday, February 17, 2012 -
Schools teaching in the Uzbek and Tajik languages in southern Kyrgyzstan should be shuttered, a Kyrgyz MP said on Friday.
There is a large Tajik population in the southern Batken province, while a large Uzbek diaspora resides in the southern provinces of Osh and Jalalabad.
Ethnic relations in these regions have been shaky. Last month, a brawl between ethnic Kyrgyz and Tajiks broke out in Batken, in an incident that forced the central Kyrgyz government to replace the provincial governor.
In Osh and Jalalabad, ethnic disturbances in 2010 led to days of rioting and arson, which resulted in the deaths of over 400 and the flight of tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks.
Cholpon Sultanbekova, a member of the pro-business Respublika party, made the statement in a party meeting.
“Children in Batken province are taught by Tajik textbooks, while children in some schools of Osh province are taught in Uzbek by Uzbek textbooks,” the Bishkek-based 24.kg news agency reported her as saying.
“It is necessary to create a commission. The ministry of education has to take a stand...Why do we need to maintain those schools which propagate culture and ideology of other countries? The children of those schools don’t even know who the president of Kyrgyzstan is, but they know the heads of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan,” she added.
Deputy Education Minister Mukhtar Orozbekov said that 65 percent of textbooks are printed in the Kyrgyz language.
“It’s true there are schools teaching in Uzbek or Tajik. It is necessary to translate Kyrgyz textbooks into Tajik and Uzbek,” he said.
On Thursday, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev gave a speech at Osh State University and said that nationalism presented a serious challenge to the security of the country.
He urged students at the university to overcome nationalistic attitudes and work towards strengthening Kyrgyz society.