Religious zest interferes with education
Jangi Asr or New Age, Uzbek society in the city of Jalalabad in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan, appeals to imam of the city mosques to try and impart to the youth importance of secular education.
"Explain to the faithful that religious education cannot be complete without secular sciences. Explain to the parents the necessity of attending schools and assisting them, morally and materially," the letter to imams dated March 15 stated.
Norali Iskandarov, principal of a local Uzbek school, claims that very many students are encouraged by their parents to drop out nowadays. They prefer going to mosques and hujras (cells for prayer) where only limited religious education is available. Boys miss their classes to attend the Friday namaz rites.
The matter has been discussed at various level for some time already - with nothing to show for it, Uzbek society activists say. By official estimates, mosques in the region already outnumber schools.