How to become the student in Uzbekistan or "the price" of admission
On August 1 Uzbekistan held entrance exams to higher education institutions. The Expert working group (the association of independent experts in Uzbekistan) produced the report, dedicated to bribery in the universities of Uzbekistan. Below we present the main points of this newsy analytical article.
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The national education system in Uzbekistan consists of the following phases: pre-school education, general secondary education, vocational secondary education, higher education and post-graduate education.
Every phase is regulated by the Law On education, National program of human resource preparation of the Republic of Uzbekistan and internal norms and charters of educational institutions.
Obviously, today, most of young people are interested in gaining higher education. At the same time, they are well aware that in real life often times the certificate of graduation prevails over intellectual potential.
Today, there are 63 higher education institutions in Uzbekistan, enrolling over 55 thousand students. Since 1994 the admission to universities is based on testing system; if the student scores certain number of points, he is accepted to school. The test questions are prepared in advance and classified by the subjects of entrance exams. State testing center (STC) is the body, in charge of preparation of questions, organization of admission exams, announcement of results and etc. The student quota to each school is defined by state admission committee by recommendation of Ministry of Economy, State committee for statistics, other ministries and governmental bodies.
The test questions are based on educational programs of secondary schools, academic lyceums and professional colleges. Each subject of admission exam may have 36 questions. Depending on total number of exam subjects the authorities schedule time for exam: for instance if there are 72 questions (36 per subject) the applicants are given 2 hours.
Depending on chosen major, the applicants in Uzbekistan must pass the exams on the following subjects:
* Native language and literature: depending on ethnic identity and basic education this may be Uzbek, Russian or Karakalpak language and literature.
* Foreign language: English, German or French depending on background of the applicant.
However, education as well as many other areas is exposed to bribery. The problem is deteriorated by current administrative and command management style in education area that makes many young people believe that the probability of independent admission is very low.
The college admission system in Uzbekistan meets all "market" rules, involving basic "intermediaries" to high ranking officials. There are various scheme of "client" admission in the universities:
* X and Y method. One day before the admission exam the test questions are illegally sold to "clients". The prepared answers and the test questions on certain subject are offered to "client" through X scheme. The answers to questions in the form of certain tables are offered through Y "plan".
* Bunker method. The major role here is played by teachers and observes (including law enforcement officers), administering the exam. "The client" is approached by the teacher that asks to check personal documents once again. Due to "some mistakes" the client is asked to follow the teacher outside the classroom to another room where the teachers solve test questions for him. Almost in all cases such client is successfully admitted in the university.
* Telephone method. Many things here depend on teachers and observers. Ordinarily, they gave enough time to client to consult the teachers over mobile phone. In their turn, the teachers provide right answers to clients.
* Command method. In this case the applicant gets enrolled to school by the instruction of high ranking official. There is certain possibility the student will continue using this privilege during his studies.
This is not final list of admission "instruments". Obviously, teachers, the school management, state officials and law enforcement officers enjoy their own share in this mechanism.
The compensation for admission depends on the method: X and Y – $1500-2500, Bunker – $3000 -6000, telephone - $800-3000.
The bribe rates for admission in universities are a separate question. The survey, conducted in Tashkent and focused on applicants, students, their parents and teachers, gave the following results (in the regions of Uzbekistan the rates are significantly lower): law (department) - $20000 – 25000, medicine - $ 5000 – 10000, economics - $ 9000-15000, finance - $10000-11000, international relations - $9000-12000, journalism - $5000-7000, international journalism - $6000-8000, foreign languages – $5000-6000, master programs - $2000-7000.
According to the decree of Uzbek President On motivation of students in Uzbekistan, dated February 5, 1993 and decree #157, signed by Cabinet Council on March 25, 1993, the following group of people may be privileged to enter the university without passing admission exams:
* the winners of annual national Tarbiyachi (Educator) contests;
* the winners of annual national Khamshira (Nurse) contests;
* the winners of national art constests;
* the winners of Nikhol (sprout) contest;
* the winners of Kelazhak ovozi (the Voice of future) national contest;
* the winners of annual school Olympiads.
The observations indicate that often times the winners in these contests are also selected through bribery.
Besides, young men which served in Uzbek army have privilege in the enrollment to college. 25 percent of additional points are added to their test scores. In its turn, this matter violates the concept of equal opportunities for all applicants.
The youngsters, who failed to pass the admission exams, often time are included in the lists of unemployed, enslaved or criminals.
The bribery is an instrument for passing the regular tests as well. Every student knows the name of person, able to solve the problem. Ordinarily, this is the team leader that accepts about $5-15 per exam.
Therefore, many students gain degree, having poor knowledge of their major. The current practice makes young people seek for easiest solutions. The teachers, gaining illegal income, sometimes demand sexual treatment.
There are also hidden forms of corruption. For instance, this is forced purchase of books, cash collection for repairs and acquisition of equipment. The mandatory subscription to magazines and local newspaper is also popular practice.
In fact the corruption starts at very beginning when parents bring their children to the first grade of elementary school. Another widely spread form of corruption is tutoring by school staff. The full classes of students and low salaries force teachers to offer paid tutoring.
The current anti-corruption measures in the educational system are not effective. 97 percent of respondents, interviewed by EWG, said they have no tool to prevent bribery. Many believe that corruption in Uzbekistan is systematic. Everyone understands that non-participation in this system can be a threat to the student.
The Expert working group – Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Note. The expert working group (EWG) is non-profit and non-governmental analytical team of independent experts in Uzbekistan, focused on monitoring the interaction between public interests and rights. The major EWG goals are monitoring and research of trends public interests and rights, raising public awareness of legal reforms and implementation mechanisms, support of local export community and independent analytical structures, free debates on legal reforms.
EWG website was launched in May of 2010. Since July 28 it has been filtered in Uzbekistan. At the moment EWG is considering the options of moving to another web script.