Uzbek Students Unhappy with "Prison-Style" Rules
|Publisher||Institute for War and Peace Reporting|
|Publication Date||13 January 2012|
|Cite as||Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Uzbek Students Unhappy with "Prison-Style" Rules, 13 January 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f15300e2.html [accessed 24 March 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Students across Uzbekistan have been banned from criticising educational staff, wearing gaudy clothing and discussing campus matters online.
The education ministry told students to read and sign a new 23-page code in December, and the regulations that it sets out came into effect in the New Year.
Students at universities, colleges and vocational schools now have to act "in compliance with the traditions of national independence ideology," according to the code, and can expect to fail exams or face expulsion if they contravene the rules.
In a clause which some students said they find confusing, the code also requires them to "facilitate the blocking of foreign religious and extremist influences".
An education ministry official said the rules will promote higher standards of morality among the young, but several students said they found them authoritarian, infuriating and of questionable legality.
"Our every step is prescribed and we are being directed what to do and how to behave," said a 23-year-old studying to be a teacher in the capital Tashkent, who compared the student code to prison regulations.
The code appeared following a year in which an increasing number of young Uzbeks began accessing the internet, in particular social networking sites and web forums.
A law student said the ban on discussing campus matters online contravened the constitution, which outlaws censorship, and a 2002 law on freedom of information.
Officials have defended the rules, saying they are necessary and will play an important role in preserving moral standards.
"Educational institutions will not be turned into places where everything is permissible," said Jahongir Ismoilov, who heads an education ministry department in Tashkent.