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Uzbek Government Demands Repayment From Students Abroad


The Uzbek government's scholarship foundation is demanding repayments from parents whose children stayed abroad after attending foreign universities on state scholarships, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Hamida Masimova, a Tashkent resident whose son left Uzbekistan eight years ago to study in Great Britain on a government scholarship, told RFE/RL that the foundation is demanding that she pay some $35,000 for his education.

Masimova said she is willing to repay the cost of her son's education, but does not believe it cost that much.

Abdurakhmon Tashanov, the chairman of the Tashkent-based rights organization Ezgulik, told RFE/RL that the number of Uzbek students who used the "Umid" government scholarship and stayed abroad after graduating is increasing.

The Umid Foundation was established in 1997 to help talented Uzbek youth study abroad and was later transformed into the Iste'dod Foundation of the President to enhance the professional skills of perspective teachers and scientists.

Mardon, a student who graduated from a U.S. university, told RFE/RL that students selected for a state scholarship sign a contract with the foundation that requires them to work for state institutions for five years after they return to Uzbekistan.

He said that if a student violates the contract the student or his family are obliged to pay the costs of the education.

Tashanov said that many "Umid" alumni are given jobs upon their return to Uzbekistan that do not match their education level and are low paid, which is the reason many graduates stay abroad.
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