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Few Turkmen, Uzbek Students Return To Kyrgyz University

Mukhtar Orozbekov, the rector of Osh State University
Mukhtar Orozbekov, the rector of Osh State University
OSH -- The rector of the largest university in Osh says many students from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are not expected to return to school this semester, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Osh State University Rector Mukhtar Orozbekov told RFE/RL on August 26 that judging by regional media reports, the Turkmen government will not allow most of its students studying in Osh to return there. He said 640 students from Turkmenistan studied at Osh State University in the spring.

They were evacuated from Osh during the deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the city in mid-June.

Orozbekov said many of the 872 students from Uzbekistan are also unlikely to return for the upcoming semester due to security concerns. But he said he expects most of the large contingent of students from Pakistan -- of which 290 attended Osh State University in the spring -- Tajikistan (138 attended last year), India (151), and Nepal (123) to return.

Orozbekov added that applications from prospective students for this school year are down by 50 percent compared to 2009.

Osh State University has some 25,000 students studying in 15 different departments. Orozbekov said there were a total of 2,250 foreign students studying at the school during the 2010 spring semester.

Kyrgyz officials announced on August 25 that the start of the school year at universities in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions will be postponed until October 18.

Orozbekov said a major reason for the delay is so that students can complete the summer semester, which was canceled after the outbreak of the ethnic clashes in mid-June. He said the canceled summer classes will be held in September.

Education Minister Kanat Sadykov told RFE/RL on August 24 that the postponement is also to prevent students from being manipulated or mobilized by political groups during the parliamentary election campaign, which begins on September 10. The elections are scheduled for October 10.