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Kyrgyzstan Scraps Graduation Exams In Uzbek Language

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan says that starting this year, it will not be possible to take secondary school graduation tests in the Uzbek language.

Chynara Batyrakeyeva, an expert with the government's Center for Education Assessment, which is in charge of preparing national school tests, told RFE/RL on March 4 that starting from May, tests will only be conducted in Kyrgyz or Russian.

In the past, secondary school graduates could choose if they wanted to take the test in Kyrgyz, Russian or Uzbek.

Regulations introduced last year stipulated that graduates had to fill out special forms requesting that they take the exams in Uzbek.

Batyrakeyeva says only 49 students requested that they conduct the exam in Uzbek, therefore authorities decided to scrap the option altogether.

The Uzbek language issue in Kyrgyzstan has been a sensitive subject for years.

It became even more complicated after clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan's south in 2010 left more than 400 people dead and thousands more displaced.

Uzbeks make more than 10 percent of Kyrgyzstan's 5.7-million population and reside mainly in the country's southern Batken, Jalal-Abad and Osh regions.