The educational system was previously based on the Soviet
model, but since 1990 more emphasis has been placed on Uzbek
language, history and literature. School is compulsory for
nine years from the age of six. The primary school is a
4-year old, followed by a 5-year secondary school and a 2-
to 3-year high school. The country has 60 higher education
institutions and several universities, in Tashkent (founded
1920), Samarkand (1933) and Nukus (1979). See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Uzbekistan.
In January 1992, students in Tashkent demonstrated against
the lack of bread and the rise in basic necessities. The
demonstration was fired by the security forces, 6 were
killed and dozens injured. In an effort to reduce tensions,
the authorities announced an increase in educational aid.
At the same time, the struggle for leadership at the
higher levels of the Islamic clergy intensified, which
helped to strengthen the worldly president. Karimov stood
for a tough authoritarian leadership aimed at maintaining
political stability. As prices in the country were released,
it triggered student protests, which the government severely
cracked down on.
In March, a series of detentions were carried out in the
city of Namangan, the stronghold of the Islamic opposition.
The Islamic Center was attacked and several Islamic leaders
and leaders of the Birlik Democratic Movement were arrested.
In March 1992, the presidents of the various parliaments
of the state community agreed to form an interparliamentary
assembly with consultative and coordinating functions. That
same month, Uzbekistan was admitted to the UN.
In June, President Karimov set the country's new course,
based on the Southeast Asian model: eliminating opposition
and modernizing the economy to adapt to the market.
The liberalization of prices, privatizations and economic
reforms were implemented the same year, but were less
extensive than in the other former Soviet republics.
Through 1993, Uzbekistan strengthened its political
contacts with the other former Soviet republics in Central
Asia, established diplomatic relations with Hungary and
signed bilateral agreements with Turkey, Afghanistan and
Karimov was criticized for the slowness of the country's
economic reforms. In January 1994, therefore, he presented a
plan for privatization and announced price increases for the
basic necessities and energy of around 300%.
Several countries in Central Asia attempted to devise a
program to improve the environment around Lake Aral. But
according to. Western experts were one of the prerequisites
for curbing the desiccation of the lake that Uzbekistan
restricts its consumption of lake water to irrigation of the
At diplomatic level, the country - especially from 1995 -
embarked on a strategy aimed at curbing Russian and Iranian
influence in the region. Karimov actively supported the US
embargo on Iran and called for the creation of a "common
Turkestan" among the countries of the region, which he
believed was threatened by Russia's "imperialist"
In 1996, Parliament admitted for the first time human
rights violations committed in the past and passed new
legislation in this area. In April and June, the President
visited France and the United States, respectively,
emphasizing Uzbekistan's approach to the West.
The censorship of the news media continued to apply in
1997, and the good economic results that made the country
one of the most flourishing in Central Asia coincided with
high inflation and strong restrictions on imports, which
greatly affected the living conditions of the population.
In June, Uzbekistan refused to sign the agreement that
formally ended the civil war in Tajikistan, pointing out
that it would merely increase political instability as
several of the conflicting groups were excluded.