Why Did Tashkent Ulugbek International School Close?

The School Claims Uzbekistan’s Bureaucratic Obstacles were Too Great. Teachers Tell a Different Story. This Could Happen to ANYONE!

What the School Says:

“It has become impossible to manage the risks that came along with the increasing problems and difficulties in the arrangements of our expatriate staff’s visa, registration, accommodation, flight tickets, health services and salary transfers. Although shopping and making payments in a foreign currency in the country are not permissible, we were directed to make payments in US Dollars for visas, registrations, accommodations and some health services, which made these services impossible to receive…” Read more.

What the Teachers Say:
“The Turkish administration and staff fled ‘en masse’ at the end of December, without telling anyone beforehand (including the expat teachers). They notified the expatriate staff on Jan 6th, by sending them a poorly worded e-mail saying that our contracts had been abolished and if you were out of the country not to return and if you were in the country to leave. After promising to pay the teacher’s severance pay for January, they then reneged and refused to pay the teachers who were stranded here and who had no choice but to find a way to salvage their jobs…” Read reviews of this incident

BLOG this incident. Share your thoughts on the actions of the administration, teachers and ministry of education. Has anything similar that you know of taken place at other schools?

36 Responses to Why Did Tashkent Ulugbek International School Close?

  1. Sevde Nur Fistik says:

    i was living in Uzbekistan about six years ago i born at there and we lived there ten years my father was working at TUIS secondary school but i was going at another school as i said six years ago we moved from Uzbekistan we moved suddenly and i wasnt knowing the reason but by the time passes i knew the reason why turkish-international school is closed. prime minister of Uzbekistan sent us he did sent all the turkish teachers and i heard that one turkish tradesmen is in the prison i still cant understand the reason…

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  2. Anonymous says:

    …just started at TUIS – very nice and very accommodating!!! so far so good – but i can see why the ‘turks’ got booted!!!

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    • NA says:

      …I left wondering…was this a ‘typical’ teaching ‘experience’???

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      • NA says:

        …getting ‘out’ of the airport had to be the worst of my experience – hurting to ‘help’…the school didn’t do a thing to prepare me for departure…

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    • Mister ED says:

      …there is a real problem in this school, but it is not one that is unusual for a ‘higher end’ private institution – the student pop is very diverse, but many r not at all interested in an English speaking program – that seems evident in classes skipped and very poor classroom performance. Many of the students appear to be ‘spoiled’ in respect to their attitude toward authority and thus become continuous ‘problems’ that the school is not equipped to deal with effectively.

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  3. Manu says:

    Dear Teachers,

    Story did not end here. Kindly note down that even some parents who are high govt. officials as well are targeting expat teachers by using their kids. They would blame expat teachers for doing this and that with their kids and threat expat teachers by even taking the name of the president of the country to give $15,000 – 20,000 or otherwise they will sue them in the court.

    Since there is no democracy in the country so local court has no value for expat teachers. So kindly be careful while moving to TUIS and Uzbekistan during this time. Its better to work as laborer in your own country rather than join TUIS and putting your life in danger.

    All the best….

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing Manu…. sorry (but not unexpected that the corruption, lies, incompetance continues.

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  5. Manu says:

    Dear Teachers,

    Going to work at TUIS-Tashkent, Uzbekistan then must read below:

    1. No doubt Tashkent is b’ful and clean city to live and work alone and with family but corruption at all level made it difficult to live and work for expat staff. In that country sweeper to President all are high corrupt.

    2. Kindly keep it mind that TUIS and TIS both are different schools. TUIS is run by Uzbekistan Govt. so its govt. school now since last owner Turkish left more than one year before. TUIS is upto year 9 only now since last year President of country himself close the secondary school.

    3. Its not affiliated to any international board. Most of the local teachers and admin staff can’t speak English including the director. They follow any rules and will never full contract terms since there is no democracy and labor rules etc.

    4. Anytime they can put wrong allegation on you and told you to leave the country without paying salary and air ticket. Salary are regularly delayed and country is facing shortage of USD. You can not send USD to home. You have to your salary will be transfer to home country account and you have to withdraw from ATM and those are often out of USD.

    5. You have pay some % of salary back to school since they will transfer more salary to home bank account. The admin staff also harras you by any mean and ask you to pay $50 or $100.

    6. Local Police + metro police is very corrupt. If they see the foreigner then start harnessing him/her and ask for USD. You always have to keep your passport in your pocket. Local people also ask min 10 times the price for each and everything and hence cheat you.Things are very expensive. Your flat owner often come to your flat with duplicate key in your absence and theft cash etc.

    7. Expat staff standard is also very low. In short there is no professionalism etc. Students often abuse expat teachers openly and there is no discipline in the school. Students were found watching porn movies in the class room since mobile / ipod / laptop etc are openly allowed to bring in. Many teachers have run away from the country along with their family or alone including last Head of the Sec. School Mr. and Mrs. Bashar by Feb. end once their Jan. month salary was cleared. Parents will come to the school and openly fight with you rather than listening to you for his/her bright future.

    8. Your phone will be tap since you are expat and police also keep an eye on you and follow you.Police / court etc no one would listen to you since there is no democracy.

    9. Medical facilities are very poor and medicine etc. are very expensive.

    Hope that this information would help to make decision for you own safety and future.

    Good Luck.

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  6. Manu says:

    Hi, Its true that Uzbekistan and TUIS is run by corrupt people and both of them have no bright future and vision. Hope that people will bring revolution or pray to God for democracy etc. Otherwise how long this country and TUIS will run like this with no vision and proper planning? Surely very soon both of them will collapse. Look at their currency level.. So low.And things are so expensive. Normal person can’t get proper medical treatment since imported medicine etc are so expensive. Even school admin people also asking foreign teacher USD by telling unfair admin work just to get USD 50 or 100. This is the level of corruption in TUIS and Uzbekistan. They are mad about even 1 USD.

    There are no rules in TUIS and this country. Whatever they give you in writing in appointment letter and surely they will not follow. They will put wrong allegation on teachers just to get USD. Even some good % of your salary you have to pay back in USD by cash to school since they give you more than your actual salary.

    Is it true that Mr. Bashar and his wife left the country for Good? Then who is running the school? Its true that the current people don’t know hoe to run the school and openly playing with the future of their own pupils. Its not a save country for foreigners and tourism as police particularly at Merto is very corrupt. Only God can save you if you are at Uzbekistan. So forget this country forever.

    Strangely a culturally rich country like Uzbekistan has no future since it is run by corrupt people. Everywhere in world there are revolutions against corrupt regime. Hope people for their better future will start here as well soon if not very soon the world will see sudden collapse of Uzbekistan for sure keeping in mind their current social, financial and education situation.

    See pupils are same everywhere. Only good teachers can show then the path for their bright future. But they don’t want to give good education to their own kids. In short the way Uzbekistan is failed run by current people similarly TUIS is failed to run by their corrupt and unprofessional educator whether from Uzbekistan or abroad.

    May God save TUIS and Uzbekistan from the sudden collapse. Amin….

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  7. Maritsa says:

    Any updates on this school? They are advertising now. Hopefully things have calmed down.

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  8. Continue to be stunned says:

    UPDATE: The Brashars who came last year have done a runner. After 1 term at the helm, this nefarious couple failed to show up to work on Monday and have since left the country. The ‘director’ has no comment to make and chaos continues to be the norm for this school. Pupils continue to find other schools.
    Fortunately the incompetent Mr. Pearce isn’t being used as a head again.

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  9. Concerned Parent says:

    Updates:
    I undersstand that Ministry of Education recieved copies of all these reviews and where extremely upset. The President himself order the closure of the upper school. The Upper school was shut down, so that TUIS only has the primary school and years 7-9. The only European/Western teachers are Mr. Pearce and the Bashars, all other ‘foreign’ teachers are from the Philippines and India and the pupils complain that they can’t understand them. It appears that reviews on ISR do have an impact.. It is sad that a school with the potential of TUIS became the tool of an unscruplous band of corrupt men and an unprinicpled, vicious, vindictive and unqualified head as Bruce Pearce. I agree with the other comments, send your children somewhere else.

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  10. lais says:

    i loved tuis, 2006-2010, it was one of the best schools in uzbekistan, some great memories, what happened is very sad,

    lais,
    england

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  11. Tashkent Bobur says:

    Ms Smythe you should be ashamed! This is Bobur, and I went to TUIS last year. Dr. Davis didn’t bully students. He told them to get to class, he kept order. He was deputy head that was his job. He was also a great teacher, always prepared for his lessons and he made history interesting! He, Mr. Pickles, Mr. Dobson really cared about us. If we forget our homework, Dr. Davis would always resend it to us, keep us posted on assignments. He was always very professional Unlike you, you were always grumpy, unhelpful and unfriendly. Your classes were horrible and you couldn’t teach. You are just a nasty bitter woman. As for students hating Dr. Davis, you didn’t see the large number of birthday wishes on his facebook wall, from all the students at TUIS tell him they missed him did you? Your comments really made us mad. Yes, Dr. Davis sold me one of his novels…because I asked him. I checked the price on the net…. he sold it cheaper than that. I really liked his book and what he wrote in it. I am hoping go to university in England… if I get there it will be because of Dr. Davis and Mr. Pickles. So Ms. Smythe, shut up. Mr. Dobson, Mr. Pickles and Dr. Davis we miss you!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Rawlins for putting things back to perspective.

    The blog posting of 2nd September (07.21) from the anonymous teacher had to be Helen Symthe a very twisted person.

    I find it interesting how a ‘teacher’ who was only in the school ‘teaching’ for 6 weeks (A 2 week holiday and a month with exams and downtime) can really have a take on what happened there. She resorts to rumour, character assiaination and lies. She was an unfriendly, standoffish and rude woman when she was there. She continually undermined the head of English and she and the other two ‘new’ teachers, helped their pupils cheat during exams by giving them answers to questions (I saw this with my own eyes).

    As to her lies about Mr. Pickles and Dr. Davis, they are laughable, as you Mr. Rawlins, have also pointed out. After your departure, they were the only two teachers that pupils wanting an education could depend on. Both wrote many letters of recommendation for pupils wanting to go to TIS and other schools. Dr. Davis was on of the most popular teacher’s in the school, and yes, he and Mr. Pickles were tough teachers. But as you pointed out, they were specialists and had expected to come to a school which actually gave IGCSE exams.

    Yes, Ms, Symthe, you gave good advice which you should heed. Go back into your glass house and don’t comment on things which you know nothing about. Your 6 weeks hiding in the staff room or your classroom doesn’t give you any credibility.

    This country is still in the hands of a corrupt dicator and his money grasping daughter, the ministries are composed of corrupt thugs and there is little sense of shame in taking advantage of people who come to their country to help them out. I would second Mr. Rawlins sage wisdom and if you are unfortunate enough to go to Uzbekistan (forget TUIS), make sure you have enough money to get out, that you keep your embassy information close. Yet, even that mind not help. While Ms. Symthe you might have left with no hassle and good feelings. Other of your colleagues weren’t so lucky. One of the old teachers at the primary school was stripped searched. Another family was harrassed and put into a cubicle while they tried to extort money. They missed their flight and were released after the corrupt police realised they didn’t have any money to shake down.

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  13. B. Rawlins says:

    The blog posting of 2nd September [07:21] that purports to come from an “anonymous” teacher illustrates problems with international schools that Tashkent Ulugbek International School takes to extremes.

    The school is (remarkably) accredited by CIS on the basis of its Primary School. However, what is presumably a “whole school” philosophy has apparently led one of its teachers to think she can comment about a specialist teacher and manager in the Secondary School. Never having entered his classroom, she is clearly out of her depth, as the comment about book selling demonstrates. As pointed out in the evaluations, TUIS sells books to its pupils, and Dr. Davis’ tongue-in-cheek venture into bookselling at least gave his English and History pupils an insight into historical fiction.

    The pressure to engage in “positive reporting” about the “respectful and pleasant” behaviour of TUIS pupils amounts to lying when it contradicts repeated evaluations from different teachers and a parent. Beyond Years 7 and 10 the eighth evaluation gives an objective assessment of the reality of undisciplined behaviour in the Secondary School.

    Her personal smears against Dr. Davis match the behaviour towards her Head of Department mentioned in the eighth evaluation. They constitute a form of harassment that is particularly hypocritical given the accusation of “bullying”. Those immersed in a “child-centred” ethos seem to find it difficult to tell the difference between bullying and discipline. Rounding up recalcitrant pupils and getting them into classrooms hardly constitutes bullying.

    There has been a separate ISR blog discussing professional communication through social media such as Facebook. In the emergency context of this January it seemed to make sense to contact as many pupils and parents as quickly as possible. What is the implication? That only girls were contacted? That they were being ‘groomed’? Such a lie would merit a legal response.

    ISR reviews have regularly discussed the risks associated in dealing with foreign managerial cultures. International Schools seek international accreditation. Their host countries sign up to the legal conventions of the UN and the International Labour Organisation. Putting oneself at risk in overseas schools betrays idiocy and/or desperation where managements show contempt for teachers and the law; it is naïve to think otherwise. The first posting on this thread offers sensible advice. Keep some ‘escape money’, contact your embassy and leave when there are criminal threats to your personal security. At TUIS there were cases of financial irregularity, harassment and assault. Such behaviour would be unacceptable towards migrant workers in America or Europe. When it occurs in the Third World the very least one should expect is solidarity from colleagues.

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  14. highwayman says:

    Very interested to read the above. I too was employed at Ulugbek International School, Tashkent, between August 2009 and July 2010. I also have good memories of Uzbekistan and its people; I left the school for family reasons, but would be happy to return if Mr Pearce, would have me. He would not.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Due to the desperate need for expatriate teachers I was recruited to teach at Ulugbek International School in March. Initially I was supposed to teach in the Primary School but due to a greater need I ended up in Secondary. I heard rumours of all the political goings on and feel certain that many of them may have been true. However, I found most of the students to be respectful and pleasant young people. What Dr Davis says about Mr Pearce is mostly true but he fails to mention his own faults, how he bullied many of the students, loudly calling them idiots and liars, not to mention his little habit of using Facebook to contact the girls and selling students his novels. People in glass houses, Dr Davis. I completed my three month contract at the school, was paid all of my wages, admittedly they were often late. I was also paid my return airfares. Yes there is a degree of risk associated in going to a third world country and operating under their laws, you would be naive to think otherwise. Things are not done the same way as at home. If thats what you want- don’t go, stay at home. I could list lots of negatives too but overall I have fond memories of both the students and the people of Uzbekistan and would return if not for family circumstances.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Three month contract has obviously has to be one of the 3 nazi’s brought in by Mr. Pearce. You can make silly allegation,all you want, but you were never in my lessons. Yes, i did call several pupils lairs when they submitted plagarised reports (complete with hyperlinks) and swore up and down they had written them their own. I certainly sold a few extra novels to pupils who asked for me…no harm in that. As far as bullying…. well, if as deputy head I had to roam the hall and get pupils back into classes who were ditching lessons… sure I bullied. I stand by my record. Your 3 month, inglorious service of undercutting existing staff, starting rumours about the English teacher, and allowing pupils to cheat during exams… make me remind you of your own glasshouse comment and would ask the readers to read the latest report by the English teacher who comments on your behaviour.

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  16. Dr. Michael R. Davis says:

    Just before leaving Tashkent, I confronted the Administration and Mr. Pearce about their cancelling the expat’s contracts to save themselves paying us June salary and thereby pocketing the money. Mr. Pearce claims he went in a fought for the teacher’s and would resign if the teacher’s weren’t paid. Well none of us believed him and here we are… June 21st. Having checked with my colleagues now of us have been paid. So, Mr. Pearce, please post notice of your resignation on the school webpage.

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  17. Dr. Michael R. Davis says:

    Interesting to note on the new website tasulu.uz that the only secondary teacher shown is the head twice (easy to spot with his vests). and social events.

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  18. Dr. Michael R. Davis says:

    Hi, I am the teacher/deputy head who wrote the review #5. Thanks for letting me know the criminals are advertising. I will send a copy of my review to them….unfortunately, ISR cut out some of my more damning paragraphs. This school should not be permitted to recruit….I filed such a detailed report to give teachers a true picture of the dangers of teaching in this school. It was truly a very unpleasant experience and wouldn’t wish the horrors of that place on anyone…not even an enemy. The head is a ego manic who thinks only of himself and staff are truly without anyone in their corner.

    ISR Note: we discovered that formatting had cropped entire paragraphs from this very lengthy review. We have manually corrected the problem and the entire review now displays. We apologize for any inconvenience this tech glitch my have caused.

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    • Dr. Michael R. Davis says:

      Thank you for adding back the ommitted parts. i think it makes my review much clearer. Much appreciated.

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  19. Sarah Maurer says:

    I can’t read the teachers comments because I’m not a paying member of the site, but the school’s explanation just sounds beyond ridiculous to me.

    Seriously? They didn’t think the financial and personnel issues through during the planning stages — years before the first teacher was hired and the first student walked through the schools doors?

    The administration of this school may or may not be well meaning. But this much is clear: they’re so gormless they have no business running any sort of enterprise, especially an international school where students and overseas staff could be harmed by their gross incompetence and failure.

    I just wrote an article on researching international schools and talked to folks at several recruiting agencies. All expressed concerns about the number of for-profit international schools cropping up that are run by people who have no idea what they are doing.

    Their advice — if a school is in its first three years, and if the people running it haven’t successfully established other schools — stay away!

    I’m so sorry for the students, teachers and staff who have been failed by this school. What a horrible situation for everyone.

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    • Dr. Michael R. Davis says:

      The Turks explanations were a load of horse dung…no one really believed it. We believe/d that they took as much money as they could from parents, government, teachers salarys and just took off. The Turkish principal was truly gormless and was the Don Knotts (Barney Fife) of education. That was the story of these school, take the money and run…no real desire for education. The teacher before me just showed movies and didn’t cover a real scheme of work. They made the mistake of hiring 4 teachers this last year (1 English, 2 history and 1 PE) and didn’t understand why we wanted to give proper exams. They would lock up when you mentioned anything about educational theory. The only expat there when we got there was the blowhard geography teacher who immediately alienated everyone. We literally would go in another direction or quickly finish our lunches and leave when he came around. He was boastful and all the veriable claims proved to be false.
      Myself and the other history teacher attempted to repair the school, but it was apparent that we would be met by opposition to make it a real school, and Mr. Pearce (the geography teacher) took great pleasure it telling us he had been made head and oh, by the way what did we think of a Valentine’s day dance. I can tell you the other teacher and I looked at each other in disbelief.

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      • AFCA says:

        Well, most of what you say might be right. But, I totally disagree of taking the money and running away. Apparently you don’t understand the financial system in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. You may have an account, and you may have a lot of money there. But you can’t get it. It is impossible just simply take the money and leave. I am sure Turkish teachers actually suffered more than others. They are more dedicated than you can imagine. They hide their pains, but do the best to make others get the less suffer. It might sound strange for you. But this is the reality. You may do research in all turkish schools around the world. You will find the same thing. These teachers are “living in order to make others live”.

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  20. Jason says:

    It is interesting to see that the school mentioned in the article is advertising on the TES website now!

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    • Bulegila says:

      They are advertising on teacherhorizons too.

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      • Dr. Michael R. Davis says:

        My god…this is criminal…… though I doubt that letting these organisations know what happens will deter them from accepting the fees.

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        • Beekeeper says:

          Have a look at this:

          Their Old webpage
          clearly states that the school is closed,
          but their New webpage
          states that they are open for business and under the “direct management of the Diplomatic Department of the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

          They are also advertised on IS-Jobs.com with applications to be sent to and

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          • Beekeeper says:

            Oh…Above msg is not posting the old vs new web pages, so to see for yourself, it’s the same name, just change the .com to .uz

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            • Dr. Michael R. Davis says:

              The Turkish Silm Corporation maintains the Tasulu website and the current administration hasn’t been able to gain control of it. So they opened up a new one. While I don’t believe everything the Silm coporation says in its proclaimation, I do know that several Turkish business were shut down and forceable closed in January. There is some considerable tension between Turkish interests and Uzbekistan’s and so a war of websites. The school is ‘open’ for what is worth, but it not a true international school.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I was one of the staff in that school and I am the one who knows the fact. The fact is, This country (Uzbekistan) is a dictatorial country and under control of former KGB with a new name of SNB. People in this country are suffering very much. This SNB was always asking information about foreighn staff, students and parents illegally from administration. Administration refused this, then SNB tried to stael these information (like passport copies CV’s and diploma’.etc.) by using some local staff. Most of the local staff were working for SNB. Turkish administartion did not let these things happen in our school then SNB started to follow them. They were planning to raid the school and put some illegal items to school (like drugs or illegal publications) to blame school administartion and foreign teachers. But most of the foreign staff did not know this.These things were done regularly in that country for innocent people. We learned this from one of the SNB worker (his child was studying in our school). So our administrations life were in danger so they left. Things announced in web site http://www.tasulu.com is less but totally correct. If you make a little search you can undrerstand this easily. Working in a dictatorial country such as Uzbekistan is not easy. Foreign staff in that country was always in danger to be blamed and departured. Turkish company guaranteed all foreign teachers wrights which are mentioned in their contract but some teachers did not leave the country. Some of them left the country and company gave all their wrights. But some others did not want to leave and they stayed.This was their personal decision. We can easily prove this because we kept all emails which we sent to foreign teachers. This was not companies fault, Uzbek Government forced us to act like this.
      I strongly not advise any foregn teacher not to go that evil`s country.

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      • Dr. Michael R. Davis says:

        The Silm Corporation was just as crooked as the Uzbek government. The contracts we signed guaranteed us at least a month’s severance pay. The teachers who were forced to remain were never paid this, emails to the Silm corporation were never returned. The Silm corporation treated its expat NON-TURKISH employees in just as contemptable and cowardly fashion as the Uzbek government did later. So I have to challenge your comment that the Turkish company ‘gave all the wrights (sic)’. Sorry the Silm corporation only cared about getting its Turkish staff out and hell with the Brits, Aussies and others. But I agree, no teacher should go there.

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  21. 2xaround says:

    Wow…I just cant imagine what it would be like go go through such an ordeal. This only points out that you don’t want to let yourself become dependent on a school for your well being. I always have at least 5K in a US bank just in case I find I need to return home. I also have an international credit card so I can book a ticket on line or with a local travel agent and leave the country. I feel so fortunate to be in a good place right now. These schools that are just in it for the money can get away with such treatment of teachers in countries with no labor laws. Any place else in the world and they would be jailed. The moral here seems to be, research, research, research before accepting an overseas position.

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