Why Did Tashkent Ulugbek International School Close?

June 23, 2011

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

What the School Says:

We declare suspension of our educational services for safety and security reasons.

The Tashkent Ulugbek International School was founded in 1995 by the SilmEducational Corporation (%60) in cooperation with the Department of Diplomatic Services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan (%40) and so far it has provided educational services that fully meet international standards. Our school is a regular member of ECIS (European Council of International Schools) as well as CIS (Council of International Schools) and it caters for students from twenty-four different nationalities from preschool through Year 12. Our school employs a fully international teaching staff selected from among qualified and experienced teachers from various countries such as Turkey, Uzbekistan, the UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, the USA and India. Nonetheless, due to reasons which will be listed below, our corporation has had to discontinue all its educational services in Uzbekistan from 1 January 2011, without any purposeful bad intentions or meaning any harm to anyone.

1-    According to the current laws in Uzbekistan, shopping and making / receiving salary payments in a foreign currency are not permissible. Therefore, parents pay the school fees in Uzbek Sum and The National Bank of Uzbekistan is supposed to convert the amount that is needed for the salary payments of the school’s foreign staff and the money should officially be transferred in US Dollars to the related country. Ever since our school was founded in 1995, we have experienced serious delays and difficulties in converting and transferring our foreign teachers’ salaries; the final transaction we received was for the salaries of March 2009, which means our salaries have not been transferred for twenty-one months up until now, even though the money is available in our school’s Uzbek Sum bank account. When we contact the relevant bank, the answer we always get is “We are short of USD Dollars”. During this period we strived to maintain our educational services without delays and interruptions even though we were experiencing serious financial difficulties. It has financially become impossible to sustain the school as we strongly believe, with the help of our past experiences and observations, that these obscurities which are created by the current financial system will remain the same in the future as well; moreover the relevant authorities have always failed to provide any kind of assistance to us.

2-    As we have recently been hearing, foreign investors in the country are suffering from increasing negative attitude and ill-treatment such as numerous anti-terror teams’ assaults and inspections to ordinary business corporations (workers and staff of these corporations have been accused of possessing forbidden publications in their offices, which were in fact placed in secret by the above mentioned units prior to or during the inspections), difficulties that these people experienced in defending themselves, threatening the defense lawyers and forcing them to quit, unlawful imprisonment of some foreign staff and threatening of their families. Our corporation believes that our institutions are very much likely to be subject to similar pressures and we do have serious concerns about the safety and security of our services and staff alike.

3-    Bureaucratic obstacles in procedures such as permissions, customs clearance, transportation and payments that we had to deal with while importing educational materials; textbooks, laboratory equipment, computers etc.

Difficulties and bureaucratic procedures that we endured when we had to renew our work license due to the changes that took place in the educational system.

4-    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, rent of accommodations and some health services, which made these services impossible to receive.

5-    We have finally had to decide to suspend our educational services as we have serious concerns that unjust and unlawful ill-treatment, which a few other private educational institutions were subject to during their inspections (e.g. the language teaching centres faced accusation of extremism in December 2010), is very much likely to be directed against our schools as well.

We apologize for the inconvenience all this might have caused.

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?


What To Take and What to Leave Behind?

April 30, 2010

Of course, the answer depends on where you’re going. But for the perfect  “must take” list, some International Educators recommend bringing ear plugs for noisy sleeping environments, enough reading material for a year, US postage stamps so people traveling to the States can mail things for you, extra passport photos and a good map. With many of us getting ready to make an international move, and some for the very first time, what could be more timely than this Blog to discuss things to bring and things to leave behind?