An equal choice?

21. aprīlis, 2008

For the last two weeks, I have kept turning this information in my mind and complaining to myself about yet another example of inequitable education policy in the countries that once made up the USSR. Perhaps quiet anger is inspiring for social action, but keeping it to oneself is not constructive. Therefore, here we go.

In Kazakhstan, the pride of the national education system are centralised exams for school leavers. Just like in Latvia (and many other countries), a good result in these exams guarantees easy access to higher education. They are, therefore, high stake examinations – crucial for a young person´s future.

Also, in Kazakhstan, school education is available in minority languages, including Uigur. It is, however, viewed as a minor technical trouble that Uigur children (just like Uzbek, Tadjik and other minority children) cannot take the centralised exam in their mother tongue – although it is the official language of instruction in their schools. They are, therefore, offered a choice which is not presented as a choice – go to a school which claims to preserve their cultural identity (which many view as important), or go to a Kazakh or Russian school where you can later take the exam in the same language in which you studied.

Dangling the bauble of identity in front of their noses, the state deprives them of equal chances in life. Or is this just the way I see it?

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