A controversy has recently unfolded at Central Asian University (formerly known as Akfa University) in Tashkent. It revolves around students who were admitted directly to the second year after completing two-year preparatory courses.
These preparatory courses, known as Akfa University Part-Time Student courses, were originally designed for students in grades 10 and 11.
On September 21 (Thursday), students who had finished these courses and had commenced their second-year studies this year, along with their parents, informed "Gazeta.uz" that they were being denied access to their classes. The new university administration claimed that the previous rector had violated regulations and that the students admitted to the second year could not continue their education as it was not in compliance with the law.
According to the students, they were locked out of the facial recognition system at the entrance, and their student ID cards were confiscated when presented. They also fear that the credits they earned, which were necessary for advancing to the second year, have been invalidated.
This news came as a shock to the students and their parents, and many are experiencing severe stress. Since this development occurred in the midst of the academic year, they now have almost no opportunity to enroll in another university.
Parents who spoke to "Gazeta.uz" reported that they had paid UZS 40 mn ($3,287) for these courses and had also made payments towards the tuition fees for the ongoing academic year.
The reasons for these changes are unclear. The new rector, who began his tenure a few months ago, was aware of the preparatory courses and the admission of students to the second year since contracts were signed with parents. However, according to the students and parents, they were told by the university that they could complain wherever they wanted.
On Thursday, parents met with the rector, Kamran Gulamov, and the chairman of the university's supervisory board, Abduzhabar Abduvakhitov (who served as an advisor to the President of Uzbekistan on youth, science, education, healthcare, culture, and sports from August 2018 to August 2022). The parents remained at the university for several hours, even though the rector left the assembly hall during their meeting.
On Saturday, parents and students met with the former rector, Bekhzod Jalilov. According to participants in the meeting, the former head of the university calmly answered their questions, presented documents, and asserted that everything was done legally.
In response to this situation, Central Asian University released an official statement on Saturday. The statement revealed that two years ago, the former rector of Akfa University, Bekhzod Jalilov, "used 'Study for the success' account without the knowledge of the founders of the university and with the aim of additional enrichment." This company "concluded contracts with parents of potential students, containing false promises of obtaining an education at our university."
Parents who signed these contracts were promised that their children, while in grades 10-11(high school), could simultaneously complete the first year at Akfa University and, upon finishing high school, be admitted directly to the second year of the university. Parents paid the specified fees to the bank account of "Study for the success."
The funds received on the "Study for the success" account were "appropriated by the organization," according to the university.
Central Asian University emphasized that it has no connection to the actions of the aforementioned 'Study for the success.' The admission of students to study concurrently with their high school education violates the law (Education Law, Article 11, "On Higher Education").