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Thursday, October 1, 1998 Published at 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK


The most teacher friendly country?

Uzbekistan includes ancient cities such as Samarkand

Teachers feeling unloved and anxious about a loss of status might turn an envious eye to their colleagues in Uzbekistan.

The Central Asian republic, where the word for teacher translates as "a learned man and considerate educator", must rank as one of the world's more teacher-friendly countries.

[ image: Camels cross the country on ancient desert trade routes]
Camels cross the country on ancient desert trade routes
There are subsidies for teachers such as only having to pay half their rent and there are reductions in charges for services. Teachers are also given priority access to phone lines.

Giving public expression to the country's admiration for its educators, 1 October is being celebrated as the 'Day of the Teacher', a public holiday declared by presidential decree in which the country offers "special honour and respect" to teachers.

Uzbekistan, which gained its independence from the former Soviet Union seven years ago, has also avoided the problem of unpaid wages which has caused protests among Russian teachers.

After independence, the education system in Uzbekistan switched from teaching through Russian to the native Uzbeki language, a process that involved an overhaul of text-books and teaching materials.

There have also been joint ventures with other countries, including a technical institute in the capital, Tashkent, set up with Japanese investment funds.

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