September 20, 2017
A report received by the editorial office of Kun.uz says that the head of Qorgontepa District administration in Andijan Region, Avazbek Ergashev, is demanding that teachers of secondary schools recruit workers to pick cotton. Reports say that the head of the district administration is demanding that every teacher should bring one of the relatives of their pupils to pick cotton and is exerting pressure on teachers who fail to find fewer than five people to work on the cotton fields.
A correspondent from Kun.uz contacted the head of the Qorgotepa District administration and received the following comment:
“I have not made any demand and I am not threatening anyone. The point is that we have appealed to parents of pupils to take part in cotton picking. There is no obligation at all. We put an end to such practices at a recent meeting”.
According to a teacher who spoke to the correspondent of Kun.uz, the administration is calling on parents to take part in the cotton-picking campaign every day, and teachers are afraid that their professional activities might be affected if they are not able to fulfill the demands. A group of teachers says that the head of the district administration personally instructed teachers about this at a meeting held at 10pm on September 18 in the building of the district administration.
Kun.uz had received an earlier report that school No1 in Namangan District was demanding from parents of 3rd grade schoolchildren to pay 20,000 soms each in order to hire people to pick cotton.
According to a father who called the Kun.uz editorial office, school No1 in Namangan District was demanding from the parents of 3rd grade schoolchildren either to hire people to pick cotton or to bring money instead. In other words, they are demanding “we hire people to pick cotton or pay 20,000 soms per day. This amount of money might mean nothing for someone who is prosperous and can afford a good education for his child and wishes to contribute to our national wealth”.
When we managed to get in touch with Jamolkhon Tursunov, the director of school No.1 in Namangan District, he told us the following:
“There has been a misunderstanding. There was no mention of collecting money. However, a group of parents joined the cotton harvest campaign to make a voluntary contribution to picking the “white gold”. The representatives of local neighborhood committees can also confirm this.”