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Press Releases 2010

Foreign Missions Express Concern Regarding Ministry of Education's Actions To Revoke The Institute Of Innovative Technology And Communication's Academic License

August 17, 2010

Dushanbe, Tajikistan: On August 16, the Embassies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Federal Republic of Germany, and the Republic of France as well as the Delegation of the European Union delivered to the government of Tajikistan the following letter expressing concern about the Ministry of Education's actions to revoke of the academic license of the Institute of Innovative Technology and Communication (IITC), a private higher education institution, for unclear reasons.

Please read the letter below.

The undersigned are deeply concerned about the Ministry of Education's actions to revoke the academic license of the Institute of Innovative Technology and Communication (IITC), a private higher education institution. On December 3, 2009, the Ministry of Education asked the economic court to revoke IITC's license because it “failed to meet the Ministry's standards” without elaborating in detail what these failures were. Lower courts ruled in favor of the Ministry of Education. On July 27, the Supreme Economic Court issued a ruling that rejected IITC's appeal.

We are concerned that the Ministry of Education has revoked IITC's license without presenting clear grounds. To our knowledge, the Ministry has not presented significant examples of standards that IITC failed to meet. IITC has on the contrary earned a reputation for academic excellence as an incubator of ideas where students have the opportunity to be exposed to a range of academic views. Because of IITC's reputation for producing high-performing students, the Ministry’s failure to adequately explain its actions gives reasons for concern. The courts' handling of the case raises serious questions about transparency, due process, and the rule of law.

The closure of IITC would substantially reduce the opportunities for young people to receive higher education in Tajikistan. It also could increase the incentive for young Tajiks to emigrate and seek education abroad. The undersigned are of the opinion that Tajikistan needs more institutions like IITC, not fewer. The opportunity for young people to learn from a diverse body of instructors and discuss a wide range of views is crucial for the development of civil society. It is important for economic prosperity as well: Students who think openly and freely are the ones who develop the economic innovations of the future. The closure of a private institute for unclear reasons could have a chilling effect on the investment climate not only in the education sector and create concern that private educational institutions may be closed at any time without cause. At a time when the government is seeking greater assistance from donors in the education sector, we call on the government to thoroughly review the IITC case and ensure that Tajikistan's students are not deprived of educational opportunities.

Respectfully,

Kenneth E. Gross, Jr., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Tajikistan

Ambassador Eduard Auer, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Tajikistan

Trevor Charles Moore, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Republic of Tajikistan

Doris Hertrampf, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Tajikistan

Gregoire Chilovsky, Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy of France to the Republic of Tajikistan.

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