Uzbekistan reinstates political science in universities after 4-year ban


TASHKENT -- Authorities in Uzbekistan are reintroducing political science as a university course four years after the country's late strongman imposed a bizarre ban on the subject, according to a new presidential order.

Tashkent's state-run University of World Economy and Diplomacy will start teaching political science courses in September, its vice rector for academic affairs, Matyakub Bakoyev, told AFP Thursday (January 31).

"A presidential decree was issued, and I confirm that for the new academic year 2019-20 the subject 'Political Science' will be introduced into the educational process of our university," Bakoyev told AFP by telephone.

The order allowing the subject to be taught was signed by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Tuesday (January 29) and subsequently reported by local media.

The poorly explained ban on political science was widely understood as an extension of a general crackdown on free speech in the Central Asian country under its long-ruling first president, Islam Karimov, who died in 2016.

Academics also told media at the time that university authorities had told them the subject was irrelevant because of overlaps with other disciplines.

The reformist Mirziyoyev has won plaudits for trimming many of his predecessor's excesses.

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