While the rest of the world struggles to control the coronavirus spread, Uzbekistan has decided to face the pandemic and still strive to conduct normal procedures like university entrance examinations. Arrangements have been made in open spaces for about 1.4 million youngsters who can give their university entrances and move ahead with their education, even during a crisis.
The ethos of keeping education first
With an aim to give studies the utmost importance, excellent planning has been done to ensure that all the students are safe. The university exams will be conducted over the course of two weeks, with an estimated attendance of 1.4 million students. The seating arrangement is such that running tracks or walkways of stadiums are also exam centers now.
These students are competing to take admissions in 150,000 university places through a centralized admission process. Each test is of three hours where the examinees were seen taking shade under clothes or paper from the direct sunlight. The first successful day of the exam has already seen great turnout at one of the stadiums in Tashkent on Wednesday.
Classes to resume online
Uzbekistan has made it clear that they are conducting the exams this way to maintain transparency and give equal opportunity to all, instead of selecting on the basis of merits. However, the classes upon admission will be conducted online. Schools are scheduled to reopen from September 14, with lessons curated for distance learning over the regular ones. Even the university curriculums may see such slight moderations, depending on the situation.
As the Central Asian country of 34 million has just relaxed its nationwide lockdown the second time, the death toll stands at 324, with 42,370 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The former Soviet republic had to call for a second lockdown as the case surge after the first relaxation pushed their healthcare facilities to the limit. In this situation, Uzbekistan has slowly started opening up, due 5 September. All places like cafes, restaurants, tea houses, theme parks, theatres, and cinemas will reopen with specific restrictions. Mosques and other places of worship will also start collective prayers, with masks being mandatory in public places, all the time.