On March 1, 2023, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited a group of secondary school students learning English in U.S. Embassy Tashkent’s newest English Access Microscholarship Program (Access). Launched at the Uzbekistan State World Languages University (UWL) in November 2022, the two-year Access program gives bright students from economically-disadvantaged families a foundation in English through after-school lessons and summer intensive sessions that boost their English and knowledge of the United States. Secretary Blinken met 12 students, ages 14-16, who demonstrated what they have learned about the U.S. holiday, President’s Day, and their ability to answer questions about their favorite movies, foods, and hobbies. The Embassy supports 17 other Access programs across Uzbekistan reaching more than 700 students.
The Secretary was met by Acting Rector Bakhrom Kulmatov, Vice Rector for International Cooperation Alisher Abidjanov, and Access Coordinator Gulnoza Radjabova, and joined a class run by Access teacher Viktoriya Rakhmanova and Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Ashley Lane. Lane is one of 14 ETAs, recent U.S. college graduates who are assisting English teachers and sharing U.S. culture in university classrooms across Uzbekistan.
Secretary Blinken’s visit to UWL illustrated one part of the U.S. Government’s vast commitment to improving English teaching and learning in Uzbekistan. Since 2018, the U.S. Government has invested more than $25 million in English language teaching and learning in Uzbekistan in line with President Mirziyoyev’s reform efforts to promote English learning and long-term economic growth. The funding pays for high-quality English textbooks that are now in 10,000 schools across the country; teacher training and professional development as part of the English Speaking Nation (ESN) program, which is employing U.S. English coaches to train 15,000 secondary school English teachers; and U.S. English Language educators who are embedded in classrooms to improve teaching and learning.