President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, in a speech to the nation from Cairo University Sunday evening, focused on youth academic improvement and said he “wants Egypt’s youth to be on his side.”
His comments came during a ceremony honoring top university graduates across Egypt, and were broadcast on State television.
“I have ordered the doubling of the number of students sent to study abroad by their universities,” Sisi said. “Youth are the nation’s real resource.”
He also called on students not to take part in pro-Muslim Brotherhood protests, and called the organization “unpatriotic.”
He added that in support of youth civic engagement he had set aside 50 percent of all seats in his different presidential advisory councils for young people.
“I look forward to a complete educational system aimed at realizing this country’s ambitions of development, enhancing students’ creativity and innovation and creating an academic atmosphere that allows student activity,” Sisi said.
Sisi’s words come as universities face several challenges ahead of the academic year scheduled to start Oct. 11. Clashes erupted Monday morning in front of the Ministry of Higher Education as students of technical institutes protested lack of job opportunities, difficulties transferring and access to State schools, Youm7 reported.
Students protest transfer, application processes
Recent high school graduates also headed to the ministry to join other groups and even their own parents, who started organized protests Saturday in what has been called “the transfer student incident.”
Students usually face obstacles in transferring from one public university to another, as several rules control their application, such as their final score and place of residence. When applying, students fill out a form with their preferences, but then public registrar officers decide on where to send them, and provide three choices.
According to several interviews conducted by Al-Badil news website Saturday, a woman reported that her daughter had been accepted to a university with expensive fees and was unable to transfer to another university despite her grades being acceptable to the institution.
Professors also unhappy
On a separate but related note, at least 122 professors from different universities issued a statement Monday refusing a new decision passed by the Cabinet allowing university presidents to dismiss professors reported for “inciting violence,” Youm7 reported.
Professors of the Syndicate for Independent Universities, an independent movement, said in their statement that university presidents will become the sole authority for claiming accusations against professors and investigating them, as the new law cancels the role of the disciplinary councils in charge of professors’ legal matters.