CAIRO: Interim President Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree transforming the contested Nile University from a private institution to a public university on Monday.
Chairman of the university Tareq Khalil praised the decree on Monday, stating that Nile University became the first public research university in Egypt.
“We are deeply pleased by this decision. For three years we tried with many Cabinets to reach this decision,” he told The Cairo Post.
However, Khalil noted that the government will not fund the university because the research universities are funded by students’ tuitions, and through research contracts with other universities abroad, and by civil society donations.
The university was part of a long-standing dispute with Zewail City for Science and Technology since 2011, after Nobel Prize laureate Ahmed Zewail chose the buildings and lands of Nile University, which was founded in 2006, to establish his city for science and technology research.
In 2012, the students of Nile University organized a sit-in inside the university to pressure Nile University and Zewail City to resolve the issue, as they were forced to leave their original university buildings when Zewail City had taken ownership.
On March 22, the Supreme Administrative Court issued a verdict in favor of Nile University over Zewail City in a land dispute between both institutions. On April 9, Mansour issued a presidential decree allocating new land for Zewail City.
With regards to the possibility of Nile University conducting co-sponsored projects with Zewail City after settling their dispute, Khalil said that the University welcomes the partnership.
“We have partnerships with the international universities such as the Universities of Minnesota, Ohio, and Miami, as well as the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, among others,” he added.