CAIRO: University students rejected a Tuesday presidential decree that would make all heads of universities subject to presidential appointment, not elections.
Students in the Nasserist Karama party stated the decree “killed the democratic soul inside the universities,” Al-Watan reported.
“The decree foreshadows the return of security interference in universities and will eliminate the independency that we have requested for ages,” the Tuesday statement read.
President Sisi‘s decree states that the head of the university is to be assigned by the president based on a recommendation from the Minister of Higher Education,who chooses between three professors nominated to him by a specialized committee; the president would have final say on the appointment.
The decree added that deans of faculties may be fired before the end of their assigned duration by a decision from the head of the University if they fail to carry out their duties.
Following the January 25 Revolution, heads of universities were hired through elections.
The minister of higher education headed the Supreme Council of Universities last May in a discussion of the possibility of abolishing the articles concerning electing university heads, secretary general of the Council Ashraf Hatem told Aswat Masriya.
Sherif Mourad, the dean of Cairo University’s Engineering Faculty, said it was a “right decision and it would not affect the educational process.”
After the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, most of the universities witnessed clashes between students and security guards, prompted by the controversial protest law, as well as the return of security guards inside university campuses.
The main court originally issued a verdict on Feb. 24 to return university guards to campuses but Cairo University’s Deans Council had rejected their return during a meeting on March 5 while discussing preparations for the second semester.
Former education minister Ahmed Zaki Badr said in an interview with Al Mehwar TV last October that removing university guards was the start of a conspiracy against universities, in response to multiple clashes at educational institutions.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Ragheb, Hany Mohamed and Wael Rabeey.