More Restrictions on Egypt ’s Student Action
|Friday, July 20,2007 19:08|
|By Pakinam Amer, Deutsche Presse-Agentur|
New Student Regulation, More Restrictions on Egypt ’s Student Action
The Egyptian Cabinet is preparing over the next few days for approving the new student regulation bill law which was ratified by the Universities Supreme Council on Thursday, July, 5th. This bill law contains articles which are more serious than 1979 regulation.
Instead of including articles which have been repeatedly demanded by student movements of introducing provisions that give more freedom in action to student unions and exclude the intervention of the security services and University Presidents in the the student activities and reviving Egypt student union which was canceled by 1979 regulation, the new bill law of the student unions includes tough provisions, including:
-Conditioning a turnout of at least 50% of the students eligible to vote to consider the elections valid, a condition which can’t be provided even in the general elections.
-If the turnout doesn’t reach 50%, the turnout of the turnoff must reach 25% of the students who are eligible to vote.
-If this turnoff turnout doesn’t reach 25%, the dean of the faculty issues a decision of appointing the student union.
- No political activities are allowed. The faculty dean’s permission must be taken before the heads of the student unions send invitations to any visitor outside the campus.
- Forming a council for coordinating student activities, to be headed by the faculty student affairs principal. This means maintaining the policy of administrative and security interventions.
Disadvantages of 1979 Regulation
Worth noting, the 1979 student regulation was previously criticized for the following points:
1- The target of the Student Groups Committee backfired. This is because the regulation put obstacles for Cairo University students this year. No student group has been registered this year, specially after the youth secretariat conditioned 50 students as a minimum number of members to form a student group, while law considers this a maximum.
2- Inequality among students. This is clear in preventing students in the affiliation system from participating in unions or elections.
3- Cancelling the position of head of the Union .
4- The regulation banned establishing any sectarian-based, political-based or religious-based organizations or formations in the university.
5- The regulation cut any contact between the students and iconic men of letters. This is because no seminar is staged unless the dean or deputy dean of the faculty gives an official approval.
6-The regulation gave University Presidents many powers through using unspecific and twisted phrases.
7- It didn’t regulate schedules related to elections. For example, Al-Azhar University declares the list of nominations on the day of the elections while Cairo University declares it at 9.00PM on the eve of the election day.
Students Reject the New Regulation
For his part, Amr Hamed, Amr Hamed, the head of Egypt ’s Free Student Unions, told Ikhwanweb that approving the new student regulation confirms that the Egyptian government maintains its policy of restricting the student activity and it even kills any student free creativity.
Hamed added:” I do not know why the government deals with students in such a way. We, Egyptian students, demanded amending 1979 regulation and introducing some other provisions that may activate the student activity and give more freedom to students.
Hamed pointed out that the new provisions introduced to the regulation that will be approved during the coming days only add more restrictions on the student action.
He confirmed that all students reject this unjust regulation as it doesn’t address aspirations of the students.
What Students Need
Sawasiya human rights center also condemned this unreasonable way of approving the new student regulation. The center pointed out that all the content of the new regulation bill has been derived from ideas proposed by the National Democratic Party presented in its 4th annual conference (September 2006). The NDP proposed monopolizing university student activity and forming a general framework for the student activities (cultural, social and sports activities), and providing the financial support for carrying out such activities.
Sawasiya demanded the Cabinet filling the huge gap between its deeds and speech through amending some provisions in this new regulation to be in line with the Prime Minister’s call for a student regulation that allows participation of all students.
The center demanded also paying attention to other bill laws introduced by the civil society institutions, including the student regulation prepared by Sawasiya center and the one offered by student opposition powers in the university. It called for:
-Focusing on both education and politics
-Cutting prices of university books
-Making students qualified for the labor market
_Giving a bigger space for the political activity
-Holding free elections
-Giving freedom to forming student groups without any restriction
-Cancelling conditions restricting nomination of students in unions due to political affiliations
-Not to deprive students of their right to live in the university dormitories.
Sawasiya center called on all student movements to reject the new regulation in order to defend student rights, close ranks among all students, reviving the spirit of solidarity among them, and holding dialogues culture and implementing democratic principles inside and out side the campus.