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Professors in Egypt on national strike.
Professors in Egypt on national strike.
Professors from the nation's public universities have scheduled stage demonstrations to be held Tuesday, March 23
Monday, March 22,2010 09:38
IkhwanWeb
Profeesors will protest to salary shortfalls, on-campus government security interventions, and demand institutional independence. During the protests, a one-hour cessation of classes at 11 AM will take place.

Disappointed university staff has confirmed that agreements which took place following the March 2008 strikes have had little result.

The government had concocted a plan to give professors raises, according to what they called 'performance raise,' "reported an angry Leila Soueif, a professor of mathematics at Cairo University."It was accepting a bad deal, rather than no deal."

At Cairo University, roughly one third of the professors opted to register for the new performance-based system, but say they are now facing six months of overdue payments. Where agreement had included raises salaries but also increased number of hours on campus.

According to Dr. Abdel Gelil Mustafa, a professor of medicine at Cairo University opposed the government-proposed system describing it as illogical. "When you have a low salary, the solution is that it should be raised, reasonably raised

Officials from the Ministry of Higher Education promised to overcome the payment problems acknowledging there were some problems however they believed the current performance-based system as effective

Dr. Tarek el-Desouky a professor of Medicine from the MB stressed that, while faculty members with political links to the MB would likely participate in the planned strike, the movement has no official role in the action. "Some doctors belonging to the National Democratic Party (NDP) will be involved in the strike, so political affiliation isn't relevant," said el-Desouky. 

Soueif claimed "That the professors were unhappy and it remains unclear what Tuesday's turnout will be, especially at Cairo University, since the faculty staff board has voted not to endorse the strike".

Ministry of Higher Education are not unionized and rely on what are, at least in theory, 20 independent faculty staff clubs to represent their interests.

But maintaining independent faculty staff clubs, many professors argue is a struggle in itself.

Professors are also challenging government security interventions on campus. An Administrative Court ruling in November 2008 asserted that the on-campus police presence unconstitutional referring to Article 317 of the Egyptian Constitution, which states that each university is responsible for creating its own security unit that answers to the University Dean, not to the Interior Ministry.

Academics and activists blame the government of illogically positioning security officers on campus to scrutinizing academic life, and in turn domineering intellectual freedom. In December 2006, for example, 140 students from the MB were arrested at Al-Azhar University after objecting to the university's conduct during student elections.

Furthermore, professors wishing to travel abroad for academic purposes are required to obtain security clearances from their respective university administrations also an illegal practice

According to Soueif "There are many cases where the university has invalidly delayed or refused [a professor's right to travel] without valid reason".

Allegations of government negligence and inadequate prioritizing of funds as well as theft of national resources are behind the issue of the deteriorating quality of university education in Egypt.

"Obviously, the government has its own preferences including media for propaganda to deceive people, as well as security apparatus.

The much larger salaries available to university professors outside Egypt counts as another cause for low-quality university education in Egypt.

tags: Egyptian Government / Democracy in Egypt / NDP / Azhar University / Professors / University Staff / Ministry of Higher Education / Government Security / University Administrations
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