The Egyptian Higher Council of Universities dissolves all student unions in all the 20 public universities. The council will conduct new elections no later than 60 days from the dissolution.
The council, headed by the newly appointed education minister, Ahmed Gamaleddin Moussa, said that the decision was in conformity with the "25 January principles and to instil transparency and justice".
Student union elections were held on October 2010, and like previous years, were marred with violations.
Students, mostly affiliated to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, were disqualified from the list of candidates allowing NDP-affiliated students hand-picked by security bodies to win the polls, in many cases uncontested.
University administrators had justified their actions saying that disqualified students did not meet nomination requirements, according to the student charter, of a "good reputation." The charter was established in 1979 and ammended in 2007. This vague stipulation was widely used to shut out both leftist and Islamist applicants who participate in protests and other activities which could be construed by the university as trouble-making.
Since the early 20th century student unions have played an extensive role in many political upheavals that changed the course of Egypt's history. Two famous cases in point are the student activists at the forefront of the 1919 Revolution against British occupation as well as the 1971-73 campus-based demonstrations demanding that Egypt go to war with Israel.
Additionally, the council decided to hold a dialogue with the university professors to discuss amending or changing the law regulating universities, issued in 1971. The bone of contention in the law was always, according to professors, related to their wages.
A committee will be formed to establish criteria for professors’ wages according to their productivity.
It was also decided that all public universities will start the second term on 5 March, after a three week postponement.