Egypt new student bylaw passed despite student opposition

Ahram Online, Thursday 10 Jan 2013

Student unions across the nation say the new bylaw was approved without a referendum that was promised by education ministry officials

Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has endorsed a new bylaw that will usher in a new set of guidelines for students of higher education and the activities of student-led organizations across the nation.

The bylaw, which was passed on Thursday, was notoriously refuted by higher education students who'd been protesting against the bylaw since it was introduced last year.

Mostafa Mosaad, Egypt's minister of Higher Education, said the bylaw has already taken effect in accordance to Egypt's new constitution that was marginally approved in December 2011.

Mosaad added that student union elections would be held at the beginning of the school year's second term.

Students across Egyptian universities along with various student movements had been opposing the guidelines on grounds that it restricts certain rights and freedoms, claiming it was drafted behind closed doors and lacked consensus among students.

Yet to the dismay of many student activists, the new bylaw was ratified by the Egyptian Student Union, itself dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood without conducting a previously promised referendum.

Various Egyptian student groups signed a joint statement in October 2011 declaring the new university bylaw as illegitimate, stating that it was passed without their consent.

The signatories of the statement included several student unions including Cairo University, Helwan University and the American University in Cairo as well as a considerable number of partisan student-led movements.

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