Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1195, (1-7 May 2014)
Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Issue 1195, (1-7 May 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Chaos on campus

Chaos in the country’s universities has led to early exams and the presence of security forces on campuses, reports Reem Leila

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The second semester of this academic year is over almost one month earlier than scheduled, and now is the time for many students to sit for their finals. The second semester had also kicked off one month late, much to the distress of families and students who feared cancellations, the lack of security, and a reduced second semester leading to less time to study.

The Supreme Council for Universities (SCU) also decided on 23 April to allow the security forces onto campuses during the final year exams to maintain stability as well as students’ safety while they were sitting their exams. The decision came amidst violent clashes at Al-Azhar and Cairo Universities.

During the clashes at Al-Azhar University, at least 10 students and three professors were arrested and detained for 15 days pending investigations for inciting riots, blocking roads, and being affiliated to a terrorist group. At Cairo University, Muslim Brotherhood students blocked the traffic in front of the university premises, causing the police to disperse them with tear-gas.

Minister of Higher Education Wael Al-Degwi said that the police would be asked to secure the exams which are scheduled to begin on 3 May, as was the case during the first semester. “The violence aims at hindering the academic year as well as the final exams, but we are going to combat terrorism,” he said.

Al-Degwi said the violence could increase as a result of the actions of those he described as supporters of ousted former president Mohamed Morsi. “We are exerting great efforts to follow the country’s transitional road map that will see the presidential elections scheduled on 26-27 May,” he added. 

Ten days ago, the SCU issued a decree bringing forward the final exams for university students to 3 May for some faculties, whereas others were scheduled to start the exams at the end of April. The decision was condemned by some professors, students and their families, who described it as “ridiculous”.

On 29 April, there were protests in front of Cairo University in which students chanted slogans against the government and armed forces. The demonstrations took place in front of the faculty of law, as students demanded the release of their detained colleagues in order that they would be able to sit the final exams. They also demanded the reversal of the exam date decision.

Nour Mohamed, a law student, said there were more than 600 students in jail. “It is unfair to prohibit the detained students from sitting the exams. Although they are seen as culpable, they are still students and have a future for which they are longing. Isn’t it enough that they have brought the exams forward,” he asked.

Ahmed Zayed, a Cairo University professor, said that this academic year had been one of the worst he had experienced due to frequent clashes between the police and Muslim Brotherhood students. “The students are the only victims of what is going on. They are paying the price for this non-stop state of unrest,” he said.

President of Cairo University Gaber Nassar said that shortening the academic year was due to the political violence on campuses. “The exam questions will be limited to the parts of syllabuses already taught. The deans of different faculties have agreed to advance the date of the exams due to the exceptional circumstances being experienced by the country,” he said.

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