CAIRO: Members of the education committees of both the Shoura Council (Upper House of Parliament) and the People’s Assembly (PA) asked for a review of plans to build 17 new civil universities.
The plan was announced by President Hosni Mubarak during the opening speech of the 2008-2009 parliamentary session last Sunday.
In the meeting, which was also attended by Education Minister Hani Helal, Shoura MPs Nagi Al-Shahaby and Shawky Al-Sayed said that the government files many incomplete project drafts to the PA and Shoura council, advising the government to send all of its proposals, including the new civil universities project, to the state council before handing them to parliament for examination and approval, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
However, Helal refused both MPs’ requests to send the civil universities project back to the state council, saying that it is not specialized enough to examine these kinds of projects.
Ali Laban, a member of the PA’s education committee, said that Mubarak suggested the establishment of not-for-profit universities to provide better education at a lower cost to address the education crisis facing the country.
However, Laban added, the president has been promising to build 17 universities for four years now, and “nothing has ever happened.
The MP suggested instead lowering the fees of private universities. “If the government is serious about doing something to improve its higher education status, it should do something to the huge fees of the private universities, and work on enhancing the national universities, he added.