CAIRO: The Shoura Council approved the new civil universities law despite a request filed by the People’s Assembly’s education committee to review it, Aly Laban, committee member, said.
The new law entails the establishment of 17 new non-profit universities, while stipulating that the Ministry of Higher Education be in charge of appointing half of their board of directors, leaving the other half up to the universities’ founders, investors and experts, Laban explained.
According to the new law, the Ministry of Higher Education is required to launch special funding projects to accommodate these universities.
A special committee under the ministry’s authority will also be set up to monitor the universities’ human resources and student and teacher affairs.
The PA’s education committee had conducted two meetings to discuss the new law during which it approved the law “in principle, but rejected some articles, Laban said.
Minister of Higher Education Hani Helal and experts such as Abdel Salam Abdel Ghaffar, former education minister, and Abdel Aziz Hegazy, former prime minister, participated in one of the meetings, said Laban. However, when they tried to express their viewpoints, Helal refused to listen and left the session, Laban added.
He attributed the law’s approval to the fact that the majority of seats in the Shoura Council are occupied by National Democratic Party members. He added that some of the Shoura Council’s members rejected the law but “their voices were ignored.
He expects the same result when the law comes back to the PA.
The plan to build 17 new civil universities was announced by President Hosni Mubarak during the opening speech of the 2008-2009 parliamentary session two weeks ago.
In a meeting last week Shoura members Nagy Al-Shehaby and Shawky Al-Sayed accused the government of filing several incomplete project drafts to the PA and Shoura Council. They went on to advise the government to send all of its proposals – the new civil law included – to the state council before giving them to parliament for approval.
However, Helal rejected the idea of sending the civil universities project back to the state council, saying that it is not specialized enough to examine such projects.