The Egyptian Federation of Workers reiterated its concerns over the closure of the Workers University, the only university in Egypt and the Middle East for workers.
The federation called on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to review the decision.
A decision was made by the Supreme Council for Universities in Egypt in mid-April to stop accepting admissions for the upcoming academic year 2015/2016.
“This decision will ruin the lives of many working families, including at least 4,000 families of employees inside the university,” federation spokesperson Mostafa Rostom told Daily News Egypt. “We no longer buy the cabinet claims that it wants to provide work opportunities for as many Egyptians as possible.”
According to a federation statement, the Workers University is the tertiary education establishment open to students from modest income families. It currently has 35,000 students enrolled in its 11 branches across Egypt. The alleged reasons that the closure was due to corruption will also stigmatise millions of graduates who are currently working in the labour market, the statement added.
Ashraf Hatem, chief of the Supreme Council of Universities in Egypt, told Daily News Egypt: “The main reason behind closing the admission was to develop the university.”
He added: “Years ago, the university requested to have a certificate equivalent to the engineering faculty but when a committee went to review the campus they found it disqualified in terms of number of professors, quality of curriculum, and places.”
According to Hatem, the council has for the past three years requested that the cabinet start working on developing the university, with the cabinet response coming only in April.
The federation is now working on an initiative with universities in Italy to have a partnership with the Workers University and help students to work on workers’ edification. It also called on the government to “counter the intellectual acts of terrorism imposed by the governmental institutions, as much as they are fighting real terrorism”.
The Workers University, which was founded in 1985 under a presidential decree, is now closed indefinitely. A protest by students of the university took place in September 2014 calling to separate the university from the Workers Federation. They claimed they take private lessons with crafts teachers, buy books obligatory every year and do not receive them except one week before the exams. Additionally, the professors opt not to give them lectures because they are not paid their salaries.