Faculty members from nine universities go on partial strike

Faculty members of nine universities went on a partial strike Tuesday, as a preliminary step towards further escalation regarding demands approved by the general conference for faculty members in Egyptian universities on 31 March.

The protesting university professors are demanding improvements to financial, occupational, and social conditions, the independence of their universities and an end to interference in university affairs. They are also demanding free education for students, and an increased budget for scientific research, while rejecting the passage of a new law regulating university work without the participation of faculty members in its drafting.

At Cairo University, dozens of faculty members organized a protest outside the University Dome. The protesters rallied around the campus, asking their colleagues to join in.

The protesters carried large banners bearing the phrases, “Faculty members strike for the dignity of university faculty members” and “For a new law and increased scientific research budget.”

At Ain Shams University, a number of faculty members organized a symbolic protest outside the Zaafaran Palace to participate in the partial strike.

Faculty of Arts Assistant Lecturer Sherin Sayed said that "participation in the strike is the first step in achieving all faculty member demands and discussions will take place between faculty members to determine if the partial strike will suffice, or if there will be a general strike in order to achieve the demands."

Hundreds of faculty members at Zagazig University organized a protest in solidarity with the faculty member protest to demand higher salaries.

Yaqout Sanusi, of the 31 March General Conference of faculty members, said the partial strike is "a warning that took place for one hour from 12 to 1 pm, and there was good participation at the universities of Alexandria, Helwan, Tanta, Menoufia, Suez Canal and South Wadi. He went on to say that dozens of faculty members from other universities also participated such as at Cairo and Zagazig Universities.

He added that faculty members were currently discussing how to escalate to include a general strike on 1 May.

Meanwhile, Vice Chairman of the Advisory Council for Higher Education Khaled Samir said that Council members met with the People's Assembly’s Education Committee and Planning and Budget Committee on Monday for nearly eight hours. During the meeting, they agreed “not to accept any draft law presented by anyone other than faculty members, and that the committee awaits the law that is currently being drafted and which reflects that which the faculty members agreed upon and which includes the views and proposals of some 35,000 members."

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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