David Wheeler, the editor of Al-Fanar Media, received the following letter from Elsayed Ahmed Abdelkhalek, the minister of higher education in Egypt, and we are pleased to be able to publish it. We strive for balance in our coverage and welcome all such commentary as this one.
5th of JULY, 2015
Dear Mr. Wheeler:
It is with much interest that I am keeping track of the coverage your respectable newspaper and website are giving to the status of higher education and universities in Egypt. I also appreciate the keenness with which you are addressing the Egyptian university issue.
However, this coverage is sometimes tinged with mistaken, incomplete and mysterious information. Therefore, to clarify all facts before world and Egyptian opinion, I would like to refer to the following:
First: Since 25th of January revolution incidents and throughout this academic year, Egyptian universities have witnessed for the first time stability and discipline in all aspects of the educational process.
Second: This success is due to an integrated vision and system set to establish security and stability within universities and safeguard them against falling into irrelevant political conflict. This system includes securing all university gates, the entrance of students and professors, regularity of academic theoretical and practical lectures, and lastly the arrangements made for students to take exams.
Third: The security handling of students, teaching staffs or others is subject to legal actions starting with arresting a person in the process of committing a crime like possession of weapons, explosives or burning materials and ensuring that he/she intentionally means to cause damage or harm to public properties or persons whose safety is under the responsibility of the concerned educational institution. He/she is then interrogated by the concerned authorities according to law and is awarded all natural rights of self-defense. The university takes no punitive action against this person unless he/she is proved guilty by a final court verdict.
Fourth: The university security system also includes many communication activities with students and tens of constructive initiatives to contain them. In this connection, we regret that you haven’t covered these activities and initiatives and spotted the light on them. We always seek to respond to students’ demands as long as they concern the educational process or university issues. We also have a lot of open files which your media coverage doesn’t reach like upgrading university hospitals and technical higher education, and developing a new strategy and a new law for higher education in Egypt.
Fifth: Discussions on upgrading universities and developing the new higher education law are being conducted in a friendly atmosphere with university presidents who work as one university family aiming at boosting the interest of the nation, students, professors and working staffs. Final decisions are reached by the agreement of university presidents.
Sixth: The ministry of higher education would like to express its willingness to communicate with you through all available contact means and to answer your inquiries regarding any fact or information on higher education and universities in Egypt.
For bringing out all facts before public opinion, I would be very grateful to you for publishing this explanation.
Prof. Elsayed Ahmed Abdelkhalek
Minister of Higher Education