Protesting Egyptian Students Demand Removal of Education Ministers

In Egypt, student unions and political parties are calling for the dismissal of ministers responsible for violations against students and an end to a new protest law. In a press conference on November 30th, representatives of six university Student Unions and the student representatives of eight political parties and movements demanded the dismissal of the Minister of Higher Education Hossam Eissa and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

During a press conference at the Egyptian Popular Current office in Cairo, the students said the Minister of Higher Education is politically responsible for violations that have taken place within universities, and the Interior Minister is responsible for the recent killing of students, demanding they be held accountable for their decisions, Ahram Online reports.

According to students, all detained students should be released, decisions to dismiss protesting students should be revoked and the government should rescind its controversial protest law.

On November 28th, Mohamed Reda, an engineering student, was shot dead during clashes between students and security forces at Cairo University while police attempted to disperse protesting students. Most students are supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Hundreds of students have been detained in recent weeks as police continued a four month-long crackdown on members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A student supporter of Morsi was shot dead on November 21st during clashes with security forces in Cairo. According to police officials, they did use other than water cannons and teargas in dispersing university protests.

Students represented hail from Cairo University Union, Helwan University Union, Ain Shams Union, Alexandria University Union, the Kafr El-Sheikh student Union, Banha student Union, Egyptian Popular Current students, Constitution Party students, the Social Democratic Party students, the Bread and Freedom movement, Students of Freedom movement, students of the Socialist Alternative, Revolutionaries of the Cairo University Engineering Faculty and the Tahrir movement.

Universities have been a hotspot for protests in recent months. While Muslim Brotherhood students have been holding protests in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, non-Islamist student groups have recently escalated demonstrations against the detention of fellow students and the new protest law.

In late November, interim president Adly Mansour issued a protest law approved by the cabinet, allowing the Interior Minister or senior police officials to cancel, postpone or change the location of a protest. The ministry requires advance notification of any planned demonstration. The law also applies to public meetings.

A new report by World Economic Forum reveals that Egypt is the worst country in the world when it comes to the quality of primary education. The Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 assessed the competitiveness landscape of 148 economies and provides insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.

The report, which is based on the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Indicator, ranks Egypt at the 118th position overall, a full 11 places lower than last year. The Global Competitiveness Indicator is an aggregate of 114 indicators grouped under 12 categories of “drivers of productivity and prosperity,” including institutions, financial markets, technological readiness, and health and education, among others.