3 September 2014

Egypt: Private Security Companies Might Guard Universities - Higher Education Minister

Cairo — The ministry of higher education is studying offers by private security companies to guard universities, Minister Sayed Abdel Khalek said on Wednesday.

In a cabinet meeting, Abdel Khalek discussed with other ministers the measures adopted in preparation for the new academic year.

The minister said he held weekly meetings with university students. Students expressed their readiness to help administrative security in guarding the university gates to prevent acts of violence, a cabinet statement read.

Abdel Khalek said he will meet with university heads to follow up on the measures to be adopted during the new academic year. He added that there will be coordination with the ministry of interior regarding the safety of the students and the university buildings.

Other measures adopted by the minister include increasing the budget of certain university activities.

Cairo University head Gaber Nassar said on Sunday the university will abolish student groups that are affiliated with political parties starting the new academic year, due to start on October 11.

University campuses have witnessed unprecedented violence throughout the past academic year, with at least 16 students killed amid on-campus protests, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression's Student Observatory.

The pro-Mohamed Mursi "Students against the coup" movement has been organising protests against the former Islamist president's military ouster throughout the past academic year. Protests have often devolved into clashes with security forces.

During Wednesday's cabinet meeting, Abdel Khalek said there is a proposal to issue a legislation that would allow the expulsion of faculty members or staff who incite violence within university.

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