Dozens of English-section students from Cairo University’s faculty of mass communication have started a strike, in response to the poor services they receive from their faculty administration.
On Monday, first and second year students gathered in front of the faculty’s main gate, held up signs expressing their dissatisfaction and chanted slogans calling for the faculty administration to consider their demands.
The students are complaining about the services they receive in return for their tuition fees of EGP 7,500.
“We don’t mind paying the EGP 7,500, we only mind paying it for nothing, as we are not allowed to use the faculty’s studios, we don’t have a wifi internet connection, and we don’t even attend our lectures at our faculty!” said Marwa Sherif, a second year student and one of the striking students.
The tuition fees for the previous academic year were EGP 7,000, this year it is EGP 7,500, and the fees include the books.
“The previous graduates used to pay around EGP 5,000, but we are paying more and getting photo-copied references, rather than original ones.” added Marwa.
The English section students attend their lectures outside the faculty premises, in Cairo University Examinations building, while the Arabic section students attend their lectures inside the faculty premises.
Moreover, the Arabic section students have access to the faculty studios, and they are given training and internships opportunities every year. In contrast, the English section students are deprived of such services.
On Sunday, the students met with Gehan Yousry, the vice dean of the faculty, and they submitted their demands to her. The demands included allowing English section students to attend their lectures on the faculty premises, allowing them to use the faculty studios, providing them with original books and references rather than photo-copies, granting them training opportunities, and providing them with a wifi internet connection.
Following the meeting the first and second students decided not to pay the tuition fees, and to organise a strike on Monday.
The faculty then announced a workshop organised by the BBC, to be held at the same time as the scheduled strike, inside the faculty premises.
“We are holding our strike, and we won’t let the faculty’s administration trick us by this workshop. Everything must be changed, from scratch.” Said Marwa.
On Monday evening the students met with Dr Hassan Emad Mekawy, the dean of the faculty, to discuss their demands.
“Dr Hassan declared his sympathy with our demands. However, he said there is no space for us inside the faculty premises, and that’s why we are attending lectures outside the faculty.” said Ghadeer Ali, a second year student.
“He also said that we [English section students] are not allowed to use the faculty studios because our bachelor degree is not specialised in Radio and Television broadcasting; rather it is a general bachelor of Mass Communication.” Added Ghader.
The faculty’s administration could not be reached for comments on the strike.
A similar strike is taking place at the faculty of economics and political science, also in Cairo University.