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Cairo's American University students protest tuition fee hike

Protestors at the Cairo campus called for a freeze in tuition fees [Twitter]

Date of publication: 8 November, 2016

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Crowds of students at the American University in Cairo protested on Monday against an expected sharp increase in tuition fees in wake of the country's dire economic crisis.
Crowds of students at the American University in Cairo [AUC] gathered on campus on Monday to protest at proposals for a major increase in tuition fees.

Students rallied against a plan put forward by university heads that could see fees nearly double in the wake of the floating of Egypt's national currency.

Protestors at the Cairo campus called for a freeze in tuition fees and held placards reading "education is not a luxury", amid fears that further education in Egypt was becoming increasingly reserved for the country's wealthy elite.

Last week, AUC's executive vice president for administration and finance said the Central Bank of Egypt's decision to float the pound will affect the university's revenues.

The university is set to begin "a series of discussions about the impact of the economy on AUC," Brian MacDougall said, adding that the administration was "keeping open all lines of communications" with the students.

The student union responded by posting a statement on its Facebook page saying that a tuition fee hike was "not manageable."

The Central Bank of Egypt liberalised the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound last Thursday, with the cost of goods and services expected to rise in the coming period.

Student activism on university campuses in Egypt have been fraught with danger in recent years, with a number of students put behind bars and many counting among the country's forced disappearances.

Tuition fees protests of AUC students follows trends seen in other Arab university campuses, mostly recently in Jordan where students took to activist politics to halt tuition fee hikes.

The New Arab has learned that AUC agreed to hold a meeting with students on Wednesday, ahead of confirming a tuition fee increase.

However protests are expected to continue on university premises until then.

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