Only legal demands of students: Obaid
KABUL (PAN): The higher education minister on Sunday said every legal and academic demand of Kabul University students who had been on hunger strike a month ago would be accepted, accusing some “self-centered” lecturers of disrupting the education environment on the campus.
Nearly a month ago, some social sciences faculty students of Kabul University went on hunger strike in protest against the faculty dean, Farooq Abdullah and a lecturer, Faisal Amin, accusing them of discriminatory behavior.
As the hunger strike continued, higher education minister Obaidullah Obaid, accepting the demands of hunger strikers, suspended the two university teachers.
The move sparked more protests by other students. More than a thousand students and lectures staged a protest in favour of the suspended lectures and boycotted classes. They asked the government to reinstate the pair.
On Sunday, Obaid told Meshrano Jirga that his ministry would willingly accept all legal and academic demands of lectures and students.
He said lectures and students wanted to discuss the issue with the President instead of the higher education ministry. They had sent a list to the Presidential Palace calling for a meeting with the President on Monday, a demand President Karzai had accepted, the minister said.
Obaid accused some lectures of initially supporting hunger strikers and later switching the sides to support another and larger group of students who protested in favour of the lecturers. He said the attitude showed these lecturers wanted to disrupt the education environment on the campus.
Obaid claimed he had documents and video evidences against some lectures and that he would not stay calm to expose them. “I have several times insisted that the university environment should be academic not political,” he said.
First deputy Senate chairman Mohammad Alam Ezidyar said the higher education ministry should adopt proper measures at managing education environment in universities and should not let anyone to disrupt the education system.
“I am hopeful that president’s recommendations would resolve the problems of students and lectures,” Ezidyar, who presided over the session, said.
He asked Obaid to find ways on preventing discrimination against students in universities.
Obaid said not approving a law proposed by the higher education ministry by parliament had been a hurdle to the ministry’s plans.
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