NO: 109 / 2019
Date: 30 Dec 2019
The International Commission (ICSPR) organizes a meeting entitled “Academic Freedoms in Palestinian Universities”
Occupied Palestine / Gaza: Monday, December 30, 2019, the International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) organized a meeting entitled: “The reality of academic freedoms in Palestinian universities”, at the headquarters of the Commission in Gaza City, in the presence of a group of lecturers Academics, unionists, and university students.
Salah Abdel-Atti, chairman of ICSPR emphasized that education is a fundamental right guaranteed by all customs and laws, and includes opinion, expression, scientific research and publication without interference or imposing penalties in a way that allows academics and students to enjoy a free atmosphere, indicating that the reality of universities is a reflection of the difficult reality Palestinian society suffers from.
Dr. Khaled Al Hallaq Dean of Foreign Affairs at the Islamic University: “Higher education in universities aims to provide higher education service to the Palestinian citizen, scientific research and enrichment of the Palestinian reality with creative solutions, and community service through continuous education that improves energies.” He emphasized that academic life includes freedom to specialize according to the limitations set by universities, and the freedom to choose the number of hours, different courses, lectures, and dates, stressing the importance of having student frameworks thinking fundamentally in the interest of the nation
Dr. Ayman Shaheen, head of the Syndicate of Workers at Al-Azhar University wonders: Is freedom of belief and thought protected, can the student contradict the professor’s opinion, can the professor contradict his university’s management and not pay the price, and can students choose their representatives as well as the general unions in Palestinian universities?. He stressed that there is a reluctance by students in universities to belong to politics, and that most of the unions of university workers are frozen under a lie called “division”, indicating that the reality gives an indication of the lack of academic freedoms within universities.
The participants recommended the necessity of stopping all forms of violation of academic freedoms in Palestine, and working to provide a societal and political environment that believes in respecting the independence of universities and scholars, respecting students and their rights, and their scientific and moral empowerment, applying the concept of university independence and preventing political interference in university affairs, and re-establishing a university educational system on the basis of flexibility and efficiency.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the International Commission announced its intention during the first half of 2020 to organize a scientific conference to discuss the crises that the higher education sector suffers from, with the participation of local, Arab and international stakeholders, in a way that contributes to drawing a new Palestinian strategy to organize the university education sector.