For days, hundreds of students have been marching through the palm-dotted campus of the university, demanding a cap on their tuition. The demonstrations are the largest and longest-running at the institution in years, reflecting how Egypt’s economic woes have touched nearly everybody in this stratified society of 91 million people, The New York Times reports:
Timothy Kaldas, nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, said that wealthy Egyptians spent a significant amount on education, and that most private schools based tuition on the value of the dollar, because they had many foreigners as faculty members.
Egypt’s government has been grappling with soaring inflation, a plunging currency and shortages of basic goods. To secure a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and stave off economic collapse, the government was forced to make significant economic changes, including letting the currency trade freely and reducing energy subsidies, The Times adds.
Egyptians empowered President Sisi through a coup, and later a presidential election, in order to improve the state’s functioning and get the economy moving, Carnegie analyst Michele Dunne (right) writes for Diwan. What they have three years later is a state that is not accountable to citizens in any meaningful way—as all competitors and alternatives have been eliminated—and an economy that is in much worse shape than it was in 2013, adds Dunne, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy.