University heads adopt recommendations on students’ partisan activism

1 University Clock tower
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Presidents of public universities met at a retreat at the University of Jordan Saturday to discuss the organization of party work among university students and their participation in political life adopted a number of recommendations, Al-Ghad News reported.اضافة اعلان

The retreat was held to follow up on the July 26 meeting between His Majesty King Abdullah and the heads of public universities, during which the King urged youths at universities to assume a key role in the political modernization process and participate in platform-based political parties.

In a separate meeting with deans of students’ affairs at public universities on August 15, HRH Crown Prince Hussein said that universities are pillars of political modernization, being incubators of young people with various political leanings.

During Saturday’s meeting, the presidents drafted a number of recommendations, among which a call to involve students in drafting legislation that regulates political life.

They also agreed that university administrations must revise the way they communicate with students, to encourage their engagement in the political process and boost their political awareness and participation.

They underscored that the development of active citizenship stems from the right to engage in political life.

The presidents pointed out that encouraging the national duty to engage and participate in public affairs requires that public institutions and the media work together to create awareness, while adopting policies targeting the youth and making this duty part of societal culture and public behavior.

They noted that developing responsible citizenship requires carrying out deep reforms of educational and cultural institutions.

The presidents agreed that there is need to pinpoint sources of concern about the practice of partisan work and to find clear answers and solutions.

Finally, they agreed that there is need for universities to reconsider their curricula and formulate them in a modern and systematic way.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, the head of the Royal Committee to Modernize of the Political System, Samir Al-Rifai, said that universities should not to be turned into arenas for partisan disputes, stressing his opposition to student unions being partisan, so that educational institutions remain neutral.

The head of the Independent Electoral Commission, Musa Maaytah, said that the process of political modernization requires the dissemination of a democratic culture in local communities and among the new generations. He added that there is need for a real revolution in education that works on modernizing curricula and rehabilitating teachers, in order to stop indoctrinating students so that they can develop scientific critical thinking that makes them open to the ideas and opinions of others, and helps them realize that dialogue is the way to learn about new ideas and that facts are not absolute, but relative.

Partisan work in universities should not be regulated through legislation, only a “clear text that stresses students’ right to practice partisan work”, he said.

President of Yarmouk University Islam Massad said that the regulation organizing partisan work in universities was set without taking the opinion of students, while President of the University of Science and Technology Khaled Al-Salem indicated that “this experiment is nascent, and we are concerned with its success without haste”.

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