Monday, April 4, 2011

Ambassador's Statement


I'm not too involved with the Guc business anymore; more relevant people are doing that task. But I received this on email from the embassy yesterday and I couldn't let it pass without a few thoughts. I'll only touch this briefly and it should be up to you - gucians - to lead the discussion, leave comments if you want, and I'll put it together to formulate the response. In the meantime .. (blue italics are my comments)


Cairo, 4 April 2011
Michael Bock
   
German Ambassador
on the German University in Cairo



The young people of Egypt have brought the promise of democracy and rule of law to their nation. It was deeply gratifying to witness students of the German University in Cairo at the forefront of the peaceful revolution. As a consequence, Egyptians everywhere are now asking how a higher degree of participation and responsibility can be achieved. This question is also being asked at the country's universities.

As a member of the GUC's Board of Trustees, I take a deep interest in these developments and, in particular, in the current debate on how the university should function and be further improved. I know that all my fellow board members, whether they are Egyptian or German, are committed to this goal.
I don't doubt the sincerity of the ambassador,but if the other members of the board had really been committed to this goal, how come they tried to shut down the discussion with (allegedly) threats and (factually) suspensions? And how come they refused to listen, respond or set a meeting with the students as they requested during the last board meeting?   

We can be proud of what GUC has achieved since it opened its doors to the first students just 8 years ago. GUC today provides a higher education that is among the best in Egypt and the entire region. GUC alumni go on to be highly successful in both the professional and academic spheres; the feedback I get on the quality of graduates is excellent.
Concerning Alumni: the guc releases no data, on what criteria is 'highly successful .. professional and academic ..', do we have reports on Alumni placements? positions? research achievements? how they compare through the region (say Auc) ?    




GUC is a private university under Egyptian law and is dependent on its students' tuition fees. Admission to GUC is not, however, limited to those with the necessary financial means. We believe that the GUC system of reductions and grants gives talented students from all backgrounds a chance to receive an outstanding education. GUC invests heavily in people, equipment and infrastructure. Shareholder value is quite evidently not the university's first priority.

There's a lot to say here, but mainly: 'necessary financial means' 'invests heavily in people, equipment and infrastructure' as many times as we asked, the university was never forthcoming or transparent whenever  questions were posed by students and faculty that the Guc does not, in fact, invest heavily at all in any of those three categories - the most advertised of those equipment like the dmc for example (digital media campus) were not open for real use by students since they were installed - the industrial park is too inaccessible and students go through a long process to get authorization to work in it and some machines are off-limits as well (according to materials science students).

But the main question is: if the Guc does really place education financially first, then why does it not respond to any inquiries in financial spending? instead more and more fees are levied on students (you can't check your final exam grade unless you pay a 'remarking' fee! does any respectable university in the world force students to pay should they wish to see their grades? 'Shareholder value .. first priority' I really cannot agree with that statement, unless the Guc was willing to provide strong and factual evidence. The facts on the ground - what we see with our own eyes every day, is that more and more policies are introduced which increase profit and do not contribute to a better quality of education - quite the opposite, sometimes. .

GUC devises its curricula in cooperation with leading German universities. Most of its curricula are compatible with the Bologna process and the great majority of them are accredited by ACQUIN, the German Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute. GUC also has the highest number of Germans on the teaching staff of any German university abroad worldwide. The German government funds extensive mobility programmes for GUC students and scholars.
The initial promise of the Guc was that degrees would be awarded from the Universities of Stuttgart and Ulm, this was part of the reason many of us enrolled. Why did the two patron Universities not go through with this agreement, if the Guc curricula was as good as they initially deemed? Bearing in mind that the two rectors of those universities are in the Guc's board of trustees. As for ACQUIN, 'the great majority' means some curricula are not  accredited? 'even though Guc?  The Guc claims '.. fully accredited courses and degrees ..'.

'highest number of Germans' but not the '50%' explicitly promised? how much is the percentage, then? 'the German government funds mobility programs ..' yet the Guc does not let most students go through these programs unless they pay certain fees to the Guc while they're away - that is, while they're not even attending in the Guc (the University claims those fees are for costs like flight and dorms, but when students asked to handle their own arrangements because the Guc's were much more expensive they were refused)  .. This happens in visits to both Ulm and Stuttgart, the rectors of those two Universities should know. 

Also, the ACQUIN accreditation is based on the Guc's promise of 8 semesters international degrees (for Engineering) the Guc broke that promise and in fact, forced students to stay and pay fees for the fifth year or they would not get the international degree they already fulfilled the requirements to - this is beyond their right even as a Business Entity with which we had a set agreement and then they do not deliver what they promised in that agreement.   
 
GUC's educational vision is not limited to academic quality. Students are encouraged to be an active and responsible part both of their immediate environments and society at large. In the next days, the students of GUC are to elect a student union. It will voice their views and concerns and thus contribute to a more open and structured communication at GUC. Germany continues to support this process and I myself remain personally committed to it.
'Students are encouraged to be active' 'voice their views' '.. open ..'? how are they encouraged if, for protesting - peacefully and without any harm to anyone- 15 of them were suspended and they're only back at the Guc now because they 'committed' to not breaking the 'rules' again? how can we say that, when we know there has been allegations of threats and harassment to student and faculty representatives during the past couple of weeks and no inquiry, no response, was issued from the University to those allegations nor have the Embassy responded formally to our demands to look into the situation? 

Effectively, the Guc sent a message by its last actions: Students are not allowed to voice their concerns openly or they would be target, what would be the use of those students being in a 'union' - the bylaws of which give the University the power to 'discipline' the entire 'organization' should any of this unions committee members make a 'false statement ..  either orally or in writing .. to any University employee .. outside media .. external organizations ' 'the organization shall be subject to discipline'. Those last three quotes were taken from the official bylaws.


I'm assuming determining its a 'lie' and deciding on the 'discipline' are both tasks in the hand of the University's management.  

'open communication'?

 




*****
Edit: Because the law prohibits personal insults, I'll have to remove any comments with swearing or cursed-words against any individuals, should someone feel that a certain content in the blog personally offends them, they're welcome to contact me and I'll rectify the situation - this is about ideas, not people.
*****
     

31 comments:

  1. If the Board are committed to this goal in first paragraph, I would have seen them communicating with students and GUC Community to remove any misunderstanding or encourage transparency and open-mindness. instead the board just went hush hush, even on the mass student expulsion, which is not something I would expect from Europeans that believe in freedom of speech or Egyptians who suffered from the lack of it, on the board.

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  2. Commenting on third paragraph concerning GUC achievements after 8 years and the Alumni ... first could anybody tell me why GUC doesn't have an "Alumni Association" despite I know that somebody have founded a DAAD Alumni Association before. and why even GUC Alumni does not care to establish this association, it's because GUC successfully never gained the loyalty of GUC alumni, plus all the bureaucracy and arbiterness alumni faced before graduation, made them just glad they finished and do not even want to look back. so how was this successfulness measured, if the GUC does not care to interact or encourage alumni.

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  3. commenting on the GUC 8 years achievements please view http://gucian.againstthesystem.org/home/?p=198 ... as this article written in 2004, the main points and problems where extracted to find that all thing promised back then to be solved in 2010 or even before are not dealt with. also the fact that 2004 problems is the same and now we are in 2011 does tell much abt the GUC management attitude and lack of transparency and unwillingness to change

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  4. frustrated gucianApril 5, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Shallow replies in a tone of the same cliches we have been hearing. It's either this man has been indoctrinated or he lives in a Utopian world of reports issued directly by the "owners" of the "supermarket".

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  6. what exactly did they achieve mr Ambassador?

    how exactly are we the best in region, for God's sake, for Christ's sake?

    How, compare GUC to.... AUC, King Saud univeristy, AUS( american university in SHarjah), all Israeli Universities of course are better, Maritime academy (academeya ba7areyya) engineering is better than us,,,,

    be honest people please

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  7. A Response to the Ambassador's statement about the Alumni, who are actually do not exist in GUC world asasn

    http://gucian.againstthesystem.org/home/?p=258

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  8. I don't know if the ambassador is aware that the problem with the system at the GUC is that it's absolutely non-transparent. Hence questions are always being raised; while no professional replies are set forward to counter these arguments. I don't know as well if the ambassador knows that the key problem at the GUC is autocracy and centralization of decision making which is no longer acceptable with this growing institute. If an institute is successful, then credit goes to EVERYONE involved. Everyone are PARTNERS in it's success; not to one single entity of the institute. If open discussions aren't guaranteed then the elements of the institute - it's people - will definitely loose their enthusiasm to serve the place and pushing it towards its TRUE potentials.

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  9. I'm a GUC student, and i can assure you this email makes no sense. The German staff working at the GUC can't be more than 10% plus they leave annually because they hate the system. Speaking about the GUC SU, The University gave us a non-fuctional SU, strict rules for candidates to apply and no participation in the management part of the university even on the staff regarding the students. There is no link between The Upper management and the students of the GUC. They even suspended students protested against that SU.

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  10. I'm surprised at the fact that a German official wrote such a statement.
    It's a mere sentimental statement. Taking no one's side with many false claims that are not supported by quantified information or solid comparisons. An easy way to escape criticism for similar statements, is to diplomatically list hollow facts that cannot really pinned down, speak on behalf of others (e.g. students ... ). List lots of positive hints and references about the GUC, but most importantly, avoid any objective discussion of any points raised.

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  11. ahmed el ma3arryApril 5, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    utter nonsense, GUC achieved nothing, and they made nothing, all i see is haughtiness from the Sacred "upper management", and all i see are stuck up security officers who think they are amn dawla, and all i see is engineering students, who dont do any tangible thing, except for media or cs, the rest is utter chaos,

    all i see is a money sucking machine for make ups, let alone make ups, even there trips to germany are freakin expensive given that they own the house over there in ULM,

    all i see is a system that is always "closed", "wa2e3", or always were one is treated as an "individual case"

    all i see is a complaint center full of them, and dosnt do shit,

    all i see is a very bad education i got myself, all i had to do to make sure is open this following website

    (www.ocw.mit.edu ) and check courses of your college there, try to solve one of them exams..

    all i see is alumni that half of them working in their parents work , or looking for work , and a lot of them when they even apply for a univeristy afterwards,for postgraduate studies, get laughed at there transcript

    all i see is a goddamn admission that knows nothing and does nothing

    IT that is most retarded on earth, how come they put the money of the cap and gown on the financial records of some students, who werent even in the goddamn graduation?

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  12. ranya ragy abdallahApril 5, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    LMFAO

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  13. HOW COME YOU SAY THAT,,,,

    BUT AMBASSADORS ALL KNOW HOW TO SAY GOOD STATEMENTS, BUT I AM SORRY YOU SHOULDNT HAVE SAID IT..

    WHY SAY THAT, ARE YOU TRYING TO ATTENUATE THEIR ANGER, I AM SORRY BUT THIS JUST PISSES ME OFF AS A STUDENT

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  14. This just makes absolutely no sense of any kind, i'm just reading exactly what we have been hearing from the board since we started this whole thing and as a GUC student i can say that what's in here doesn't make any difference to anyone except that it will get lots of people pissed off.

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  15. I am a 2007 graduate , I was among the first students to join GUC , It was crystal clear from the beginning that no student union will be formed what so ever and any activity that took place after that ( under huge pressure) was really concerned to stay away from religion or politics ( high security orders from ministry of interior affairs.)
    I have been watching the PEACEFUL protests in GUC at close proximity and I find the SU request is sensible.

    GUC is just a small scale of what was the former regime doing , over all aspects, they have been hiring low quality professor by time, preferring professors, TA , Admin who are relatives to each others or relatives to people in high power in the state, GUC in 2-3 years became one big family ,e.g. when you make a complain at the complains department, they don’t raise it because the complain department head is a relative to the admission manager ( complained) and by default EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT SIR.
    I am sorry to say that GUC have brought the German reputation of quality and education to a lower degree than it deserves .

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  16. as to be fair enough,i advice every person concerned with the future of a whole generation must reopen and re investigate about the university and and to ask the students whether the improvements and the money the management is paying to support the students and the facilities and the research process in the university is reflected on them or not....as i believe that the student are the best scale ever not statistics and documents

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  17. it's all about dirty business!

    1-GUC is a profitable organization
    2-it is profitable organization
    3-profitable organization
    4-..............
    5-....................
    6-......................
    7-....................
    8-.......................
    9-profitable organization
    10-educational organization

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  18. With all due respect Sir, but u have been brainwashed (i say brainwashed, because i don't expect someone as ethical and highly educated as your excellency to be involved in such GUC play)
    I bet anyone, if u carry out a survey randomly questioning GUCians (either staff, students or alumni),if they're satisfied with the education/facilities/sums of money paid........more than 7/10 people would strictly disagree. Please Sir look into such situation, and don't be fooled by an "EMPTY", clean university. In the end we're there for the best education...mmmm...RIGHT????!!

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  19. With all respect Sir, but it seems that you're missing some information. If the "shareholder value" is not the university's first priority, why our campus buildings isn't finished yet.. sorry, I meen isn't established even. The progress of the building process isn't even normal, it is under the normal rate. If your statement is true, so why it is not allowed for students to use the industrial park at all, taking in consideration that it is working, howerver we were told befor that it is made for students to practice. If I try to mention all problems related to the "priorities", I would say that it is impossible.

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  20. Mr. Michael Bock,

    I am sorry to inform you that I have passed through different universities in the past 6 years. I have realized that any Production process consists of 3 Main steps: 1-Preproduction. 2-Production. 3- Postproduction.
    When it comes to education
    1-Preproduction = Planning
    a) Fixed Curriculum plan.
    b) Fixed courses plans along with the fixed criteria.
    c) Preparation of Materials.
    d) preparation of workspace.
    e) alternative solutions and Exit Plans for emergencies.

    The GUC does NOT have any which interprets 1 of the 2 meanings:
    1- The members of Upper management do NOT care about the educational process.
    2- The members of Upper management do Not know how to develop a proper educational environment.
    and to add to this disaster, they are not accepting that anyone helps them with their work. which also interprets 2 meanings:
    1- that they are leading a conspiracy against the students and they do Not want that to be revealed.
    2- Their Arrogance is at a high level enough to make them refuse any help and think that we can Not lead groups as they do.
    ----------------------------

    If you are a member of trusties this means that you have power to force change. Your concern is appreciated but as long as it is not followed by action, your concerns mean nothing to us.

    Ehab Nabil

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  21. It's more than simple, this is a family business of a sole goal: profit. They don't work in the manner they allege they do and the last thing they may ever think of doing is to be committed to their word...a simple example I would like to share: I was an (A) student for 5 yrs in GUC and as promised we will find a vacant position to tutor in our own university. Of course this was a dream that barely came true after I fought for it for about 2 months. I had to fight for it only because I applied after the winter semester started and this in return was attributed to my undefined military status which was later defined in November. After numerous trials, I successfully secured myself a position as a "part-timer" for 3 months only. I didnt object and took it on. I was later forced into tutoring a second subject without my consent. I also didnt reject and took the job on hoping that this would be an add to my CV when i seek to renew my contract. I received bunches of recommendations from TA's, doctors, students, and the Dean herself. I got struck by the reality when after my contract was over, I had no place in this uni., I was cast away of my own uni after being promised during my study years that we will find a position. Bottom line, just to let you know how I feel without insulting anyone, although being a member of the first class to graduate from GUC, I would never recommend GUC for anyone I care about......

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  22. with due respect to you sir..but you did not give us any suitable answer for any question mentioned..you are talking in a very diplomatic lingo which is more biased to university and the upper management not for the students intrest!!
    and for me as a gucian..i did not get any beneift from this university..neither education nor facilities as i am in a private uni.and um gonna advice any student want to join a respectful university not to get involved in this!! and as the university are concerning just the profit..they will lose after few years bec. the bad reputation they enjoy now...and i'll try not to make any one deceived.like what happened to me when i enter it to learn and to be well educated and Treated well..not to find that alot of doctors are disqualified..and to be susbended just bec. i demand my legal right!! so plz mr ambassador be more realistic and know where is the mistake and try to fix it..because this all is just for your own interst..to satisfy the students and to rearrange your image again not to defend about those who are damaging the german image here in egypt!!

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  23. *M*
    Am really ashamed to study in the GUC ..... i wish i really knew why there's the letter G ? is it for German ? :D i think it's more of an atheopian univeristy ....German Staff ? Administration ? Admission ? IT ? Functional SU ? Credit hours manipulation ? ......... with all do respect , please reconsider this letter , Sir.

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  24. read tonight on my blog my letter to the ambassador and mehdar please send it to him on my behalf as i don't know the email , it contains all report needed of protests since start and hope i won't get suspended again

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  25. he is either ignorant and weak or actually an accomplice.
    both are serious problems

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  26. is this ambassador even qualified for his job? this is insane! he didnt even bother to research the topic before the statement

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  27. howa el fasad wasal almanya? ya sater ya rab. ya rab onsorna 3ala el qawm el fasedeen

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  28. i once read a story in the headlines, was very strange for me as an Egyptian and from that time i respected Europeans even more than i used to before it, what was that story?

    there was a cat that was up a tree, they couldnt bring it down, they ordered a special unit for that, and for that i really respected their values, not that story happened in GERMANY..

    now, if you want to compare that to what happened by the GUC with the students, i am really sorry to say that, but they really dont respect us

    i wont even compare us to the German students who i am sure if 1/10 of what happened to us, happened to us, this would have reached not only the German parliament, but would have reached the EU, Amnesty international, and human rights watch,

    the Ambassador should carefully review his statement, he should carefully study the case, i bet that you Mr. Bock, never even entered the GUC, unless through ur diplomatic car into the graduation, but i highly doubt you saw the students in protests, not even in the videos, without food, without blankets, what kind of treatment is that??

    how is that acceptable in Germany, ?

    how do they suspend students for saying what they want.?

    who in Europe would accept that?

    or is it because we are Egyptians?

    if you would deal with this university that is a German entity, than please remove your name from it, but dont allow them to do that to students, just because Germans profit from it, i am sorry but that is not acceptable, if it has the name of Germany on it, it should be German,

    I dealt with the AUC, it is truely American, from the gates , as soon as yoou enter, you just feel the difference, in everything,

    on behalf of the revolution, i dont allow you or Mr Hans Wolff, or Mr Ebeling, or Mr Ashraf Mansour, or Mr Mahmoud Abdelkader to twist the truths and nobody will twist the truths anymore

    nobody will twist the arms of student anymore, if we get treated bad, we will object, and we will be a pain in ue lives until you correct, or revoke your agreements, and remove your names, and your profits from here, and let us deal with the Egyptians alone, but dont add to their corruption by covering it..!!!


    thank you all

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  29. Why are you taking this man's concern, we need someone who had at least not only spent a day at our university but dealt with the system too, this guy is an ambassador, he spends most of his time at the embassy not the university, he just got connections with the upper management and whatever B.S they will send him, he will take it, don't u think

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  30. You have to know that this Guy might be even getting some of the shares as a member of the board of trustees and hence he will defend the GUC management to get more payments. As Karim mentions his response has great arrogance against the Egyptian students.

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  31. I HATE GUC...i wish i could graduate to leave&never come again i saw my worst dayz there
    slow,old ,unworked system..fees are increasing without any good reasons,you cant even talk to your DR if you found him,evaluate academics>>>>SUCKS,they never listen

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