By Maha Ellawati.
Amidst heightened security, National Congress President Mohamed Magarief paid a surprise visit to Benghazi University on Thursday, where . . .[restrict]he took questions from students who aired their grievances about the institution.
The Congressman arrived in an armed convoy of some 14 vehicles, together with members of the GNC’s Higher Education Committee, for talks with students at the Faculty of Medicine along with Benghazi University along with Benghazi University President Mohamed Daghim and a number of city officials.
Students said that amongst the many problems confronting the university were the poor quality of some faculty staff, undersized lecture halls, poor hygiene conditions, inadequately equipped labs and hospitals – where the students receive their training – and the inadequacy of the curriculum itself.
They also complained that a LD 90 grant allocated to all Benghazi University students was now three months overdue, whilst underprivileged students ware also not receiving the necessary report.
The breadth of the problems aired by students underpins the scale of the challenge now facing Libya’s politicians to meet the country’s high expectations in the aftermath of the revolution, in particular in places such as Benghazi wish suffer particular neglect under the former regime.
For his part, Magarief listened to the concerns and pledged that he together with other newly elected officials would do what they could to address the many problems that had been raised. He was then given a tour of the university to see some of the issues for himself, including an inspection of lecture theatres, laboratories and bathrooms.
In his opening address to the assembled, Magarief spoke of his own academic background as an alumnus of the University of Libya in Tripoli, where he graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Commerce in 1962, after which he returned to his hometown of Benghazi.
It was here at Benghazi University’s Faculty of Economics that Magarief said he had hoped to spend the rest of his life as a student lecturer. He was prevented from doing so after just one year by the Qaddafi regime, who considered his views and ideas an unacceptable threat.
Magarief also explained that, in spite of serving at different locations and under different circumstances, politicians such as himself shared the same fundamental desires as the students now sitting before him, namely to help build the new Libya.
It should be noted, however, that the size of Magarief’s security escort, which ran the length of University Street and made it onto the campus itself, left some students reflecting on quite how different their respective circumstances really were.