Two Egyptian universities start religion-blind admission

By Jacob Wirtschafter | Al-Fanar Media

CAIRO—Ain Shams University administrators and others will no longer ask students about their religious affiliations on academic forms, a move that follows last year’s policy change by crosstown rival Cairo University.

The reforms at Egypt’s two largest public universities reflect a push toward non-sectarianism in higher education as Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi cracks down on Islamists throughout Egyptian institutions. In addition, the country’s minority Christian community continues to complain of discrimination in academia, and Christians are on edge after 28 church members were killed in a suicide bombing at a church mass in December.

“There is no logical reason—no reason—to ask students about their religion,” said Ain Shams arts faculty dean Suzan Elkalliny. “The forms are very old, almost ancient. We have a recommendation from Dr. [Abdul Wahab] Ezzat, president of the university, to update them.”