Student anger mounts over university revamp

Last year’s reopening of Ivory Coast’s universities was a grand affair, turning the page on a bloody leadership crisis that had forced their closure. There are new lecture halls, added student housing and sprawling sports fields. But two semesters in, student discontent is back on the boil, with questions arising over whether funds for the overhaul were well spent, reports Sapa-AFP.

Higher Education Minister Ibrahima Cisse Bacongo felt the full force of student fury recently when hundreds of them caused him to beat a hasty retreat under a hail of rocks. “Bacongo is a thief” and “Bacongo is a liar”, the students shouted on a visit by the minister to Abidjan’s Felix Houphouet-Boigny University in the commercial capital’s chic north.

The universities were ravaged during the 2010-11 political crisis, which left 3,000 people dead as former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat at the polls to his rival Alassane Ouattara. In the four months of violence that swept the world’s top cocoa-producing country, campuses were engulfed in clashes between rival student groups.
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