Universities minister addresses academic freedom fears

Jaafar Towfiqi, caretaker minister responsible for research and most of Iran’s universities, says students have already told President Hassan Rouhani of their expectations for greater autonomy for higher education institutions, reports Asharq Al-Awsat.

“We hope that the demands will be met with the formation of a new administration and the inauguration of new ministers,” Towfiqi said after he was named caretaker minister of science, research and technology. “Academia expects to enjoy more authority in hiring professors, admitting PhD students, and changing curricula and bylaws. In general, one of the main demands of academia is that the independence of universities must be respected within the framework of rules and regulations and the general policies of the [Islamic] establishment,” he added.

Towfiqi also said financial problems were one of the major problems facing Iran’s universities: “Given the increase in universities’ admissions of students, particularly for advanced studies, they need to have sufficient financial facilities in order to offer education of the best quality.”
Full report on the Asharq Al-Awsat site