UPEI announces campus in Egypt, Green Leader questions decision

UPEI announces campus in Egypt, Green Leader questions decision

Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker raised questions in the legislature Thursday about an international campus of the University of Prince Edward Island that's planned to open this fall in New Cairo, Egypt.

Shortly after the MLA brought up his concerns, UPEI sent out a release that the school will offer a number of bachelor degrees at the new Egypt campus starting in September.

UPEI says it will have jurisdiction to ensure its admission and degree requirements are met at the campus.

The University of Canada, Egypt is a private institution in Egypt that was founded in 2004 and hosts Canadian universities on its campuses, to deliver the Canadian schools' programs.

Human-rights violations

However, Bevan-Baker questioned P.E.I.'s involvement, citing a number of human-rights violations raised by Human Rights Watch.

"The Egyptian state ... has a long list of human-rights violations including suppression of free speech, violence and torture against dissidents, oppression of women's rights, outlawing and persecuting homosexuality, and being the third worst country in the world for imprisoning journalists," said Bevan-Baker.

"Is government concerned that our province's public money and our province's identity and brand will contribute to legitimizing such an undemocratic regime?" said the Green Leader.

A government spokesperson says there is no public provincial money in the Egypt initiative.

Bevan-Baker also asked if faculty will be protected by Canadian human-rights law if they go to Egypt. Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant said it wasn't clear if faculty would be located there.

Other universities partnering with University of Canada, Egypt

Several other Canadian universities have also begun to develop campuses as part of the University of Canada, Egypt (UCE) consortium including Cape Breton University and Memorial University of Newfoundland. The UPEI initiative is being funded entirely by UCE, said UPEI's release.

"Our university does a wonderful job and the faculty out there and the president do a wonderful job of trying to garnish international students here and promote the university at large," said Gallant.

The university said it is excited about the prospect of granting UPEI degrees outside North America. "UPEI began discussions for an offshore academic program offering in Egypt a year ago after a Canadian parliamentary delegation visited the North African country to explore establishing a university complex in New Cairo," said UPEI's release.

Bachelor degrees offered outside North America

Officials with the University of Canada, Egypt recently visited P.E.I. to develop a framework to offer UPEI degrees at its new international UPEI campus.

UPEI will offer its bachelor of science in sustainable design engineering, three B.Sc. degrees in mathematical and computational sciences (financial mathematics, actuarial sciences, and data analytics), a bachelor of science in environmental studies and climate change and adaptation and a bachelor of business administration.

Last week the Canadian University Dubai in the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement with UPEI to offer a joint degree in environmental studies and climate change and adaptation.

More P.E.I. news