Vol. 9 No. 9 (2012): Scientific Journal Referee Issue: 9
Academic freedom is an urgent educational and social necessity for educational institutions, especially for the university, because in its shadow, intellect grows, culture flourishes, and talents emerge. and belief. In order to define the meaning of the concept of academic freedom, it is necessary to understand the meaning of (freedom) and academic. Freedom means the absence of inappropriate restrictions and the individual's exercise of his rights and energies. It also means the independence of man and his exercise of freedom of administration and self-determination. As for (academic), it is a word that appeared for the first time among the Greeks in the year 367 BC. When Plato established an institution for higher education he called it (academia), meaning abstract studies based on concepts, theories and ideas. The word “academic” has come to refer to what pertains to a university or college. Academic freedom means the absence of restrictions, orders, coercion and coercion on research, study and teaching activities in universities and research centers.
The elements of academic freedom are three main elements that begin with the freedom of faculty members, and include their freedom to search for the truth, their right to disseminate and teach it, and give them the opportunity to pursue knowledge, dialogue, discussion, production, and lecturing to their students, and enable them to describe the subjects they teach and determine which books are prescribed. And publishing their research for their colleagues to see, and other elements include ensuring job and economic security for them through methods and means, including (the stabilization system) that guarantees job stability for faculty members, and among the manifestations of academic freedom is the right to criticize educational programs and university administrative and political organizations and suggest appropriate amendments regarding them, and participate In decisions related to academic and administrative appointments, and the right to communicate proposals that are related to the public interest to the higher authorities of the university through appropriate channels, and another element of academic freedom is the administrative independence of the university, i.e. its right to manage its administrative affairs, such as the appointment, promotion and dismissal of faculty members and other employees. interference from anyone. The university has the right to manage its funds and expenditures in accordance with regulations, regulations, and instructions without external interference. One of the elements of academic freedom is cultural independence in the right of the university to organize its educational programs and curricula and freely choose its teaching methods. The university cannot play its enlightening role, which is to spread enlightening knowledge and activate its forces to bring about positive change. Fighting underdevelopment is only within the framework of intellectual freedom and independence away from subordination in all its forms.
There is another important element of academic freedom, which is (students' freedom), i.e. their freedom to form their conclusions based on their studies, express their opinions, participate in deciding what they study and choose their majors according to their inclinations, desires and qualifications. Students' academic freedom also includes their right to creativity, and taking into account their readiness. And their capabilities and provide freedom, justice and equality, and equal opportunities for them and organize different types of activities for them.
The reality of academic freedom in many Arab universities is tainted by ambiguity in its meaning and the weak freedom of the university professor in scientific research and teaching, in addition to that there are some universities in which university administrative authoritarianism and weak administrative and financial independence seem clear, in addition to weak academic freedom for students.
The development of academic freedom is a major step towards the development of Arab universities.