"The Kingdom, O Christ, is a Kingdom of all ages, and Thy dominion from generation to generation" (i)
The immediate and controlling aim in all Missionary work is the awakening of faith in individual souls, and the raising up of a community of Christian believers. In this sense education has from the beginning been an important department of missionary work.
"I attach very great importance to our Schools as one of the best means of sowing the seed of the Word of God with the hearts of the rising generation of Moslems." (ii)
The conditions of Missionary work are not the same in every case, and the initial stages may well prove of diverse lengths; but in every case the Missionary stage is comparatively brief, and we see at once that Missionary work among an unevangelised people, regarded as heathen, involves a certain amount of Christian education, in order that the object of faith and worship may be discerned, and also in order that the elements and activities of the intellectual life may be in harmony with the elements and operations of the religious life. (iii)
It is obvious that in a sense the whole process of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) activity from first to last is in the nature of education. According to the missionaries "heathen", "savage" or "uncivilised" minds must be appealed to, thought must be awakened, and drawn out, in order to convey the simplest religious truths, or to awaken the most rudimentary religious emotions (iv). And in this sense, if not almost the only way to this missionary aim is by educational work among Egyptian young generation.
The education of girls presents a quite different problem compared to that of boys, from missionary point of view, for, though the element of competition is far from being absent in Egypt also, it is certainly less keen; and moreover, the fact that the training of girls in Egypt is to fit them to become wives and mothers, and not, as is so apt to be the result in boys' schools, government officials, makes such work more important and more congruous with the missionary aim.
This paper considers the educational policy of the CMS in Egypt in the abovementioned period in an attempt to understand the mission's social impact in the light of, and in spite of, its lack of converts (v). All sorts of documents and objects such as pictures of school, staff and students, missionary letters and annual reports were used in this study with the aid of historical method for interpretation of the past. At this point we have to note that the most limiting aspect of the study was the fact that geographical and chronological range of the CMS educational activities to Egyptian girls is too great for any one article. Therefore the interpretations and evaluations in this study were based on individual experiences of a single school. And generalizations were made with care because of the density of the content.
The CMS archives in the University of Birmingham constitute main major source of this study. Diaries, reports, letters, memoirs, histories, pamphlets, and many more kinds of texts written by CMS missionaries filled with information about "imperatives to convert, subdue and possess the world through the cultural power and superiority of English Protestantism". (vi) The variety of subject and perspective is enormous, but recent work by scholars such as Brian Stanley and Andrew Porter has none the less gone some way to demonstrate the possibilities of making this overwhelming volume of material more manageable and less daunting (vii). Moreover general histories of the CMS include The History of the Church Missionary Society: Its Environment, Its Men and Its Work by Eugene Stock, The Problems of Success: A History of the Church Missionary Society 1910-1942 by Gordon Hewitt, The Church Missionary Society and World Christianity 1799-1999 by Kevin Ward-Brian Stanley, "The Role of Women in the Church Missionary Society, 1799-1917" by Jocelyn Murray have greatly deepened researchers understanding on humanitarian, educational, medical, philanthropic and social work of the CMS outside the continental Europe.
In the closing days of 1882 the attention of the CMS was turned to Egypt, after an interval of twenty years, with an object of the proclamation of the Gospel to the Muhammedan population, "whether they would hear or whether they would forbear". (viii) The work was chiefly educational, and the Committee's attention had been directed to Missions among Muhammedans; a special fund had been opened with this object (ix) and the work was started at the Girls' Boarding School (GBS) as well as other mission schools in mostly the Muslim quarters. The missionaries were more incautious about preaching Christianity openly to the Egyptians especially after the British occupation in 1882.
The GBS was established in the year of 1892 as one of the oldest established CMS Girls' School and Mrs and Miss Bywater who were the first women missionaries in the second period activities of the CMS, (x) had supervised the school since the beginning. The main reason of starting at work in such a boarding school was that the belief of the missionaries about becoming a necessity for Missions' work in Cairo amongst girls, and that was, a boarding school, they believed they could have gained very little permanent influence over the girls for the few hours the missionaries had them in the day school, and they felt to really get them under Christian influence and train them for God as they wished to do, they ought to have them altogether, and to show that such a thing was needed in Cairo (xi). Besides Miss Bywater already knew of some Muslim girls whose parents wished to send them to a boarding school in 1892 (xii), and according to her if they had not managed to take them right away, the parents would have sent them elsewhere. (xiii)
Miss Bywater thought their only hindrance to beginning this much needed work was want of funds to start it, they should have required about 100 [pounds sterling] for this; for house-rent, furnishing &c. of course the children (at least most of them) would have paid for their board, and in time, it would have been partly self supporting and she asked "who will help us to begin or will anyone volunteer to keep our child whose parents cannot afford to pay?" (xiv) Miss Bywater supposed this would have been 12 [pounds sterling] a year and she hoped that the subscriptions of friends would have covered the expenses of furnishing, and also left a little in hand to start with. She also planned to accommodate the same house with the children in order to save the expenses as regards house rent. She expected that most of the children would have been able to pay 1 [pounds sterling] per month for their board, etc. In this way they would not have put the Society to any expense in this new venture. (xv) She also added that "the CMS Missionaries have felt this need in India and elsewhere, and now we find these schools one of the most satisfactory parts of the work, why not have a CMS Girls' boarding school in Cairo? This great centre of Mohamedanism with its 400 mosques! and its 400.000 inhabitants!". (xvi) Eventually the Committee had approved of the plan of enlarging the educational work with establishing a girls' boarding school in Cairo, and had sanctioned for that purpose a grant of 69 [pounds sterling] per annum in the year of 1893 that meant a full permission was given to Mrs. and Miss Bywater for enlarging the number of girls and taking a new house. (xvii)
The school desired to fit the girls for "a happy, intelligent and useful home life", (xviii) and also for professions such as that of teaching. The latter object was produced by the Continuation Class (C.C.) which was established in 1901 and was planned in connection with the GBS, for older girls drawn from all schools to be trained as CMS workers. (xix) The development of true and beautiful womanly character, based on the fear and knowledge of God and on Christian principles of conduct, will be the aim of the whole staff. (xx)
Miss Bywater who was one of the first teachers of the GBS began to teach at school English and Singing in 1892. Few months later some new lessons had been added such as Musical drill which had been both great pleasure and real benefit to girls. (xxi) There were about 10-12 boarders in first years among whom there were even Muhammedans, few Jews and Copts, except for twenty-four pupils in the Day School Department. Coptic girls remained a longer time at school and a more marked influence was in consequence observed on their characters. (xxii) Miss Bywater reported that all children in the senior class bought …