Education in Arab Countries of the Near East: Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon

By Roderic D. Matthews; Matta Akrawi | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

EDUCATION makes the person, and persons make the nation. Therefore, the kind of education that is being offered to the youth of the Arab world today suggests the kind of world they will have tomorrow. What the leaders of the Arab countries think, what they aspire to, especially as expressed in their laws and regulations governing education, throws a searching light upon the future that we may expect. These laws and regulations show a profound concern with both the quantity and quality of education. It must be admitted, however, that the translation of aspirations into taxes is a slow process in lands where the great masses of population live by subsistence agriculture. Notwithstanding the obvious economic difficulties and the political unrest in the Near East in the last twenty-five years, the study reported here shows a most gratifying expansion in numbers of schools and students, and a modernization of curriculum. This factual document--the descriptive report of personal visits to 471 schools in six countries--Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, and Palestine--is evidence that the social awakening in the Arab world is more than a phrase.

The Council was fortunate in securing Dr. Roderic D. Matthews, Dr. Matta Akrawi, and Mr. Emam Abdel Meguid to make this long and complicated study. Dr. Matthews, professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania, taught at the American University at Cairo some years ago and has always retained a considerable knowledge of, and interest in, the educational institutions and the people of that area. Dr. Akrawi, Director General of Higher Eduction of Iraq, now on leave of absence to serve in the Education Department of UNESCO at Paris, has an exceptional knowledge of comparative education from study and extensive travels in the Arab world, Europe, and the United States; he took his bachelor's degree at the American University of Beirut, and his master's and doctor's at Teachers College, Columbia University. Mr. Meguid, a graduate of the Higher Training College in Cairo, has had many years of teaching experience both in Egypt and in Iraq. He is at present on the staff of the Arab League.

Dr. Matthews, Dr. Akrawi, and Mr. Meguid traveled many thousands of miles. They talked to government officials and obtained from them statistical information about schools, students, educational expenditures, and copies of laws regulating education; they talked to teachers, observed their

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