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

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

Chapter I
ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
EGYPT'S educational system has a considerably longer history than that of any other country studied in this survey. Whereas the other Arab countries of the Near East made a fairly complete break with the educational policies of the Ottoman Turks and started afresh after World War I, the Egyptian educational system in general dates back more than a century, while the religious system represented by the University of al-Azhar and its associated schools goes back a thousand or more years.The complexity which its long history has given the Egyptian system makes the systems of the other countries appear comparatively simple. In Egypt in the course of the last century, new circumstances, ideas, and needs intermittently produced new types of schools, educational legislation, and ever-newer experiments with educational organization. While some of these innovations were ephemeral, many left a permanent impress on the educational system, with the result that Egypt today has a multiplicity of types of schools--some having their roots in ancient and medieval times, some being modern and westernized--a multiplicity of laws affecting schools, and an exceedingly complex administrative organization.There are seven principal agencies concerned with education in Egypt:
1. Most important is the Ministry of Education, which administers and finances a major portion of the public educational program of the country, aids and exercises technical control over another significant part, and supervises all private and foreign schools.
2. The Ministry of Interior, operating through the provincial councils, conducts the councils' elementary schools of the provinces.
3. The ancient Muslim system of education is administered by the time- honored University of al-Azhar, with its colleges in Cairo and its secondary and primary schools in Cairo and other cities.
4. The Ministry of Waqf (the department of the national government which supervises religious endowments) maintains a number of elementary schools, which are administered and supervised by the Ministry of Education.

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