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 4
HIGHER EDUCATION AND EDUCATIONAL MISSIONS

ALTHOUGH various institutions of higher education developed in Egypt during the course of the nineteenth century, it was not until 1906 that the idea of establishing an Egyptian university was born. In that year a number of prominent Egyptians met under the presidency of Sa'id Zaghlul Pasha to consider the project. A committee was formed with Prince Ahmad Fuad Pasha, later King Fuad I, as chairman. Subscriptions and donations were collected from the general public, and a princess of the royal family donated farm lands to the project. A school of arts opened under the name of the Egyptian University at the close of 1908. Foreign visiting professors were invited to teach, and Egyptian students were sent abroad to prepare for teaching at the new University.

For fifteen years the Egyptian University remained a private institution, struggling under the handicap of inadequate funds. This situation gave rise to the idea of founding a state university, and in 1917 the Ministry of Education set up a commission to prepare a plan. The authorities of the Egyptian University, on the basis of the report made by the commission in 1921, decided to transfer the University to the government. A royal decree of March 11, 1925, provided for the foundation of a state university under the name "Egyptian University," which should include four Faculties (colleges): of Arts from the original University; of Science, to be created; of Law, incorporating the School of Law founded by Isma'il Pasha in 1866; and of Medicine, incorporating the venerable School of Medicine and Pharmacy which Muhammad 'Ali Pasha had founded in 1827. Another law, passed in August 1935, incorporated the existing School of Engineering, the Higher School of Agriculture, and the Higher School of Commerce as Faculties (colleges) of the University and included the School of Veterinary Medicine as a school. Thus evolved the first modern Egyptian university, the name of which was changed in 1940 to Fuad I University in memory of the king who had had so much to do with its creation.

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