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iv THE FIRST PHASE OF THE OCCUPATION 77
disturbed, though it was obviously necessary to encourage Egyptian boys to learn English instead of French if the schools were to produce Government servants to work under British officials. A man of Lord Cromer's wide culture and. great literary attainments was the last to undervalue the importance of a sound system of liberal education or of the diffusion of elementary knowledge amongst the totally illiterate masses, yet it must be confessed that in no other field has British guidance failed so signally as in that of education. The subject will need to be dealt with more fully in connection with recent political developments in which Egyptian schools and colleges have played so deplorably prominent a part. Our failure as far as the higher purposes of education are concerned was not so conspicuous during the first period of the Occupation as it has now become, and the extent of our failure, even judged by the narrow test of examinations which dominated the whole system, has only been recently disclosed. Lord Cromer's hands were doubtless more than full with other matters over which he considered himself more competent to exercise personal control and supervision, for though he took a keen personal interest in education, he never professed to be an educational expert. That he had at least begun, though rather late in the day, to distrust the fruits which the system was yielding in the rising generation of Egyptians he showed very clearly, not long before he retired, by appointing a keen Egyptian, who had entered public life as one of the Nationalist followers of Arabi, to take over the Ministry of Education. His choice fell upon Saad Pasha Zaghlul. It was a courageous choice. In the light of Zaghlul's later activities, some may think it was an unwise choice. But could Lord Cromer have remained on indefinitely in Egypt, might not his influence have averted much that happened after his departure and explains to some extent even Zaghlul's evolution ?
For the first period of the Occupation bears in all its
ia long time to