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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

230                    THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM           .    CHAP.
staff, congenitally slow to enforce ordinary discipline, has in many cases directly contributed to the complete breakdown of all discipline under the incitements of political agitation.
We have, unhappily, no more reason to be proud of our record of female than of male education. It shows an even worse failure to foresee, or to keep pace with, the growing demand. The proportion of illiteracy amongst the women of Egypt is still appalling. Only three per 1,000 knew how to readcor write at the time of the last census in 1907, and the fraction is still probably well under one per cent. But the movement in favour of female education, which started in the upper classes, has been spreading downwards, and the old prejudice against it is dying out even in the rural districts.
The Egyptian girls who are receiving some sort of instruction to-day in schools of all kinds under the management or inspection of the Ministry of Education number roughly 50,000. This is more than double the number in 1910, but it still represents only 6 per cent, of the total number of girls of school-going age. In addition to these, another 20,000 are receiving instruction in Egyptian " private " schools, and the girls' " private " schools have even a worse reputation than those for boys. In one place a girls' school was started by a woman of notoriously bad character. As she was an Egyptian subject, sufficient pressure was brought to bear upon her to give up her seminary for young ladies, though there is no law that could have forced her to do so. Had she been a foreign subject, or a " foreign protected " subject, it might have been still more difficult to deal with her. As in the case of their sons, many of the most respectable Egyptian parents prefer for their daughters the schools conducted by foreign religious communities and especially by French nuns.
The girls' schools under the Ministry of Education are even more overcrowded than the boys' schools. Many of them have long waiting lists. They ^re wretchedlyelve months the Egyptian teachingyptians bega^to agitate forponse from the Egyptian               1