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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

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2011      ^                           EDUCATION                                   231
housed. Money for new school buildings was doled out grudgingly before the war, and now the whole housing problem is as acute in Egypt as at home. The question of high schools for girls has scarcely yet been approached, and the only training college for other than elementary teachers contains just ninety students. Yet the supply of qualified teachers for the better-class girls5 schools is a matter of no less urgency and difficulty than the provision of school buildings, for the strong feeling amongst Egyptians that the ftrst business of a woman is to get married, and to get married early, militates very much against teaching as a profession that does not favour marriage., Elementary education, in which also the Provincial Councils are beginning to take an intelligent interest, is still absolutely in its infancy and almost entirely confined to the old native maJctahs, with just the most sorely needed improvements in their very primitive curriculum and squalid premises. The most promising feature is that of the 3,600 maJctahs at present under Government inspection, 45—a little more than one in 100—have been set apart for girls only, and in these a large proportion of the teaching staff has now been trained in the Bulak Elementary Training College. Only six years ago the Ministry of Education had to admit that a good many of the women teachers in the maJctahs were themselves unable to read and write !
If we have made such a poor job of Egyptian education, the great underlying cause is only too clear. There have been very few Englishmen in responsible positions in Egypt who have ever paid more than lip-worship to the importance of education. In the early days of the Occupation rigid economy had to be enforced everywhere in order to meet a financial situation that seemed almost desperate. But those lean years are now remote, and education still continues to be treated with stepmotherly parsimony.
Our whole educational policy lacked inspiration.    It
was left aliqost entirely in the hands of a British Adviser
\te forponse from the Egyptian               1