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3. The Progressive Policy of the Government

Egyptian education presents no compelling philosophy like Fascism or Communism to warrant the perpetuation of such a centralized machine for indoctrination. In Egypt, the educational wheels of indoctrination are all set up, but there is no national ideology to be indoctrinated. The wheels grind on for their own sake.

The transformation of the Egyptian kuttab from a local circle for the inculcation of sacred text, into a local institution aimed at the cultivation of national political and social objectives, was a process spanning three or four generations after Muhammad ‘Ali initiated his programs. But although the ideological transformation of the kuttab's mission was accomplished by the first decade of the twentieth century, the practical changes were just beginning. This chapter traces Egypt's response to the professionalization of teaching and educational administration during the twentieth century, insofar as the expansion of schooling as a social institution, with its accompanying theoretical elaboration, affected ideas about the nature and transmission of Islamic religious culture. In essence, the functionalization of Egypt's religious tradition meant that the ideas, symbols, and behaviors constituting “true” Islam came to be judged not by their adherence to contemporary popular or high traditions, but by their utility in performing social work, either in furthering programs of social reform or in fulfilling the police functions that Europeans attributed to education as such.

For the new Egyptian elites created by the schools, educational institutions eventually became centers of nationalist resistance to imperial goals, as they struggled both with the British and with the traditional Turco-Circassian elite of the Palace for control over the benefits of schooling as an engine of agricultural productivity, a tool of social control, and later as a basis for mass mobilization. Rural Egyptian notables and landowners, as well as urban commercial elites and intellectuals, often found ways to turn new imported institutions in their favor rather than succumb to the radical potential of political forms being imposed by the European powers. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, for example, parliamentary elections were used successfully by rural notables to perpetuate their control over villages rather than engage in the democratic ideal of opening political participation to the mass of peasants.[2] In a very different vein, schoolteacher Hasan al-Banna began in 1928 to build the Muslim Brotherhood, a modern-style party organization using schools, youth groups, news media, national congresses, and social service provision to mobilize hundreds of thousands of active members around the anticolonial cause. It is not very surprising that the criticisms Europeans had leveled at the Islamic establishment in the nineteenth century—that it was “dry, dead, ritualistic, and irrelevant to the needs of living Muslims” [3] —were repeated in the twentieth century by the Muslim Brotherhood itself. The creation of an objectified and functionalized Islamic tradition served the political purposes of very different interest groups. Meanwhile, each side accused the other of “reactionary obscurantism,” the British aiming the charge at the Brotherhood, whom it perceived as a cynically antimodern force allied with the Palace of King Fu’ad; the Brotherhood aiming the charge at al-Azhar, whose version of Islam they denounced as being “supported and maintained by the imperialists.” [4] In terms of mass religious education, intellectuals of all political viewpoints began coming to the conclusion—particularly during the interwar years—that properly crafted and carefully targeted programs of “modern” Islamic instruction could be simultaneously socially stabilizing and economically progressive forces.

Reaction and Responsibility

Financial support for mass education was minimal through the Occupation—hence the strategy of partially subsidizing existing rural institutions instead of creating new ones. In 1905 a new movement for private funding of schools emerged in the provinces, a development viewed with some ambiguity from Cairo, which wanted above all to direct curricula in its favor. Voluntary societies funded by private subscriptions succeeded by the end of that year in completing over seven hundred new kuttabs, commencing construction on nearly two hundred, and repairing more than three hundred others.[5] As one local example, by 1907 in the northern delta province of Daqahliyya, £E 80,000 had been raised from wealthy landowners and local residents for the construction of 268 kuttabs. The mudir, Mustafa Maher Pasha, oversaw the reservation of over 300 feddans (a feddan is a little more than an acre) of land as waqfs (private, tax-exempt endowments for the support of pious institutions) to generate income in perpetuity for the maintenance of the new schools, enough to provide one-quarter to one-fifth of their annual operating expenses. Encouraged by a program of qualified government land-grants begun in 1905 for the construction of kuttabs, this private effort continued for half a decade in many provinces.[6] By 1909 over 1,200 feddans of agricultural land had been committed by private individuals for the support of local schools, bringing the expected annual revenue available for expenses to £E 9,000.[7]

The development of private interest in rural education both pleased and worried the national administration, which feared that overzealous local officials might use the collection of subscriptions as a “means of oppression,” that “the movement may be dominated by those who are out of sympathy with the progressive policy of the Government, and that it may thus be used in the direction of reaction,” and that locally funded projects might shut out non-Muslim students.[8] This last concern became especially prominent after legislative changes made the provincial councils responsible for funding elementary instruction. As of 1 January 1910, the new law gave provincial councils power to levy taxes to support public works, including a mandate to devote seventy percent of the educational tax receipts for “elementary vernacular instruction.” [9] The new British agent heartily approved the change, which he predicted

will not only have great educative value, but, being intrusted to bodies composed almost entirely of landowners and those engaged in the cultivation of the soil, will ensure the system of education in the rural districts being brought into harmony with the necessities of agriculture. A local Council, acquainted with local conditions, will be in a very advantageous position to devise for the children of the fellaheen a system of training which will fortify their preference for agricultural pursuits, and will not tempt them to drift into the towns.[10]

The Religious Difficulty

But local councils would, unlike privately funded voluntary associations, be fully accountable to all citizens of the province, Muslim and non-Muslim, and would therefore be responsible for turning the kuttabs already administered, and any new ones built, into truly national elementary schools. When the grant-in-aid system was first established a dozen years earlier, the government had pledged not only to refrain from interference with religious instruction in the schools, but to ignore the confessional affiliation of schools applying for grants, making them available equally “to schools professing the Mahommedan, Coptic, Jewish, or other faith.” [11] Now it faced a problem delicately labeled “the religious difficulty.”

Most kuttabs inspected by the government had also received funds from the Ministry of Religious Endowments, which defined them as Muslim schools in which the principles of Islam could be taught. If Coptic children happened to attend, they were separated from the other children while Qur’an lessons were given. In 1902 it was estimated that only 17 of Egypt's 500 Coptic kuttabs were under inspection, largely, officials guessed, because most Coptic schools wished not to be bound by the restriction on teaching European languages as a prerequisite to financial support.[12] By 1909 there were still only 28 Coptic kuttabs under inspection.[13] With only one substantial religious minority population to consider, educational planning in Egypt was often easier than in Britain itself, or in other dependencies like Iraq.[14] Yet by 1910 tensions had grown high enough that a Coptic congress was called for 6 March in Asyut. After several days of discussion, the five hundred conferees issued a list of demands including nondiscrimination in government employment and grants, the provision of an alternate day of rest for Copts employed in the government, representation in all new representative institutions, and the “Right of Copts to take advantage of the educational facilities provided by the new Provincial Councils.” [15] The unequal geographical distribution of Coptic communities meant that they would be contributing as little as 3 percent of the local tax receipts in some provinces, but over 30 percent in provinces like Asyut in Upper Egypt, making a uniform national policy difficult to achieve.[16]

In the end, most of the provincial councils decided that their primary schools would follow the system employed in government primary schools. They would be open to both Muslims and Christians, with specially trained Coptic teachers (or priests) giving Christian religious instruction at specified times if there were sufficient demand (this meant at least fifteen Christian pupils; it should be noted that religious instruction was mandatory for Muslim students, but optional for Copts). In order to train Coptic teachers in the delivery of religious instruction, Christian religion classes were formed for students of the Khedivial Training College in 1910, qualifying them to teach the subject in primary schools.[17] In the kuttabs, which would be open both to Muslim and Christian children, the Qur’an would be taught, and Christian children could be excused if they wished. If there were sufficient numerical support in neighboring communities, a Coptic kuttab could be established in which special religious instruction was delivered. Financial arrangements were being made in Asyut, Minya, Girgah, Qena, and Sohag for the sharing of tax revenues between Muslims and Copts. Although Copts had demanded that priests be allowed to tutor Christian children in the kuttabs while Muslim students learned the Qur’an, this was thought impracticable. “I fear,” wrote Gorst,

that the day has not yet arrived in Egypt, though I do not say that it never will, when the sheikh and the priest could safely be allowed to impart rival religious instruction to children of the lowest class simultaneously and in the restricted space of the Kuttab, which, in some cases, consists of not more than one or two rooms. Where the Coptic children are not sufficiently numerous to warrant the creation of a special Kuttab, they must be content, for the present, to receive their religious teaching at home.[18]

In 1919 the Elementary Education Commission reiterated this concern, noting that the provision of Coptic teachers for all of the needful kuttabs would be impossible, and that

apart from this, whilst mutual tolerance and goodwill can be guaranteed in a few Government schools which are under strict control, regrettable incidents would inevitably occur under this dual arrangement in some of the scattered thousands of elementary schools, under loose control, staffed by teachers of a lower level of education.[19]

The government was beginning to face the contradictions inherent in its choice to retain and even expand religious instruction in new tax- supported schools. The strategy of encouraging religious instruction as a political anaesthetic was joined with the fear of popular unrest if it were removed from the curriculum. Too little religion and the ignorant masses were left without moral compass; too much and the students felt themselves fitted only for employment as itinerant Qur’an reciters. The Coptic/Muslim difference only exacerbated the problem, since it was the political danger perceived in simultaneous sacred instruction for the different communities—not the integration of the schools themselves—that prompted administrative concerns about “regrettable incidents.” Even so, just as in Great Britain, where religious instruction in the form of Bible reading formed part of a growing nondenominational vision of moral instruction, so in Egypt leaders stressed the common morality of the nation. In a speech delivered in early October of 1908, future prime minister Sa‘d Zaghlul, then minister of education, repeated the rationale behind the continued expansion of elementary education:

The Government has found itself the means of developing general morality amongst the popular masses, in order to diminish the number of noxious and blameworthy acts due to the ignorance of true principles and of the exact rules of the religion; besides which it declares that the materials taught in the Kuttabs are to be none other than those notions indispensable to all men.[20]

“The Four R's”

The first paragraph of Article 1 of the Elementary Education Commission's 1919 Draft Law for the Better Provision of Elementary Education in Egypt set out the minimum curricular requirements of a projected program of mass education:

The term “Elementary School” means a school in which suitable education is provided exclusively in Arabic for Egyptian children between the ages of six to eleven years in accordance with a syllabus prescribed or approved by the Ministry of Education. This syllabus shall include, at least, instruction in religion, reading, writing and arithmetic, and such other subjects as the Ministry of Education may determine.[21]

These subjects, “the four R's,” were already the backbone of the Egyptian elementary school program for children between five and thirteen years of age, which the proposed Draft Law meant to extend and provide with public monies. Elementary schooling had been growing rapidly during the first two decades of the twentieth century. In 1905, for example, there were more than a hundred kuttabs administered directly by the Ministry of Education, with nearly seventy-five hundred pupils. Over twenty-five hundred schools and seventy-six thousand students were under inspection. By 1906 the number of inspected kuttabs had jumped 70 percent, and the number of students had more than doubled. Article 19 of the Egyptian Constitution of 1923 declared elementary education compulsory for all seven- to twelve-year-old children within two miles of an elementary school. And despite the vital role played by the Coptic community in the Egyptian nationalist movement, with its secular political ideology, the Constitution also formalized Islam as the religion of the Egyptian state, reinforcing its presence in the curriculum.[22] General subjects were added to the curriculum, as was physical education for boys, and “Home and Health Information” for girls (which took the place of half of their Qur’anic studies in the final three years of the elementary curriculum; see table 1).

1. Relative Time Devoted to Subjects—Elementary Schools
  1903 1933
Qur’an 31% 33%
Religion 11 7
Arabic 29 31
Arithmetic 14 19
Calligraphy 14
General 8
Physical Education 2

The growth of the school population was slower through the First World War, but picked up explosively in the 1920s. The largest increases by far were in the kuttabs administered directly by the government, effecting a centralization of authority. In 1922, one hundred forty-five administered schools served over twenty-three thousand students, but by 1930, thirteen times as many kuttabs served eleven times as many students. The number of schools under the provincial councils declined nearly 30 percent during that period, and fewer than five hundred schools remained under inspection.[23]

In the more prestigious primary schools, whose graduates—unlike those of the elementary schools—could continue on to higher education, the program of study looked quite different. The four-year program was identical for boys and girls, stressing Arabic, foreign language, and arithmetic, relegating religion to a tiny corner of the program. For the elite children paying to attend primary schools, the imperative of class control was absent, and even religious instruction was to be “secular,” forming a part of the cultural background of the cultivated individual, and nothing more. In a discussion of secularism in Egypt, Professor Ibrahim Salama of Dar al-‘Ulum (originally a teacher-training college) described the new attitude in 1939:

If one means by secularization the scientific study of reality as reality, setting aside every a priori idea and every religious idea, the Egyptian system—excepting al-Azhar, of course—can perhaps be regarded as secular. Religious education does figure in the programs of the State schools, it is true, but always in the form of moral precepts, no more no less. For the student in the current programs of the State primary schools, whether those of girls or boys, we are able to discover evidence of this sort of secularization. The goal of the Qur’anic recitation is before all else a linguistic goal. The Ministry of Public Instruction advises the masters to read without rocking, and in a very simple manner, paying attention to Arabic phonetics, whatever Qur’anic verses figure in the syllabus.[24]

As befitting a “modern” and middle-class habitus, the stigmatized rocking of kuttab children was eliminated, and in fact the Qur’an itself seems to have been disconnected almost completely from the idea of “religious” instruction, constituting instead a source of linguistic exercises.

But these middle-class primary school students, as important as they were for the construction of the modern state, were not the sole concern of the Ministry of Education. Reports and plans for educational reform throughout the 1930s still hinged upon the concept that “Egyptian prosperity depends in the last analysis upon the existence of a pre-eminently large class of industrious, contented and intelligent agricultural workers.” [25] Although British civil servants continued to fill important positions in a number of Egyptian ministries, and the British Ministry of Education continued to provide consultants to the Egyptian government, another trend in educational planning and administration concerned the growth of new interest groups based in the schools and universities themselves. Professional educators influenced by the work of John Dewey and other popular school reformers moved strongly against the highly centralized and test-driven school organization developed by the French and the British to feed the ranks of the colonial government. Far from heralding a new era of decentralized local control of educational institutions, though, they in fact solidified the international linkages now growing between professional educators in the developed and developing worlds, continually transferring the latest pedagogical theories into an area that was still working to adjust itself to the idea of mass schooling.[26]

Three of these reformers, whose writings on the Egyptian school system were particularly influential in framing Egypt as a case study of the failures and successes of educational policy in modernizing countries, were Amir Boktor and Russell Galt, of the American University in Cairo, and Abu al-Futouh Ahmad Radwan, who taught at Ibrahim Pasha University (now the University of ‘Ain Shams). All three studied at the Teachers' College at Columbia University, foreshadowing the growth of American influence in Egypt's development during the latter part of the century. Though they wrote in English, their academic standing gave their writings an air of disinterest—all three felt free to criticize colonial education policies—even though in many respects they perpetuated educational trends like “secularization” and the use of schooling as an instrument of social planning that were begun during the Occupation.

Continuing to characterize the content of the elementary curriculum as “exceedingly bookish and academic for a peasant people,” educators of the 1930s repeated the call for new teaching methods and more attention to sound thinking, rather than test-driven memorization of government-issue subject matter textbooks. In the elementary school,

the absence of games, play, activities, and physical education, the heart of the modern elementary school, is conspicuous. Even the printed outline reveals that almost the entire time of the child in the school is given to a bookish type of study, with from one-half to two-thirds of the program devoted to memorization of the Qur’an, religious instruction, and the study of the classical Arabic language.[27]

The result, Galt wrote, was “an emphasis on the acquisition of irrelevant knowledge, formal learning, discipline by punishments, reverence for tradition, and the acceptance of authority.” [28] These problems were not confined to the elementary schools, but spread in various degrees to the primary and higher schools in the “Europeanized” system as well. Mere literacy was no longer enough, particularly if restricted to “the sacredness of the printed word in the Ministry's books.” [29] It was only by challenging its own traditions that Egypt could move beyond “[t]he invariable outcome of Oriental education [which] is a social order which possesses stability, but lacks progressiveness.” [30] But even as they championed secular learning and criticized “outdated” worldviews, educators were unwilling to call for the elimination of religious study. Merely the method and goal of that study would change. The traditional study of the Qur’an, whose purpose had been to learn how to use the sacred word in appropriate contexts,[31] now became the study of Islam as a moral system, a study removed from its living context and placed on the same level as other secular categories of knowledge.

Such subjects as hygiene, civics, ethics, and religion should be definitely planned to develop habits, build attitudes, and such a frame of mind as will bring home to the child the practical ways of living ethically, religiously, and so forth. This should not prevent the school from requiring advanced students to memorize certain sections of the Koran in connection with the study of Arabic literature. Owing to the mervellous [sic] beauty of the Koranic style, students of all religions should be offered this opportunity.[32]

This was much closer to the goal of religious study in the British school system, which mined divine writ for lessons (which can be evaluated rationally, and ignored if modified or contradicted by new evidence, as opposed to the furud of Islamic law, requirements or duties which are, in theory, eternal and compelling). This new manner of presenting religious subjects pleased professional educational theorists, who saw their adversary in the type of learning fostered by al-Azhar.[33] The future lay in the creation of a new secular Egypt in which agriculturalists would devote increasing amounts of time to the study of nature, farming, and physical fitness in elementary schools, while the elite would study science, literature, and history in the primary schools. Religious instruction would remain for both, but for different reasons.

Landowners and some Egyptian educators feared the advent of universal instruction in rural areas without a corresponding boost for higher education, claiming that it might mobilize “a formidable army of half- educated, third-educated and fourth-educated citizens who see things not in the way they ought to be seen.” [34] But religious education seems partially to have escaped the stigma of misapplication to the rural masses. At least one large landowner wrote in an Egyptian newspaper that the fellahin (peasants), with their limited needs, were happier than other Egyptians, “and that the most urgent reform in the countryside was the diffusion of religious instruction,” [35] an echo of the Reverend Wilson's sentiments a century before. If technical education might tempt cultivators to leave the fields for more lucrative employment, an emphasis on more traditional forms of instruction might dissuade them from leaving the land, either through reinforcing older loyalties, or merely by depriving them of the skills necessary to acquire alternative occupations.

Even the violence of the Second World War only gave further impetus to the faith that inculcating “moral precepts” through the school would be the foundation of a postwar internationalism based on liberal democratic ideals. Not long after Rommel's defeat in the western desert, the Egyptian minister of education, His Excellency Neguib el-Hilali Pasha, wrote of the faith of “all free nations” that “intellectual development coupled with moral reinforcement are of greater import than material reconstruction…the education which strengthens faith and fortifies character is the most solid bulwark against the vicissitudes of life.” [36] Arguing in favor of extending the period of compulsory schooling and instituting continuing education requirements for graduates, the Muslim Egyptian minister cited—on the authority of the archbishop of Canterbury himself—the vital importance of educating children in late adolescence. If the age of compulsory school attendance was not raised, el-Hilali feared, “they are apt to forget all or most of what they have learnt at school and are exposed to moral, mental and physical decadence.” [37] By now entirely dependent on foreign models of schooling, el-Hilali even found himself incapable of justifying religious education in the Egyptian school without citing a British model:

The British Government has declared in both Houses of Parliament that it is its intention to pay more care to religious education. The White Paper… acknowledges the importance of this sort of education in school life and claims for it a more prominent place in the syllabus, together with religious practices. It behooves our country to follow this example and to give to religious teaching and practice their due place in the school curriculum. The Ministry of Education on its part promises to bear this in mind in its intended educational reform.[38]

Moral education in the new Egypt would operate along several lines, at once “arous[ing] in…pupils an interest in the responsibilities of citizens towards their own country and the world at large,” [39] and, in rural areas, avoiding the alienation of children from the land. Schools here would “link education with agriculture and…rural industries,” so that boys could “gain an enlightened insight into the defects and shortcomings of their homes and villages, and visualise the measures of reform to be introduced,” while at the same time preparing them “for village communal life in a way that makes the work that awaits them in their surroundings appeal to them.” [40] Even religious instruction “should be of a practical rather than of a theoretical nature,” dealing with rural or industrial subjects in village and urban schools, respectively, and including “domestic studies” for girls.[41]

Religious education was conceived explicitly as just one more part of a comprehensive system of social planning operating through the school, rather than the mastery of a body of spiritual literature. “All present or proposed post-war reforms lay great stress on religious teaching,” the minister explained:

Spiritual education and moral uplift are essential factors in education, and many of the calamities that beset the world at present are due to lack of spiritual education. But religious teaching should not be confined to the memorisation of religious precepts; it should rather take a practical trend. A service should be regularly held in school with an Imam leading the boys in prayer. Sermons should be preached on simple subjects bearing on everyday life, within the comprehension of the young. The ulemas or students of religion should inculcate into the boys the habits of cleanliness and the elements of co-operation of which every Egyptian village is in great need. In the sphere of physical culture village games and sports should take a prominent place.[42]

By placing “spiritual education and moral uplift” on the same level as habits of cleanliness and cooperation-enhancing village games, the functionalization of Egypt's Islamic heritage was completed, so that what counted as real religion could now be defined by its social utility. Practices outside the sphere of planning thus became “superstition,” targeted, like ophthalmia or bilharzia, for elimination through centralized programs of scientific modernization.

This ever-growing faith in the power of mass education came at the same time as a revolution in the theory of teaching methodology that was drawn from the writings of European and American educators and applied at first in two small Egyptian experimental primary schools beginning in 1932. Responding to criticisms of the bookishness of elementary education generally, theoretical education was to take a back seat to active participation in projects revolving around practical application of ideas and skills. This was not the same as technical training; in fact, specific marketable skills were not in question. Rather, children were to learn by investigating natural, material, and social phenomena in small groups. Studying the production of milk products, collecting butterflies (for which students constructed their own display boxes), beekeeping, firefighting, and printing were all included in the “project method,” as were projects in which children played employees of the post office, acted out a historical episode dressed up as ancient Egyptians, or pretended to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca.[43] Advocates of this manner of instruction argued that the school, after all, was merely a “miniature society” in which children “inevitably soak up the values and moral criteria that prevail in their practical lives, whatever the ideas and principles offered them theoretically in lessons.” [44]

If we want to give the school a spiritual mission, we need to work towards establishing its life and its various interpersonal relations on a high plane. More than this, we need to provide for the student the opportunity to experience social life in accordance with the values we wish them to apply in their future lives. In order to prepare the student for a democratic spiritual life, he should practice the modes of this life in the school. Some educational philosophers—like the great American philosopher John Dewey—have gone on to say that the student should discover social and moral values for himself experimentally within the milieu of the school, because these values will not have the desired effect in the direction of his life unless they are the outcome of experience and personal experiment.[45]

The experimental method never caught on widely in Egypt because of the high level of teacher training and small class size it demanded, although aspects of its underlying philosophy became part of everyday educational planning and curriculum design. The project method, in making the study of Islam into an activity like chemistry and nature study, removed it further than ever from its textual roots in the name of making it practical, easily accessible, and fun. The methodology of practicing or modeling religious duties was to rationalize religious study and bring it into line with the secular subjects.

But secularism, “the scientific study of reality,” and the cultivation of a modern mentality on a large scale proved to be more difficult to inculcate in Egypt than its new intellectual classes anticipated. Fees for the primary schools were eliminated entirely in 1949, effectively creating a unified school system at the primary level, with a single curriculum that could allow more and more Egyptians, even those not from the wealthiest and most Europeanized families, to enter higher stages of education. The changing class composition of the schools, in concert with the pervasive idea that Egypt was in the process of catching up with the developed world, meant that long after the Second World War, Egyptian educators would continue to complain that their countrymen still placed entirely too much emphasis on “antiquated traditions” in looking for the solution to social problems, rather than relying on “a frank examination of the consequences that follow from [their] various social practices.” [46]

Abd al-Futouh Ahmad Radwan's work at the Teacher's College at Columbia University had made him impatient with “the mode of thinking of the average Egyptian [which] is far removed from that pattern which we call scientific.” Belittling popular belief in the intercession of saints and the cult surrounding such shrines as Cairo's tomb of Imam al-Shafi‘i, Radwan wrote that

The conflict between the old and the new is quite apparent in those who engage in these superstitious practices. Many go to consult a modern trained doctor, but they also carry a charm in their pocket or on the aching spot in their bodies, and if they recover they do not know whether it was the doctor's prescription or the charm that brought about their recovery.… Some University students even visit the shrine of al-Husayn or Al-Sayida Zaynab before they undertake their examination in science. The new modes of thinking are gaining ground, but the strength of old beliefs persists and hinders the development of a scientific mentality.[47]

Schools were to be the primary weapons against “the problem of superstitions and harmful customs,” such as “whether a Dhikr [a technique for drawing the individual into mystical contact with God] is a real religious experience, or whether a visit to a shrine really helps a person to recover from sickness, or whether growing a vine in one's home actually causes misfortune”; and they should not just “take a negative attitude toward such issues or be content with casual reference to their false or harmful nature, but should take an explicit attitude against them and try to uproot them altogether from the minds of the young.” [48] In response to the experimental and progressive schools founded in the 1930s, Radwan called for a still more critical approach to the curriculum, asserting that merely encouraging active emulation of social patterns rather than theoretical study of them did not achieve the goal of helping children “to examine the social experiences behind these activities, so as to gain insights into social affairs.” He criticized the Pilgrimage project in particular, for not having students interview a pilgrim

in order to ask him what problems…he discusses with the Muslims from other lands when they meet in Mecca. Nor do they ask…why he gave the little saving he had to the rich steamship company instead of using it to buy a mechanical plow to improve his business. Nor are they led to see that an action of this sort is not in line with the original principles of the tradition of pilgrimage according to which it is supposed to be reserved for those who can afford to undertake such a costly journey.[49]

Radwan's view of education as a key to social progress, in which “the curriculum of schools should reflect [the] needs of the nation in both a qualitative and a quantitative sense,” [50] and in which religious scholars are seen as useful primarily insofar as they can issue rulings consonant with national advancement, underlines the sense that Egyptian educators were coming to share that religious instruction in public schools should serve primarily national political and economic ends rather than purely personal, spiritual, or communal ones.

What proved frustrating to intellectuals and administrators was precisely the stubbornly personal and local nature of popular concerns. Villagers were far more interested in religious specialists acting as “religious literates, not…spiritual guides,” [51] to the chagrin both of professional educators and private organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood (which had never been very successful in rural recruiting). If peasants were resigned—within limits—to the appropriation of their labor and their surplus production, they more actively resisted the appropriation of their loyalty or attention to national political projects except insofar as these had direct local impact.[52] In meetings with visiting ‘ulama from urban areas, rural Egyptians were primarily concerned with questions of

whether one lifts his hand up to his shoulder or up to his ears [during prayer], how one sits on after prostration, what one might say before and after prayers. Other questions that arose were queries about whether certain sayings or deeds were considered to be religiously approved or disapproved, how and to whom one would make a sacrifice oath, whether visiting saints' tombs is a good thing or not, and so forth.[53]

On the ground, in remote villages like Silwa in far southern Aswan Province, the changing educational landscape at the national level was marked physically by the simultaneous existence of kuttabs as well as an elementary and a primary school. Studied in the early 1950s by native son anthropologist Hamed Ammar, Silwa provided a concise portrait of the difficult process of adapting national pedagogical goals to local structures of expectation. The kuttab, which transmitted respect for the patriarchal village authority structure as well as the text of the Qur’an, “fulfill[ed] the task demanded of it by the people in maintaining the standards of Islamic learning in which the memorizing of the Koran comes first and foremost.” [54] The compulsory elementary school, on the other hand, stationed at the north end of the village along with the police station and post office, had been a failure since its founding in 1925, as it neither maintained a properly religious atmosphere nor provided for advancement into the civil service. Instead, along with reading and writing it taught arithmetic, drawing, singing, and “rhythmic movements,” subjects either of little practical use to villagers or which were assumed to be transmitted in the course of daily life itself. As a result, literacy skills learned in the school were quickly lost by graduates, and both parents and children ridiculed the school and took pains to avoid compulsory attendance, until a free lunch program was implemented in the late 1940s.

The primary school, on the other hand—built just as Ammar left the field in 1951—proved a huge success with its promise of wealth and prestige through possible government employment. Student comments on the school emphasized that “we shall become government officials when we pass our examinations,” and “we like the new school, as we wear [European] suits, which are much nicer than the gallabiahs we used to wear in the elementary school. The former is better than the latter in its lessons, order, and cleanliness.” [55] In fact, Ammar's presentation of the three schools fits them neatly into an evolutionary sequence that shows the village opening into a new national structure of incentive and prestige. The exotic and ambiguous elementary school, which did a poor job of preparing either religious literates who could serve local goals or potential bureaucrats who could serve national goals, occupied a space of transition. Unlike the alternately confident and jittery officials in Cairo, local parents knew their children did not need to attend school in order to fill their place in the rural social order. The economic rationality of a policy that sought to confine peasants to the fields seems partially to have given way to one that recognized the necessity of giving local communities an incentive for study in return for the promise of translocal loyalties.

The Nasser Years, 1952–1970

By the time Radwan and Ammar were entering the scene, on the eve of the 1952 revolution, religious instruction had been removed from the curriculum of the first two years of primary school, but in the remaining four, twenty lessons per week were reserved for religion. The revolution restored religious instruction to the first two years, although no textbooks were written for them until some time after 1958–59, the year that the program of study was revised and new religious textbooks were produced.[56] These books articulated an interpretation of Islamic history and doctrine for a society that was to be both religious and modern, both “integralist” and socialist.[57]

The postrevolutionary expansion of primary education was explosive, with the school population more than doubling in the decade after 1953. At the same time, the number of teachers enrolled in training institutes increased by barely half, and the number of school buildings by only 12 percent, leading to severe teacher shortages, a serious matter for a nation bent on developing its rural areas. Growth in the student population slowed somewhat during the 1960s, but school building projects still lagged behind, and the number of teachers being trained actually declined. Religious study in Nasser's primary schools altered the previous emphasis on manners like humility, time management, and good behavior, focusing instead on social values necessary to a popular reconstruction of society by the masses: sincerity, fulfilling obligations, forbearance, and the rights of the nation. Discussion of the value of jihad—personal struggle against temptation, injustice, or wrongdoing—was increased in line with the mobilization of this concept for ideological purposes against external enemies like the new state of Israel.[58] Teacher training manuals for students in teacher education institutes placed the study of religion on par with other types of education aimed at “spiritual development” (al-namw al-ruhi). Attempting a delicate balance between personal piety and mass mobilization, these manuals called for providing children with sound doctrine and the desire to perform religious rituals, while preparing them for working life in the local environment, instilling in the pupil “devotion to the milieu in which he lives, loving and having pride in it, and not looking down on it.” Teachers were charged with instilling pride in the greater Arab nation and preparing the child for life in “a cooperative, democratic, socialist society.” [59] These goals, as well as those of social, personal, intellectual, and physical development, formed part of the comprehensive goal of the elementary school, which the Supreme Council on Education had articulated in 1941, but which now took on a new political cast. Education was not merely for the amelioration of illiteracy, but the “enculturation of the children of the nation's masses” (tathqif abna’ al-sha‘b), “leading them to an appropriate national life.” [60] Molding students into happy rural citizens, and not merely stationary and productive peasants, became an explicit justification for educational extension.

Because of the revolution's new emphasis on formally articulated political ideology as part of a program of mass mobilization, schools encouraged identification with the regime and its goals in the form of ritualized appreciations of the revolutionary program, much as has been the case in Turkey, with a “major stress on memorization of texts… and on ritual and unison repetition of slogans and formulae, especially the sayings [of the leader].” [61] Whereas in Turkey students recited the sayings of Ataturk, in Egypt students repeated phrases from Nasser's speeches and memorized portions of the National Charter. Village schools whose teachers or headmasters were active in the new village committees set up under the auspices of Nasser's mass political party, the Arab Socialist Union, were particularly active in using schools for political indoctrination. But regardless of the personal connections of teachers, schools up and down the Nile Valley rang daily with the shouted chant “Nasser! Nasser! Nasser!” along with the repetition of revolutionary slogans. By the mid-1960s the occupational choice expressed by rural primary school students like those in Silwa had become elaborated into specific categories: “military officer,” “engineer,” and “schoolteacher” replaced the bare “government official” in the imaginations of children making their way through the apparatus of class mobility.[62]

According to Rif‘at Sayyid Ahmad, by the end of Nasser's rule, the curriculum consistently socialized its presentation of religion, highlighting the importance of the individual's cooperation in programs to raise the national standard of living, and instilling “the faith that reward and punishment are founded upon justice.” The conscious invention of public ceremonies became an important part of the state's mass mobilization program, and schools began to capitalize on public events like the Prophet's Birthday, Unity Day, and Mother's Day to clothe nationalist values like unity, cooperation and brotherhood with the appearance of important religious principles.[63] The functionalization of traditional celebrations like the Prophet's Birthday was accompanied by the functionalization of local religious personnel. Egypt's revolutionary regime took a pragmatic approach to religion, pressing village imams (prayer leaders) into national service as heads of local committees and as ideological intermediaries who could find scriptural justification for policies like family planning, savings, and village economic development. On their own initiative, some local imams also worked to “modernize” (read “discourage and eliminate”) local religious practices such as Sufism, which the regime itself had tolerated.[64]

Science and Faith: Sadat and After

Under Anwar Sadat's leadership (1970–81) the elementary student population continued to increase much as it had during the 1960s, and the Ministry of Education's school building program accelerated slightly to keep pace. But, emblematic of the new president's personal and political interest in strengthening al-Azhar and other governmental religious agencies (the Ministry of Religious Endowments and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs) as a counterweight to his predecessor's socialist institution-building, a far more impressive increase took place in another class of primary school, the al-Azhar primary institutes, whose enrollment jumped by 70 percent in the four years between 1976/77 and 1980/81. These institutes, staffed by Azhar graduates and feeding students into preparatory, secondary and university study at al-Azhar, rapidly became a fixture in poor urban and rural areas where the Ministry of Education could not keep up.

As part of Sadat's attempt to steer the nation from the Soviet into the American military and economic spheres, a renewed commitment to Islamic symbols became part of government policy. Scores of Islamic activists from the Muslim Brotherhood, imprisoned during the 1950s and 1960s, were released, and Islamic student organizations at universities were encouraged to vie for influence with leftist groups. The new Constitution, drafted at the order of the president in 1971, specifically mandated religious education in the schools, and specified that the Islamic shari‘a was to be a major source—later to become the major source—of legislation.[65] Sadat's motto “Science and Faith” came to symbolize the hope that Egypt could benefit from closer incorporation into the international market while at the same time retaining a unique cultural identity. And when that closer integration resulted in a disastrous multiplication of the country's foreign debt, and IMF-negotiated reductions in basic food subsidies led to nationwide food riots in January of 1977, enhanced religious education was one of the solutions the president called for to try to restore political stability. Speaking to a group of the nation's top religious leaders at a meeting he convened a little more than two weeks after the riots, Sadat told them that he wanted to talk about

the inner structure of the individual. What we suffer from today is not the difficult economic situation, because this shall be solved.…You may ask now, what is the real trouble? It is hatred and bitterness. It is the inner structure of the Egyptian man that was corrupted through 20 years [of Nasserism].…I called you today to discuss what we are going to do in order to protect our forthcoming generations from hatred, how are we going to build them up correctly and how are we to cure those who deviated?

Harkening back to another generation concerned with armies of malcontents “who see things not in the way they ought to be seen,” Sadat proposed his remedy for the moral crisis that seemed to have seized the nation:

At my meeting with the political leadership, I asked that religious knowledge should be a compulsory subject for a student to pass the academic year as of next year. Our brothers the Moslems and the Christians should be prepared for that with teachers and books written in a modern style. Let us face up to the age like every other country does. The old style is no good, not any more. We want a new style by which religion, values and faith would be part of our children's mentality from the start of their life.…Starting from the next academic year I want you to be ready with Moslem and Christian teachers capable of teaching religion in a new style by which we can protect our forthcoming generations and face up to the problems of today.…The most important matter is to restore faith, tolerance and love and to uproot the hatred that seems to still possess some souls.[66]

Sadat's curious allusion to a “new style” of instruction deserves some comment. Religious textbooks of the mid-1970s, for example, though slightly different in format from current ones, are nearly identical in style (see chapter 5), and as fully bound to the goal of nationalist character formation as ever. Sadat's comment appears to recognize that the hegemony of the government's functionalized religious instruction had been only partial, incapable of preventing violence in the streets. But such a conclusion, literally unthinkable to a modern leader habituated to think in terms of educational amelioration, could only be expressed as the implication that an obsolete “old style” of instruction still held sway, and that some elusive new style could be found that would meet the goals of social control. This case of sublimated rhetorical force is hardly unique. After a century of obsession with the issue, Egyptian educational planning documents still implore “curriculum change to emphasize critical, scientific thinking to replace rote learning and memorization,” [67] a call that echoes Milner in its assumption that old ways of thinking have kept Egypt back, and that new ways of thinking cannot by definition have taken hold as long as the country remains on the international periphery. If the power of positive thinking can rescue the country economically, an unspecified “new style” of religious instruction can yet be found to keep the populace quiet.

In fact, if we look at the relative class time devoted to religious study in curricula set near the end of Sadat's tenure by Law no. 139 of 1981, which was in force through the end of the decade, other subjects actually crowded out religious instruction.

As shown in table 1, the relative proportion of time assigned to religious studies for the lower classes in elementary schools remained stable between 1903 and 1933, rising only slightly from 31.4 percent to 33.3 percent. At the same time (1932), the curriculum of the primary school, intended for the children of the urban middle and upper classes, devoted slightly less than 6 percent of class time to religion (see table 2). In 1951–52, a unified primary curriculum assigned 8.5 percent of class time to religion, a figure that increased to 9.5 percent the following year.[68] The primary curriculum of 1963 assigned 10.6 percent of class time to the study of religion. Despite Sadat's apparent concern, Law no. 139 actually reduced the amount of time assigned for religious instruction by almost 30 percent relative to its position during the “twenty years of inner corruption” in Nasser's schools.

2. Relative Time Devoted to Subjects—Primary Schools
  1932 1963 1981
Religion 6% 11% 8%
Arabic 30 30 25
Arithmetic 15 16 16
Science 5 8 6
Social Studies 5 7 4
Physical Education 5 8 7
Music 4 4
Technical/Practical 13 16 8
Foreign Language 20 22

Religion in Postprimary Schools

Over the long run, the decline in the proportion of the week's classes devoted to religious study at the primary level has been compensated for both by an increase in the number of periods and by a gradual increase in the number of years of postprimary schooling during which religious instruction was mandated. Religion had been emphasized throughout the monarchy in the Institutes of Domestic Economy, and in normal schools for teachers in kuttabs (both male and female), emphasizing the special responsibility of future mothers and elementary teachers in the moral education of the nation,[69] but in 1930, only one class per week of religious instruction was required in the first two years of the secondary curriculum. The content of this curriculum shows clearly the functionalization of religious doctrine and strongly contrasts the ritual-centeredness of either Azhari instruction or of peasant concern. Instead, it foregrounds the psychological, behavioral, sociological, and historical implications of the Islamic tradition. In the first year of secondary school, students were to learn about:

  1. The influence of Islam on self-improvement (tahdhib al-nafs) and behavior; giving examples of the impress of the Islamic religion on the life of the Arabs [such as] their reunification, the refinement of their character and the extirpation of evil deeds that were spread among them.

  2. The Glorious Qur’an: how it descended, the revelation, its collection and recording; a concise summary of what it contains of cultural and personal status matters, with the citation of some verses.

  3. The student memorizes fifteen Qur’anic verses and ten Prophetic traditions on various topics, with an understanding of their meaning.

In the second year of secondary school, five more topics completed the formal contribution of state schools to the religious development of the Egyptian adolescent:

  • [Divine] Messengers and the reason for their mission; their necessary attributes; their famous miracles; Muhammad, may God bless and save him; announcement that he is the seal of the Prophets and the Messenger of God unto all people.

  • The rivalry of leadership between Mecca and Medina; the cultural background of the Hijra.

  • The Way of the Prophet in speech and practice, and its derivation from the [true] religion; the establishment of Islamic jurisprudence; the four orthodox schools; the best-known divisions of Islam (Sunni and Shi‘i).

  • Consultation in Islam; freedom and equality in Islam; the rights of women in Islam, derived from the Book and the way of the Prophet; the various well-known innovations in religion.

  • The student memorizes fifteen Qur’anic verses, and ten Prophetic traditions on various topics, with an understanding of their meaning.[70]

Having mastered elementary doctrine and ‘ibada (worship) in primary school, students at the secondary stage were to devote themselves to character formation, Islamic history, basic religious institutions, and the religious principles that underlay and justified the country's emerging liberal political organization. Particularly worth noting is the manner in which the Qur’an was treated for purposes of memorization. God's revelation was no longer to be taken to heart in its thirty traditional sections and their subdivisions, or even in chapters; rather, each individual verse was to be treated as an entity, and memorized because of its connection to a certain topic. The achievement of understanding the verse, once the subject of an entire science of interpretation in traditional Islamic education, was now implicit in the verse's very selection and use, a clear parallel to European practice. During the two decades preceding the revolution, the amount of time assigned to religious instruction in the post-primary curriculum rose slowly but steadily,[71] and the subject matter shifted toward “concern with religious associations, attention to the location of prayer and the doing of pious works, help for the poor, and other social/religious values that underline the connection between religion as a subject of study and the society in which the student lives.” [72] The political influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose support for the revolution was critical early on, manifested itself in the religious curriculum as a growing emphasis on personal piety and social responsibility.[73]

And the curriculum kept changing as new political realities emerged, new university entrance requirements were promulgated, and the demographics of the school system changed. The content of lessons followed that of the elementary schools in supporting socialist values. As Olivier Carré quotes from the preface of the 1958 ninth grade religious studies textbook:

Religious instruction is one of the most powerful factors in the preparation of a virtuous youth, who believes in his Lord and in his country, even as he works for the benefit of his society on the bases of socialism, democracy, and cooperation, all things called for and affirmed by religion.[74]

Religious instruction ensured “the values of loyalty to the nation and to its goals, which correspond to the goals of religion and its struggle in opposition to imperialism.” [75] It sought, as one part of a comprehensive system of public mobilization, to provide an ideological path leading from the filial values of the family unit to the nationalist and socialist values of the various mass organizations into which the Egyptian citizen would be ushered in his transition from the school and family to the workplace. The presence of religious instruction in preparatory and secondary schools beginning in the 1920s and 1930s indicates an important realization on the part of planners and politicians that the absolute distinction between the religious mentality of the Azharites and the modern mentality supposedly inculcated by the modern educationist was perhaps a false one; or at least that it was less important than the potential power of Islamic symbols to carry a number of different meanings, a feature too important to ignore in the age of the newspaper and the radio.

In the early years of the monarchy, too, Islamic culture took on a nationalist tint that it could not have possessed at the time when European-style education was introduced into the country a hundred years before. Its use in the higher schools at that time was at least in part a reaction against the Euro-centeredness of elite education during the later years of Cromer's agency, when “third and fourth-year Egyptian students were following a history and government syllabus that might have come from Eton or Harrow.” [76] By the end of the 1960s the function of Islamic instruction had shifted as the nature of the schools and the demographic characteristics of the students changed. No longer merely for the wealthy, higher schools became the last venue of centrally supervised socialization for large numbers of literate young people about to enter the work force, begin their own families, and become a political force either useful or dangerous to the state.

As the Egyptian educational system continues to expand physically, its supporters grow ever more convinced of its moral impact, as it “rais[es] successive generations of children and youth according to firm fundamentals of science and faith, implant[s] spiritual and religious values, principles and ideals and creat[es] advanced abilities and talents.” [77] The state's responsibility for the creation of individual values is paramount, since values and behavior are intimately linked to economic and social well-being. Egypt's Second Five-Year Plan for Socio-Economic Development described the relationship this way:

The individual is the main focus of any effort to build a society and the most important component of development. The state has devoted special attention to his spiritual and intellectual formation, taking care to place him on the right course to absorb the knowledge and technological achievements of the modern age. Education strengthens and increases the positive traits in an individual's personality and helps him discover and overcome any negative traits he may have.…The state works to integrate the functions of education by imbedding and developing religious values, responsible behavior, self-dignity and sense of individualism…promoting spiritual, behavioral and educational values in the young to provide a basis for future behavior, while implanting national values, loyalty and patriotism.[78]

In the following chapters the focus will shift from the historical transformation of religious instruction in the public school to the institutional context in which Islamic messages are constructed and delivered to the urban Egyptian child. Highlighting how the parental role of the state is expressed in various types of religious education programs, the next three chapters will show how religious instruction has become one of the strategic arenas in which political tensions and conflicts are fought out. Central to these conflicts is increased public discussion of the moral problems and prospects of Egyptian children (awlad) and youth (shabab), which have become, respectively, the primary symbols of the country's long-term aspirations, and of its current political and economic difficulties.


1. Russell Galt, The Effects of Centralization on Education in Modern Egypt (Cairo: American University in Cairo, Department of Education, 1936), p. 121. [BACK]

2. Brown, Peasant Politics. [BACK]

3. Richard Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers. (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 213. [BACK]

4. R. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers, p. 213. [BACK]

5. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1906, vol. 137, p. 569. [BACK]

6. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1907, vol. 100, pp. 714–15. [BACK]

7. Gorst, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1909, vol. 105, p. 42. [BACK]

8. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1906, vol. 137, p. 569. [BACK]

9. Gorst, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1911, vol. 103, p. 36. [BACK]

10. Gorst, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1909, vol. 105, p. 39. Kitchener stressed the same fear of migration three years later:

What seems most required for progress in this direction is to evolve the best type of rural school, adapted to the special practical needs of agricultural districts, and when this has been done we may confidently hope to see a considerable increase in the number of boys educated. It must not be forgotten that any hasty or unthought-out development of education in rural districts, unless it is carefully adapted to rural necessities, may imperil the agricultural interests on which the prosperity of the country so largely depends. A rural exodus in Egypt would be an economic and social disaster of considerable magnitude. (Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1912, vol. 121, p. 4)


11. Cromer, “Reports on the State of Egypt and the Progress of Administrative Reforms,” Parl. Pap., 1898, vol. 107, pp. 664–65. [BACK]

12. Cromer, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1903, vol. 87, p. 1009. The real problem arose in the primary system, in which the Qur’an was one of the required subjects, and yet Muslims formed less than 80 percent of the school population as a whole. Among the students who passed the primary certificate examination in 1903, there were 383 Muslims, 227 Copts, and 4 Jews. Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1904, vol. 111, p. 266. The primary curriculum was rewritten in 1907 and, in addition to the beginning of a conversion of all instruction to Arabic from English and French, religion was moved to the last school period so that Coptic students could leave. If there were more than 15 Coptic students in a school, they could be provided with a religion course by an unpaid visiting teacher, or, later, by a paid Coptic teacher. In 1908, 875 Coptic students attended religious instruction by designated Coptic teachers (not priests) in fifteen of the government primary schools. Gorst, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1909, vol. 105, p. 42. [BACK]

13. Gorst, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1910, vol. 112, p. 42. [BACK]

14. In Britain, Dissenters and Non-Conformists as well as Roman Catholics were substantial opponents of many educational schemes proffered by adherents of the official Church of England; in Iraq after the First World War, British colonial authorities had to consider the complex and often contrasting interests of Sunnis and Shi‘ites, Kurds, Jews, and various denominations of Christians, and how to deal with the looted remains of a small Europeanized educational system that heretofore had delivered instruction largely in Turkish. See Gertrude Bell, “Review of the Civil Administration of Mesopotamia,” Parl. Pap., 1920, vol. 51, pp. 10–13, 56–57, 103–7. The Commission on Elementary Education in Egypt noted that government schools were strictly secular, in Ministry of Education, Report of the Elementary Education Commission, p. 19. [BACK]

15. Kitchener, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1911, vol. 103, p. 7. [BACK]

16. Kitchener, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1911, pp. 37–38. [BACK]

17. Kitchener, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1911, p. 57. [BACK]

18. Kitchener, Annual Report, Parl. Pap., 1911, p. 38. [BACK]

19. Ministry of Education, Report of the Elementary Education Commission, p. 20. [BACK]

20. Quoted in Salama, L'Enseignement islamique, p. 303. [BACK]

21. Ministry of Education, Report of the Elementary Education Commission, appendix, p. 41. [BACK]

22. Egyptian Constitution of 1923, Article 149: “The Religion of the State is Islam. Arabic is the official language.” In Nasser's 1964 Constitution, Article 5 reads, “Islam is the religion of the State and Arabic its official Language.” [BACK]

23. Boktor, School and Society, p. 122. [BACK]

24. Salama, L'Enseignement islamique, p. 316. [BACK]

25. F. O. Mann, Report on Certain Aspects of Egyptian Education, Rendered to His Excellency, the Minister of Education at Cairo (Cairo: Government Press, 1932). [BACK]

26. For a good example, see Isma‘il Mahmud al-Qabbani, Siyasa al-ta‘lim fi Misr (Cairo: Lajnah al-ta’lif wa al-tarjama wa al-nashr, 1944). [BACK]

27. Galt, The Effects of Centralization, p. 16. [BACK]

28. Galt, The Effects of Centralization, p. 120. [BACK]

29. Boktor, School and Society, p. 203. [BACK]

30. Galt, The Effects of Centralization, p. 120. [BACK]

31. Eickelman, “The Art of Memory.” [BACK]

32. Boktor, School and Society, p. 204. [BACK]

33. Boktor, School and Society, p. 131. [BACK]

34. From an article by “a prominent writer and educator” in al-Ahram, 8 March 1933, quoted in Boktor, School and Society, p. 154. [BACK]

35. Quote from “a large landlord, perhaps the wealthiest in Egypt,” in Charles Issawi, Egypt: An Economic and Social Analysis (London: Oxford University Press, 1947), p. 149. [BACK]

36. Neguib el-Hilali, Report on Educational Reform in Egypt (Cairo: Government Press, Boulaq, 1943), pp. 1–2. [BACK]

37. El-Hilali, Report on Educational Reform, pp. 42–43, 49. [BACK]

38. El-Hilali, Report on Educational Reform, p. 69. [BACK]

39. El-Hilali, Report on Educational Reform, p. 75. [BACK]

40. El-Hilali, Report on Educational Reform, p. 50. [BACK]

41. El-Hilali, Report on Educational Reform, p. 52. [BACK]

42. El-Hilali, Report on Educational Reform, p. 52. [BACK]

43. Al-Qabbani, Siyasa al-ta‘lim, pp. 25–28. [BACK]

44. Al-Qabbani, Siyasa al-ta‘lim, p. 28. See also Durkheim, Moral Education, pp. 125, 148. [BACK]

45. Al-Qabbani, Siyasa al-ta‘lim, pp. 28–9. [BACK]

46. Abu Al-Futouh Ahmad Radwan, Old and New Forces in Egyptian Education (New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1951), p. 138. [BACK]

47. Radwan, Old and New Forces, pp. 138–39. [BACK]

48. Radwan, Old and New Forces, p. 159. [BACK]

49. Radwan, Old and New Forces, pp. 128–29. [BACK]

50. Radwan, Old and New Forces, p. 113. [BACK]

51. A biographer of Hasan al-Banna, citing the latter's criticism of al-Azhar graduates; cited in R. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers, p. 213. [BACK]

52. Brown, Peasant Politics, pp. 42–43. [BACK]

53. Hamed Ammar, Growing Up in an Egyptian Village (New York: Octagon Books), p. 78. [BACK]

54. Ammar, Growing Up, p. 212. [BACK]

55. Ammar, Growing Up, p. 220. [BACK]

56. Carré, Enseignement islamique, pp. 8–9. [BACK]

57. Carré, Enseignement islamique, p. 33. [BACK]

58. Rif‘at Sayyid Ahmad, Al-Din wa al-dawla wa al-thawra (Cairo: al-Dar al-sharqiyyah, 1989), pp. 269, 274. [BACK]

59. Hasan al-Hariri, Muhammad Mustafa Zaydan, Alyas Barsum Matar, and Dr. Sayyid Khayr Allah, Al-Madrasa al-ibtida’iyya (Cairo: Maktaba al-nahda al-Misriyya, 1966), pp. 17–18. [BACK]

60. Al-Hariri et al., Al-Madrasa al-ibtida’iyya, p. 3. [BACK]

61. Richard Tapper and Nancy Tapper, “Religion, Education, and Continuity in a Provincial Town,” in Islam in Modern Turkey: Religion, Politics and Literature in a Secular State, ed. Richard Tapper (London: I. B. Tauris & Co., 1991), p. 73. [BACK]

62. James Mayfield, Rural Politics in Nasser's Egypt: A Quest for Legitimacy (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971), pp. 152–53. [BACK]

63. R. Ahmad, Al-Din wa al-dawla, p. 271; Hobsbawm, “Mass-Producing Traditions,” p. 271. [BACK]

64. Ilya Harik, The Political Mobilization of Peasants (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974), pp. 180–83. [BACK]

65. Article 19 states, “Al-Tarbiya al-diniyya madda asasiyya fi manahij al-ta‘lim al-‘amm” (Religious education is a basic subject in the general education curricula). [BACK]

66. Anwar Sadat, “Meeting by President Mohamed Anwar el Sadat with the Moslem and Christian Religious Leaders, Cairo, February 8, 1977” (Cairo: Arab Republic of Egypt, Ministry of Information, State Information Service), pp. 14–15. [BACK]

67. Educational Planning Unit, Ministry of Education, Government of Egypt, “Reform of the Educational System of Egypt: A Sector Assessment,” draft, USAID Development Information Center, 8 January 1990, p. 18. [BACK]

68. R. Ahmad, Al-Din wa al-dawla, pp. 265–75. [BACK]

69. Ahmad Hechmat Pacha, Questions d'education et d'enseignement (Cairo: 1914), pp. 148–265. [BACK]

70. Wizara al-ma‘arif al-‘umumiyya, Manhaj al-ta‘lim al-thanawi lil-madaris al-banin wa al-banat (Cairo: al-Mutaba‘a al-amiriyya, 1930), p. 1. [BACK]

71. Boktor, School and Society, p. 126; Galt, Effects of Centralization, p. 127; R. Ahmad, Al-Din wa al-dawla, p. 269. [BACK]

72. R. Ahmad, Al-Din wa al-dawla, p. 270. [BACK]

73. Carré, Enseignement islamique, p. 6. [BACK]

74. Quoted in Carre, Enseignement islamique, p. 72. [BACK]

75. R. Ahmad, Al-Din wa al-dawla, p. 272. [BACK]

76. Ried, “Turn-of-the-Century Egyptian School Days,” p. 383. [BACK]

77. Ronald G. Wolfe, trans., Egypt's Second Five-Year Plan for Socio-Economic Development (1987/88–1991/2), with Plan for Year One (1987/88) (Cairo: Professional Business Services Ltd.), p. 131. [BACK]

78. Wolfe, trans., Egypt's Second Five-Year Plan, p. 142. [BACK]

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