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Saturday, March 18, 2006 

Egyptian Schools graduate Robots

Have you ever been a student in an Egyptian school? Have you ever been asked to memorize chemical experiments and math equations? Can you imagine the kind of knowledge a student acquires through such type of education? Actually, Egyptian education is one Egypt??s most dangerous problems, as it does not produce minds that are able to observe, think or reach conclusions. Nevertheless, it brings up students who are spoon-fed. Meanwhile, the Egyptian government is not taking any real steps to offer better education. In fact, all Egyptian educational institutions need to be reformed. Yet, the government is just making the best use of the status-quo; therefore, hopes for reform or change are just mere dreams.

If you ask an Egyptian to describe the Egyptian method of educating students using one word, the answer will be ??memorize??. Even the imperative form of the verb here describes how Egyptian students are educated. For example, if you are studying chemistry, you have to memorize rules, laws, theories, experiments and even equations, or you will fail. Indeed, the same applies to all other subjects: math, Arabic, history, biology, physics?? etc. Accordingly, students have no chance to learn how to think scientifically, analyze or research. Hence, they become lazy and get used to be spoon-fed all what they are supposed to learn. Besides, such atmosphere suppresses any student who is willing to question and analyze what is being taught. Additionally, teachers are poorly qualified, so they find themselves unable to deal with these intelligent students. Therefore, the teachers ignore them to no to find themselves embarrassed by their intelligent questions.

Looking at the outcome of this type of education, you will find out that most of the students who successfully graduate from the Egyptian high-schools have actually learnt nothing, which, in fact, has a great impact on them when they join universities. For example, in the academic year 2002/2003 more than 75% of the freshmen of Faculty of Sciences, Ain Shams University, did not pass the first year. In general, high-school graduates are not ready to keep up with the new way of education they experience in universities, as they have not been taught how to research, analyze and come out with conclusions about anything. Consequently, they either give up, or fight to improve themselves. In fact, the majority of students take the first option and just try to find themselves in the work market. Yet, if you take a wider view of the outcome of the memorize-or-fail system of education, you will find out that most of the high school graduates are very poor intellectually. They are unable to look through the world around them, understand it, and have opinions of their own. Indeed, this is the main goal of such a type of education: it is to produce minds programmed to accept the status-quo and afraid of taking opposing stand-points.

Many thinkers do believe that it is only the regime that is making the best use of this situation. To illustrate, when Egyptian schools graduate young people who are very poor on the intellectual level; and incapable of making observations or forming their own opinions, the government will save itself the effort of facing any real opposition to appear in the near future. Moreover, it will be easier for the regime to control the minds of the youth as they used to take things for granted. In fact, they have become mere robots who take orders and carry them out without trying to understand what is really going on. With this in mind, it is now very clear why the government is not taking real steps to reform Egyptian educational institutions; it is because this type of education serves the government the best.

Finally, it is necessary to reform Egypt??s system of education, and calls for this reform should be louder. If the Egyptian schools continue graduating more robots, Egypt will have millions of young people who are incapable of contributing in their country??s progress. Moreover, all the Egyptian talents, which are Egypt??s real treasures, will be lost. To sum up, Egyptian education has to be reformed, even if this means a reform of the whole regime.

I've never been to the ME. But I've read from many reliable sources that this problem in not unique to Egypt. It is the standard way of teaching through most of the ME.

It would be cool to see Egypt break the mold and move beyond that method. Saudi students have mentioned that one is not allowed to question the teacher because it might embarass the teacher. So they have to just sit there and remember everything that comes out.

On the other hand, Middle Easterners are well known for having long memories. I'm mean just look around. Still fighting the same battles for hundreds of years.

Seriously. If you work with an ME educated Arab, it is freaky sometimes their ability to file and retrieve information in their heads. I can't even remember what I had for breakfast. They remember what I said two years ago at a meeting.

I do admire that. But not at the expense of criticle analysis, reason, and imagination.

And you are not alone. Asia has been battling this problem too. The pressure placed on South Korean, Japanese, Tawainese teens to remember facts for their university entrance exams is mind blowing. In order to succeed, they sometime have to sacrifice one for the other.

You could substitute "American" for "Egyptian" in that and be right on.

American schools are some of the worst in the "industrialized" world.

Best regards from NY! »

Best regards from NY! »

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