Egypt, Education, Muslims, Misrepresentation, Press, British occupation
During the British occupation from 1882 to 1922, Egypt saw the rise of colonial educational reforms, American missionary projects, and foreign-subsidized schools. Consequently, newspapers in North America reported extensively on these colonial educational excursions. In the view of correspondents, the so-called “enlightenment” of Egyptians was dependent on their adoption of Western moral ideals and instructional models. The main criticisms levelled at Egyptian education centred on what was viewed as the “incompetence” of native instructors and schools, namely Muslim ones, as well as the need for the modern education of young women. Moreover, Christian or Western schooling was posited as the way to “civilize” these indigenous populations.
Overall, these writings not only helped simultaneously construct both the “abroad” and the oppositional, superior identity of the West to readers, but also legitimated the British occupation as a whole. Therefore, journalism in North America was upholding and reinforcing a colonially-mediated representation of the realities in Egypt. In response to this misrepresentation, Egyptian writers and activists took to Western publications to dispel such denigrating narratives and appealing to readers to consider the failures of their British colonizers. This study of collected articles on Egyptian education in North American newspapers at the time reveals and deconstructs Western observers’ misrepresentations of schools and teaching and learning activities in Egypt.
Master of Arts
Major Research Paper