History fails to interest Egyptian students

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History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Winged Isis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:12 am

Despite rich past, history fails to interest Egyptian students
Fatma Keshk
Thu, 30/08/2012 - 15:08

Instilling a sense of pride of the country’s past in the young is a priority for history educators in Egypt.

“History is an endless source of morals,” says Inas al-Qady, a social studies consultant at the Education Ministry. “Hence, we stress values of affiliation and identity in the introduction of every lesson.”

But most students seem apathetic toward the subject, and parents and teachers continue to complain about the quality of history education in schools across the country.

History curricula are designed to chronologically cover all periods of Egyptian history from pharaonic to contemporary times with further details added depending on students’ age group. So, it seemed only intuitive to add a chapter about the 25 January revolution to the curricula of sixth graders and middle schoolers last year. Previous lessons about the role of the National Democratic Party in political life and its many “achievements” were removed along with photographs of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Historical narratives offered in schools are generally fragmented and highly selective, and change based on political developments. Most lessons covering the pharonic, Islamic or modern periods stress taking pride in monuments, with rare mentions of economic or social developments. And when periods of colonization are examined, invaders from the Hyksos to Mongols are presented as pure evil, without going deeper into the context.

In high school history curricula, students learn about Egypt from Islamic times until the present. Yet the 500 years between the Crusades and Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt are completely missing, which makes us wonder how such decisions are made.

A seemingly tight process

History professors all over the country contribute to developing the curricula. The Education Ministry announces to publishing houses that it will be printing a new history book and provides an outline of the content, according to its Document of Standards for History Programs.

“Each publishing house is then free to select the book’s authors and make submissions,” says Qady.

A social studies consultant, such as Qady, and a committee from the ministry’s Center for Developing Curricula and Educational Materials then review submissions and approve selected curricula.

Occasionally, institutions other than the Education Ministry are called in to review submissions as well. Soad Megahed, professor of Greek and Roman History at Ain Shams's Faculty of Education, says the Coptic Orthodox Church had to officially approve lessons she put together on the Greco-Roman period that include information about the arrival of Christianity to Egypt.

A disparate vision

Despite the apparent efficiency of the process, both parents and professors at the Faculty of Education, which graduates most history teachers, agree that students are not receiving a properly insightful and engaging history education.

“The study of consecutive historical events can by all means be a tool to train young students on critical analysis and thinking,” says Gehane Roshdy, ancient Egyptian history lecturer at Ain Shams’s Faculty of Education. “It is not just about memorizing by heart historical names, dates and events.”

But school curricula are developed with an eye on the quantity of information presented rather than its quality, says Roshdy. “Young students, for instance, are obliged to memorize names of 18th dynasty pharaohs without knowing the clear definition of a dynasty and how the chronology works.” This has driven many students to dislike studying history altogether.

In an attempt to engage students with the subject, exercises and activities have been introduced into the curricula over the past few years. Still, Roshdy believes most lessons and activities are based on a one-way flow of information from the teacher and textbook to students.

Some parents are concerned about the very accuracy of the information in textbooks. King Ahmose, for instance, is mentioned in the chapter on the Middle Kingdom in the fourth grade history book, while in fact he reigned some 200 years later.

“Sometimes, I have to accept teaching my daughter the wrong information although I know the correct [information],” says Amira Saddik, Egyptologist and mother of a fourth grader. “In the final exam, she will be asked to cite the information as it is in the ministry’s book.”

Another error is the publishing of photos of monuments from the New Kingdom period next to a lesson about the Old Kingdom.

History for the future

The Education Ministry has been working hard since 2008 on developing the content and design of history schoolbooks, Qady says. But the plans came to a halt when the revolution began.

Instead of adding a chapter about the revolution, educators need to revolutionize the approach beyond updating or adding exercises and activities. A new vision that is neither monolithic nor simplistically centered around the achievements of pharoahs, kings, presidents and leaders should be considered.

Hopefully then students would not be quizzed on the achievements of King Zoser without learning about the architects and workmen involved in building the Saqqara ziggurat. And they would also get a more complex understanding of contemporary history and events that is based on discussion and critical thinking.


http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/de ... n-students


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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Scottishtourist » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:35 am

You know WI, I kinda agree with them!
This is all too deep for me!
All students who have fought for revolution, then pain in the arse tourists expect them to know about Egyptian history?
Who are we?
Let Luxor be an historical city...but why dwell on it?give respect to their dead!!!
So fed up with all this crappy stuff...all blah,blah!!!
Who does it suit?
Not me! You perhaps?
Too much of the historical stuff here when people don't realise that maybe,just maybe,they'd be happy with the limited knowledge that us tourists know and are interested in!
Does your Egyptian husband care how much you know or does he care about your feelngs towards him?
I'm personally bloody fed up with everyone's attitudes there!
You tell us to come for the culture...then you tell us we ain't welcome cos we wan't Ibiza!
It's just ****!!!
If we ain't embracing the culture and past...then we're "philistines"...and if we're embracing the sunshine...then we're imbeciles who don't appreciate that very same culture!
Sorry...but we just can't win!!!

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by LivinginLuxor » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:21 am

Similar to Britain then? How much of British history does the average schoolkid know, or is even interested in.

Looking at the way the world is going, I think that a quotation I know, but can't remember its source is apt:- "The only lesson that can be learnt from history, is that there is no lesson to be learnt from history"
I might agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong!
Stan

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Scottishtourist » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:07 am

Touche Stan/LIL!
History is recreational pursuit!An interesting subject to read and learn about.
But...it bears no resemblance to modern life!
We're all living in 21st century,even the Egyptian people!
There's Egyptian surgeon who works in same hospital as me.He's lovely man,skilled,dedicated and passionate about his work.He doesn't care about his country's history.He's more interested in modern day advancements in medicine and avidly supports all efforts to bring his fellow peers into a modern world!
Knowing about history doesn't help him to be better surgeon!Living and learning in a modern world is what he appreciates and he bemoans the fact that there are many good doctors in his country who have no recourse to post graduate education and can only research new technology via the internet!
Teach everyone history by all means.But why not make it "modern"history?That surely should have it's place as well!
Middle kingdoms,pharoahs,etc,etc?It's all irrelevant in a modern world!How many Egyptologists can one country support?

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Winged Isis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:29 pm

I am sick of your constant uncalled-for venom and swearing, ST. I send you one reasonable, polite pm, and ever since you make spiteful comments about every post I make. You seem overly sensitive about something.

"Does your Egyptian husband care how much you know or does he care about your feelngs towards him?" What on earth has that got to do with the price of fish??? Now you think it's clever to bring my husband into it. Sad. If you don't like my posts, don't read them. It's not rocket science... if you are not interested in history, don't read the posts about it. Doh! No-one is holding a gun to your head. As there are 32 who have read this thread already, obviously it does interest some people, so leave it to them and stick to topics that do interest you, like your greeting cards or whatever. If some want to discuss deep topics, how is that a problem for you??? There is nothing in the forum rules that says you have to read every post.

"You tell us to come for the culture...then you tell us we ain't welcome cos we wan't Ibiza!
It's just sh*t!!!
If we ain't embracing the culture and past...then we're "philistines"...and if we're embracing the sunshine...then we're imbeciles who don't appreciate that very same culture!"
I have never said anything remotely like that to you or anyone else. Don't accuse me of something untrue.

Ask anyone to name one thing they know about Egypt, and you can pretty well bet it will be something to do with it's ancient past. Anytime someone hears I have been there, nine times out of ten they say "Oh, I've always wanted to see the pyramids and Tut's treasure", or similar. However, if you or anyone else go for the sun, fine, each to his own, but stop denigrating those who go for other reasons; we aren't criticising your choices. I personally couldn't care less why someone travels.

Seems to me health carers would be doing it even harder, and patients would suffer more, if archaeologists and historians didn't investigate past diseases and illnesses. Finding the causes for them has led to more than one important cure or treatment.

There is room for history in the present and the future.
Carpe diem! :le:

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by HEPZIBAH » Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:57 pm

Winged Isis wrote:There is room for history in the present and the future.
You've beaten me to it! :roll: ;)

Many people know that I have barely a passing interest in the history of Egypt, or of anywhere or anything else come to that. However, there are times when something will grab my interest and/or imagination and I may look at it closer - maybe not from the mainstream views but from my own level and variety of interest and knowledge or wish for further knowledge. I don't pretend to know anything much at all about about most subject, but I am usually in a position where I can make conversation or an opinion. What I do know though is some of us need to know more about our collective and/or specific past as that is what has brought us to the present and will, probably with modifications take us to the future.

We don't all have to know everything, or should even try to understand everything. Equally we shouldn't knock those who have interests or deeper knowledge of subject that we don't have an interest in or vice versa.

On the subject of Culture vs Relaxation in a place like Luxor - isn't there room for both? It is not the ideal holiday location for most people who want a typical laid back holiday, but it does have lots of other good things going for it - even if you are not a Culture Vulture!
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it is what you do with what happens to you.
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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Scottishtourist » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:08 pm

Actually think you are being far too overly sensitive WI!
I agree and disagree with almost everyone on this forum.I don't have a problem with it.Why should you?
You are not singled out for any VENOM(a word you always seem very quick to use,when something doesn't suit you!)
If you want me to leave forum (once again to suit you!)then go ahead and say so,and I'll just observe from a distance.
I have had posts dissected,analysed,criticised and condemned.For what?Speaking my mind?
Have also had posts directed at me which quite frankly are derogative,nasty (I'll refrain from using word venomous,although it has been meted on various occasions!)and personally,YES PERSONALLY,insulting!
So don't come on here with your rants against me and self-pity because I happen to have an opinion.At least my opinions are NOT directed at anyone personally.If you choose to view them that way,then so be it!

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by HEPZIBAH » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:18 pm

Scottishtourist wrote:Actually think you are being far too overly sensitive WI!
I agree and disagree with almost everyone on this forum.I don't have a problem with it.Why should you?
You are not singled out for any VENOM(a word you always seem very quick to use,when something doesn't suit you!)
If you want me to leave forum (once again to suit you!)then go ahead and say so,and I'll just observe from a distance.
I have had posts dissected,analysed,criticised and condemned.For what?Speaking my mind?
Have also had posts directed at me which quite frankly are derogative,nasty (I'll refrain from using word venomous,although it has been meted on various occasions!)and personally,YES PERSONALLY,insulting!
So don't come on here with your rants against me and self-pity because I happen to have an opinion.At least my opinions are NOT directed at anyone personally.If you choose to view them that way,then so be it!

Scottishtourist wrote:You know WI, I kinda agree with them!
This is all too deep for me!
All students who have fought for revolution, then pain in the A*se tourists expect them to know about Egyptian history?
Who are we?
Let Luxor be an historical city...but why dwell on it?give respect to their dead!!!
So fed up with all this crappy stuff...all blah,blah!!!
Who does it suit?
Not me! You perhaps?
Too much of the historical stuff here when people don't realise that maybe,just maybe,they'd be happy with the limited knowledge that us tourists know and are interested in!
Does your Egyptian husband care how much you know or does he care about your feelngs towards him?
I'm personally bloody fed up with everyone's attitudes there!
You tell us to come for the culture...then you tell us we ain't welcome cos we wan't Ibiza!
It's just sh*t!!!
If we ain't embracing the culture and past...then we're "philistines"...and if we're embracing the sunshine...then we're imbeciles who don't appreciate that very same culture!
Sorry...but we just can't win!!!
Aren't they? I think other readers may think differently!
Image Experience is not what happens to you;
it is what you do with what happens to you.
-Aldous Huxley

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Scottishtourist » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:26 pm

And I personally think that you totally over moderate my posts Hepzibah,whilst ignoring any derogative comments made against me personally!C'est la vie!
Time I bowed out I reckon.Egypt4u seems far more pleasant place!

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by HEPZIBAH » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:50 pm

Scottishtourist wrote:And I personally think that you totally over moderate my posts Hepzibah,whilst ignoring any derogative comments made against me personally!C'est la vie!
Time I bowed out I reckon.Egypt4u seems far more pleasant place!
No, I have not moderated your posts at all. In this instance I have made a personal comment and pointed out discrepencies.
I may be a moderator, but thankfully it is a hat I do not have to wear too often. I am capeable of being able to tell the difference between the two - my personal usage of the forums as a member and the duties I am commited to as a moderator.
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it is what you do with what happens to you.
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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Winged Isis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:30 pm

I am not in the least sensitive about your posts, ST, just amazed at how strong they are when it is rarely warranted. Though I do wonder why you continue to post on an Egypt-specific forum, and why you visit Egypt, when you so often express contempt for Egyptians and for members who are interested in its history. As Hepzi observes above, there is room for many types of tourist, and forum members, and neither should have to be worried about the other. There are plenty of other places in the world for sun-seekers if Egypt's ways disagrees with them. "If you want me to leave forum (once again to suit you!)then go ahead and say so,and I'll just observe from a distance." No-one, least of all me, has asked you to do so. Once again, you put words into my mouth, once again, it is your choice whether you go or stay.

"At least my opinions are NOT directed at anyone personally." Also along with Hepzi, I disagree. Apart from mine, Who2 is regularly denigrated, for at least one example. If anyone had nothing better to do, or has lost the will to keep living :lol: , they could easily trawl old posts and find just how often you go OTT after he or I post. "So don't come on here with your rants against me and self-pity because I happen to have an opinion." I have not expressed any self-pity, merely made an observation which can be easily verified. And it is not because you have an opinion, which of course you are entitled to, it is the manner in which you always express it in relation to my posts.

People, for the record, not long after she joined the forums, I politely asked ST to put a space after full stops to make it easier to read her posts, which I did via a pm, and not in public for all to see. I clearly explained from time to time newbies were asked to do things like this e.g. change the font style, colour or size, or even to use full stops, purely for ease of reading, as some members had eyesight problems. A space after the full stop is a universally accepted punctuation convention, so I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary, was I? Others were always kind enough to change. ST replied heatedly and rudely, implying I was insulting her intelligence or that she was not well-educated, which I definitely did not, and including some unrelated comment about how she had brought up various children (???), as I seem to remember (the pms have disappeared into the mists of time as my inbox overflowed). I replied politely, repeating my reasons, and saying don't bother to reply, as I wouldn't read it. She replied, I deleted it unread. A few months later, someone else asked her politely to do the same thing as I had, but asked PUBLICLY, and for the same reasons. She ignored them, well at least publicly; she may have pm-ed them. Ever since my pm, she has gone OTT on my posts as she did twice yesterday. I am only mentioning this piece of ancient history (I'll probably get shot down in flames for that! :lol: ) to explain her attitude to those who are puzzled as to why she does.

Normally I ignore rudeness in the interests of peace, trying instead to understand what people are really saying behind the feelings. I am not being sensitive, ST. I have ignored many of your comments for a very long time. They merely astonish me in their intensity, relative to their topic! Now I will just go back to ignoring you. Any future comments by you will most likely be enough to support my above observations.

Thank you, Hepzi, for your well-reasoned comments; as usual a voice of calm and balance in this mad old world. :)
Carpe diem! :le:

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Scottishtourist » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:47 pm

I've just re-read this post WI,after a very long week doing the job that I'm qualified for and paid for!
Sorry to bring it back to the fore,but feel I have to reply!
Now...was that "PRIVATE!Message"that you so kindly shared with all and sundry the one before the one you sent me relating to avatars?
I recall you sending me one implying that I had "taken" someone else's avatar from E4U.A fact I was ignorant of,as I had not visited that fellow forum at that time.Was just so pleased that another member had advised me on where to find avatars and that I had successfully chosen one from gallery and managed to use it!
Or was it one before the one you sent me "requesting"me to stop using phrase "kind regards"as it was constant irritant to you and other members?
Far from being "polite"requests...your PM's were quite frankly patronising and your subsequent use of the term "newbie"was in manner of retired schoolmarm chastising naughty schoolgirl!
Just for the record...for all "people"...these "various"children I have brought up happen to be MY own!
No "Sawney Bean" tribe,just a family!
Hopefully,this now clears things up for all and sundry who have been wondering!
My PM's from you (uninvited!) ain't been lost in any ether...will happily share and hopefully let other members see that their PM's are not PRIVATE should any member so choose to share them!
They'd be naive to think that they will be kept PRIVATE!

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Winged Isis » Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:20 am

I will reply once more, just to clarify some of your points, as I do not like to be quoted inaccurately.

Yes, I politely (see bold type below) advised you (that's quite different from "implying") about your avatar in Chocolate Eclair's thread on "Avatars". See viewtopic.php?f=13&t=29386&hilit=avatars for the full thread.

As it was in use by someone else on RS4u, and as members of L4u also frequent RS4u and E4u, it might have caused some confusion. I knew you were very new and not likely to have found those forums, let alone seen that avatar. You were not the first to make this unintentional mistake, and won't be the last. Here is what I posted (not a pm), so therefore not private:

"ST, I'm sorry but Susue on the Red Side uses that avatar. Check with Keefy on the rules regarding that."
How is that not polite? I referred you to Keefy as I wasn't sure of the rules and wanted you to get accurate information. I also posted:

"Sorry BW! Of course you and ST wouldn't know, unless you frequent RS4u, that is why I mentioned it (before someone got nasty), and because I do what Keefy said, i.e. look at avatars not names when I scroll through posts. I'm sure you'll find an even better one ST. If it's cats you're after, there are sure to be millions! I'm sure you'd rather be unique, as I'm sure you're not common! " Not helpful, impolite????? Your response: "All done!Loads to choose from,just didn't know where else to look! Thanks for advice. Kind Regards."

Keefy's response: "On the old forum you could not select an Avatar which was already in use, this code is not with the new forum so you can select any Avatar you want, though if you see someone else using the same Avatar it might be best to change it so others dont get confused, many including myself sometimes scroll through posts and recognize members by their avatar without looking at their members name."

Billy Whiz apparently then kindly pm-ed you where you could get another (it certainly wasn't a post as is implied by you below). Your posted responses, also not private:

"Thanks Billy whiz, avatar successfully chosen!!" and "Thanks for all tips. Will pm Keefy and check.Not a problem to change it if need be.Kind Regards." So my advice obviously wasn't received by you as an insult or such; as since you said in your post this time as well, you were pleased for the help, which you wouldn't have asked for if I hadn't told you. Many new members are given posting advice, via both pm's and public posts, with the best of intentions, as was mine.

Yes, I requested you to stop using "Kind regards" after yet another of your posts that were really upsetting people, pointing out those words were really a misnomer as they didn't really match the tone of your comments. I also remember at least one other person, possibly more, has requested the same thing, for the same reason, in public. I quite likely wasn't so polite that time, having held my tongue for quite a while, due to the tone of your posts.

"Newbie" is a term regularly used on these forums and not meant to be insulting, or not by me. As I understand it (it's a UK thing, I think) it's meant to mean someone new, and nothing else, yes???

Sorry, I once again fail to understand your point about your children. My original reference to the original comment was that it didn't seem to have any relevance to the topic of punctuation conventions, and now I don't get what the fact that they are your own has to do with either that or this. This is not a criticism, just a query to clarify. "Sawney Bean tribe" is unknown to me also.

I am sorry everyone else that this is a public response, but I couldn't be sure that any pm I sent would be read, and if so, that it's intention/meaning would be understood/accepted. This is simply to correct inaccuracies and to hopefully cool things down, and get things back on topic.
Carpe diem! :le:

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by timetraveller » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:16 am

Well now,WI and ST, you may not appreciate my sticking my oar in here (and please tell me if you don't) but from the outside this looks like one of these situations in which you are both partly right and both partly wrong. A lot of people (myself included) like history ST, although WI's post was not just about history per se but about the subject within Egypt's Education System. The posts are always welcomed by many of us though so perhaps you could be less vociferous in your criticism of the subject matter? WI is right. You don't have to like or read everything that you read on here. But if you do read it you are of, of course, entitled to pass comment. But I agree with WI that sometimes you seem unnecessarily angry, but that may be due to your writing style. Short, bullet point sentences can come across that way.

But WI surely if you send a personal message ('private' is a misnomer, because they're not totally private as Keefy can read them so I understand), surely it should stay 'personal'. It's beholden on both sender and recipient to respect that arrangement in so far as I can see.

And how on earth WI can you criticize ST for her attitude to Dr. Who? She goes off the deep-end with him sometimes as have I but with both of us it's always defensive. His comments are often completely insensitive and unfair, particularly towards women posters. He invariably starts the nastiness but appears to be one of the privileged few on this forum to whom 'rules' do not seem to apply. He even gets away with directly swearing at people. Twice now he's called me a 'Prick' but nobody says a word about it! And his attitude after I had been mugged by a motorcyclist in Luxor was downright hurtful. I've now decided that the only effective way of dealing with this situation is to totally disregard his posts and I would urge you ST to do the same. Because in the end it's us who get blamed for overreacting to his bad behaviour.

And now ladies, or women if you prefer, wouldn't it be better to show some mutual support and solidarity rather than arguing over inconsequentialities? That's something most of the men on here seem to have taped. Rightly or wrongly they generally seem to back each other to the hilt. I don't really want to make a gender issue of it but sometimes it really does feel that way. Apart from Teddyboy who will often mount a contrary argument and seems to be much more independent in his views. And hats off to him for that!

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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by Winged Isis » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:07 am

TT, you are entitled to respond to a public post, with or without oars. :D

I only felt moved to mention some of that pm after her unnecessarily emotive reply, having held my peace for a very, very long time, despite her constant similar reactions to nearly all of my posts. I know some members have noticed and been wondering why.

I also mentioned it as, apart from keeping things private if so desired, pm's can also be used so as not to interfere with a topic, which was the other and main reason I asked her about the punctuation that way. Yes, Keefy can read them, and is welcome to find and read that pm about punctuation.

While I don't always understand, like or agree with Who2's posts and posting style, I merely mentioned him as the only example I could immediately remember accurately as one who had been answered in the same manner. I do not wish to enter into any situation between you two, or he and ST. Also, as Hepzi noted, ST's comment "At least my opinions are NOT directed at anyone personally.", was from my experience and observations patently inaccurate as concerns the posts of the good doctor and myself.

I am not arguing over "inconsequentialities", just making sure the facts are known, not inaccuracies (as is particularly obvious re the avatar). You can now probably see why I felt it would be pointless sending ST a pm. Anyway, her incorrect reporting/quoting was public, so therefore any reply also had to be, so balance could be restored.

I beg to differ on the gender issue, but do not wish to debate it further, thanks all the same, though others possibly (probably?) will. ;)
Carpe diem! :le:

timetraveller
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Re: History fails to interest Egyptian students

Post by timetraveller » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:28 pm

Fair enough, WI, I was just trying to help restore harmony. :) The issues the two of you are arguing about may not seem inconsequential to either of you I daresay, but from the outside looking in they would certainly appear that way. And, yes, I would agree that ST has directed her opinions at you and the 'good' Dr. personally. In your case it would seem undeserved. In his, it does not. He will persist in goading ST so, it stands to reason that she gives him a mauling in retaliation from time to time! He's always more than asked for anything he's got from either of us, and I suspect that in the case of ST he's likely to keep on getting it! And whether a message that starts off personal should remain personal is I moot point I suppose, and one that is probably best left to individual principles. And maybe you are right-maybe there is no gender issue. Maybe it's simply all just personal! :lol:













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