Egypt’s new educational plan: knowledge is good
Egypt’s leader and Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, has laid out his country’s newest educational initiative, a consequence of the Arab Spring that began in 2011. The initiative was first announced in a press release and was later detailed at Mr. Morsi’s weekly presidential press conference in Cairo.
“The first and most important educational thing,” said Mr. Morsi, former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, “is that we will no longer allow homeschooling in our country. While those in the west will not understand, we believe this will be useful in coming up with a standardized national Islamic approach to education which allows our government educational experts to decide which parts of the Koran will be most closely studied and will thus receive the greatest K-12 emphasis.” The government educational experts, who double as the nation’s Supreme Theocratic Council (the STC), are said to already be drafting legislation for the issue of Koran prioritization.
“Next,” Mr. Morsi continued, “we will eliminate homework.” Although it was not addressed, Egyptian educational insiders added that with this change, the school day will be lengthened to 14 hours, so as “to avoid the corrupting influence of parents on the minds of their children.”
“Finally,” he offered, “we will have a comprehensive exit exam which will be used to determine the adequacy of our educational processes.” In addition to a week-long recitation of the Koran, students will also be expected to provide an exhaustive written and oral defense of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Egyptian standards will include an affective learning element and individuals who do not display an adequate degree of enthusiasm towards the subject matter will be returned for re-education based what the insiders described a “the well-proven Cambodian model of the 1970s.”
One STC member added, “The west needs to know that they must embrace diversity in the form of this new Egyptian educational system. They must also learn to hold their serpentine tongues about criticizing any elements of our teachings, our great nation, or our religion of peace. If they don’t, they will face death and destruction the likes of which they’ve never seen.”
Some western education experts had earlier privately complained that the new Egyptian system is sex-biased and does not require reading, writing, or mathematical skills for the nation’s female students who are said to be only required to be proficient as seamstresses, so as to adequately cover their bodies and faces with well-sewn black cloth.
“You can’t judge the Egyptian people by German or Chinese or American standards,” Morsi said. “When the Egyptians decide something, it may not work for any other nation. Likewise, just because Americans decide something, this will, of course, not be appropriate for Egypt.”
When the press conference shifted to the U.S. elections, Mr. Morsi praised President Obama for moving “decisively and quickly” to support the Arab Spring revolutions. He added he believed that Americans supported “the right of the people of the [Middle East] region to enjoy the same freedoms that Americans have, except for freedom of speech, religion, gun ownership, the press, and assembly.”
In part, Mr. Morsi was educated in the United States, earning a PhD. in composite structures from the University of Southern California in the early 1980s where his dissertation was entitled How Islam Invented Time, Space, and the Carbon Monocoque Structure. He enjoys a 94 percent approval rating from the STC and an identical approval rating from the Egyptian citizenry.
(Philup Nubia and Zerxes Jones-Smith from PMNS’s Mumbai Information, Research, and Translation Service enclave contributed to this article.)