Egypt is well known for their beautiful architecture and mummies locked away in their sarcophagus waiting for the chance to prowl the earth. Well, that’s what my perception of Egypt was when I was a little girl at least. Growing up in America I was drilled with the impression of Egypt being undernourished and unable to make groundbreaking discoveries. I was under the impression that Egyptians were no longer capable of being as smart as Americans were said to be. I was taught that the education system was not up to par with America and that we needed to help them. We were taught to feel bad for them and that they needed us to survive. There are always current events on new American inventions and even ideas. I bet there are many new ideas and inventions that are made in Egypt. The western world would never know about any of it though. Egypt has produced many fine scientist and performers that have benefitted America and its prosperity. The education system may be different, but it is not broken. The Egyptian culture is directed towards what drives their economy and because it is different it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Education is equal to power in most ways. The more knowledge a nation has to offer the higher regard it has. The idea of intelligence has always been held to a high standard and people who were said to be the most knowledgeable often had the most power. America is being held to a higher standard while countries like Egypt are being looked down upon. America and all of its groundbreaking discoveries were not solely done by American born citizens. Many of the wonderful things that America has accomplished and used to help their country has been assisted by Egyptian people who have had an Egyptian education. Therefore, how could the Egyptian Education system be under par. The Egyptian and American education systems are generally the same, Egypt has higher level education to offer, and Egyptian people have helped shape the United States into what it is now. The pyramids are not all what Egypt has to offer and it must be recognized for the great minds and artists they have fathered in these most recent years.
In the United States of America, the education system usually goes as follows. First, is preschool, but most Americans do not attend this level first. Next, is Elementary school (Kindergarten through 4th grade) where the alphabet is taught and simple math such as addition and subtraction. Next, is Middle school (5th grade to 8th grade) where more complex math is learned such as long division and multiplication, history, and sciences are taught as well at this stage. Lastly, is High School (9th grade through 12th grade) which is more complex math such as calculus, specific culture oriented history, foreign language, and more complex sciences such as chemistry and biology. In America, the education is not centered around anything. Students are taught information that is believed to set their students up for a higher level of education. Most of the information learned will probably never be used in a person’s daily life and the students have no choice, but to learn it. This can lead to students becoming depressed and feeling like they are not capable of being a success because what they are learning is not what interests them.
The Egyptian education in similar in some ways. Both consists of 12 years of schoolings, but instead of a 4+4+4 system it is a 6+3+3 system. The first six years are primary education, they are ranging from the ages of six to twelve. The curriculum at this stage consists of Arabic, math, agriculture, English, religious studies, music and science. Next, is preparatory school with students through the ages of twelve to fifteen. The curriculum for these three years consists of Arabic, industrial education, art, English, agriculture, mathematics, religious studies, music and social studies. The option of adding French or Spanish to one’s curriculum is also an option, but it is not required. After these nine years the student are granted a Basic Education Certificate for their work and can apply for a secondary school. There are three types of secondary one being General Secondary Education Schools. These schools help prepare students for university schooling. Another type of secondary school includes Secondary Education Schools which focus on the teachings of Islam and the Qur’an. The last type of secondary school is Technical Secondary School which is a specialty school for any of the following three streams; technical, industrial, or agriculture. (Ask-Aladdin, 2019)
Having a say in what you want to focus on and where you want your life go is something that the United States should take from Egypt. There have been too many conversations in America about children being unmotivated and depressed about school. Some people do not wish to go to college and have to be prepared for it in high school because there are no other options. A college degree is not a suitable way to measure the knowledge of another person. Yet, that is how America and many other countries have positioned their values. The failure to take in account the priorities of other country’s shows the ignorance and disregard for other people and their values. In the United States of America 66 percent of people born in the United States do not have a four year college degree and 51 percent of Americans drop out of college (Lake, 2019). About 30 percent of Egyptians go to a university and the percentage may seem low, but it is around the same average as other nations (Garge, 2018). In the United States attending a university and earning a degree is the ground stone of becoming a success. For Egyptians, this is the opposite. Agriculture is the most dominant job field. More than 30 percent of the population works in the agriculture field even after cities became more popular (Gualdoni, 2019). However, not everyone wants to be in the agriculture field though and Egypt does have qualified universities to give the opportunity to people who want to go on a different path.
Agriculture may be the most prominent field, but it not all Egypt has to offer. There is an array of opportunities for Egyptians to take. Egypt has 20 public universities and 23 private universities, six are listed in the QS World University Ranking of 2019 and 20 are listed in the QS Arab Region University Rankings in 2019 (‘Study in Egypt’, 2019). American University in Cairo is an American-accredited institution. It has 37 undergraduate courses, 44 master’s degree courses, and two PhD programs directed in liberal arts education. Benha University is a public university with 15 faculties. This includes medicine, veterinary science, agriculture, arts, and law. Mansoura University also has 15 faculties and it includes a student hospital, restaurants, dining hall, and sports complex. Kafrelsheikh University is environment friendly and has 19 faculties. Seven being health related, six being humanities related, and five related to science (‘The best universities in Egypt’, 2019). The spectrum for the Egyptians is not limited and great minds and capable people have come from this ridiculed education system.
Although, many people who begin with an Egypt education transfer to American Universities it does not make the Egyptian universities below anyone else’s. It is simply due to the fact that Egypt is not centered around some of the skills mastered in higher education. In America however, it is and therefore it is better to receive a job there than in Egypt. Also, because of the misconception that Egypt education is not up to standard having a degree at an African University would not look too appealing to whomever is looking to hire.
Americans boast about all of their accomplishments and how they are the best country in the world. They paint a picture that sheds light only on the American participants and ignores any outside contribution. For example, when someone thinks of the moon landing to Apollo 11 the first name that comes to mind is probably Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin. Without the help of Farouk El- Baz none of it would have been possible. El-Baz was responsible for finding the most suitable spots on the moon to land and for training the pilots. Before he came to America, El-Baz attended Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. There he first began to study geology, chemistry, biology, and math. At the age of 20 he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and geology. His masters and PhD were later obtained in America and then he was granted the opportunity to work for NASA and make the moon landing possible (Soussi, 2019). Another great mind that Egypt birthed was the late Ahmed Zewail. Zewail was born in Damanhur, Egypt and he attended Alexandria University where he earned his bachelors and master’s degree in chemistry. He then came to Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania to earn his PhD. Zewail developed a laser technique that helped scientist; study an atom’s actions in chemical reactions. He had created a new field of physical chemistry that is called femtochemistry. This discovery gave him the honor of receiving the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1999. Zewail became the first Egyptian and first Arab to win a Nobel Prize in the category of science (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2019). Lastly, there is the late Sameera Moussa who is an Egyptian Woman who went to Cairo University. Here Moussa earned her bachelor’s degree in radiology and later received her PhD. Her mother died from cancer and so she had a strong motive for nuclear treatment to be affordable for everyone. Moussa had organized the Atomic Energy for Peace Conference and was offered to work in the United States (‘Sameera Moussa’, 2017).
Although, some of these influential people chose to further their studies in America, it does not diminish or take away from the education system that Egypt has. America is viewed as the best nation in the world to most and a land of opportunity. If this idea did not exist, then people would not feel inclined to leave their home countries. Egypt has a lot to offer, but the media is brainwashing even the people who love there that their country is not good enough. Imagine if Farouk El-Bez and Ahmed Zewail had stayed in Egypt and did not share their minds. Then, maybe America would not be as superior as people think that they are.
Education is a key in determining where your life will take you and it is equal to power. The misconception of Egyptian education being bad and not up to standard is not only false, but it is also belittling Egypt and everything that it has accomplished. All the way back, thousands of years ago, when the pyramids were built Egyptians showed just how much potential they had. These pyramids were meant to last a lifetime and they are. The descendants of these great minds are just as brilliant and deserve the respect of the western hemisphere.
In conclusion, Egyptian education is not the different from American education and it is just as capable. The perception of intelligence is different in the United States than what it is in Egypt. Agriculture is not a part of the American culture anymore and therefore, it is not taught in classrooms here in the United States. This misconception can lead to stereotypes and can make it difficult for Egyptian people to excel in America. Farouk El-Baz said that he knew how he was being looked at and he knew he had to be on top of everything in order to be taken seriously. He knew every day he stepped into the lab he had to be prepared to prove himself and to prove that he was just as intelligent as everyone else. Hopefully in the future we will begin to recognize that in different parts of the world the standards may be different, but it does not mean that it is inadequate.