Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling


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by Reed-Danahay, Deborah

The importance of completion of this level of education is to safeguard students against illiteracy as early drop outs at this stage easily recede into illiteracy and eventually poverty. The general secondary stage includes 3 years of education, whereas the secondary vocational track could be for 3—5 years. To enter the secondary level, the students must pass a national exam which is given at end of the preparatory stage. As of year the So far efforts are underway with the support of multilateral organizations to make the general and vocational secondary system less rigid and provide equal opportunities to students of various wealth quintiles in the two tracks to opt for higher education.

This is also being implemented by the World Bank led secondary enhancement project in Egypt. Technical education, which is provided in three-year and five-year programs, includes schools in three different fields: industrial, commercial and agricultural. The UN and other multilateral organizations are working towards improving the technical and vocational training system in Egypt. It is recommended to the Ministry of Education to introduce broad vocational skills in the curricula of general secondary schools.

In this way students will be able to gain certification in practical skills needed in the job market. These draw their enrollments from MoE's general secondary schools or technical schools and have much smaller enrollment numbers. In the Industrial Training Council ITC was created through a ministerial decree with a mandate to improve coordination and direction of all training related entities, projects and policies in the Ministry. Another system that runs in parallel with the public educational system is known as the Al-Azhar system. It consists of six years of primary stage, a three-year preparatory stage and finally three years of secondary stage.

The Ministry of education reduced the number of secondary school years from four to three years in , so as to align the Al Azhar system with the general secondary education system. In this system as well, there are separate schools for girls and boys. The Azhar Institution itself is nominally independent from the Ministry of Education, but is ultimately under supervision by the Egyptian Prime Minister. Al Azhar schools are named "Institutes" and include primary, preparatory, and secondary phases. All schools in all stages teach religious subjects and non-religious subjects.

Education in Egypt - Wikipedia

The bulk of the curriculum, however, consists of religious subjects as described below. All the students are Muslims. Al-Azhar schools are all over the country, especially in rural areas. The graduates of Al-Azhar secondary schools are eligible to continue their studies at the Al-Azhar University.

As of and , there are Al-Azhar schools in Egypt. The graduates of this system are then automatically accepted into Al-Azhar University. In , the Pre-University enrollment in Al- Azhar institutes is about 1,, students. Egypt has a very extensive higher education system. However, only half of them graduate. The Ministry of Higher Education supervises the tertiary level of education. There are a number of universities catering to students in diverse fields.

In the current education system, there are 17 [ citation needed ] public universities, 51 public non-university institutions, 16 private universities and 89 private higher institutions. In , a legislation was passed to provide greater autonomy to the universities. Gross enrollment in tertiary education increased from 27 percent in to 31 percent in Both at national level inspection systems, examinations and at local level school level student assessments measures of the success of education strategies and the performance of the system are weak.

The inspectorate system does not provide either solid technical support to school staff, nor an effective monitoring mechanism for failing schools.

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The examination system at the end of preparatory and secondary levels—Thanaweyya Amma, does not measure higher-order thinking skills, but concentrates rather on rote memorization. Scores can thus be raised significantly by exam specific tutoring, therefore, students with more resources can afford private tutoring which helps them to score higher on the national standardized exams and hence are accepted in top universities in Egypt. The Egyptian tertiary education is steered by a centralized system with institutions having little control on the decisions of the curriculum, program development and deployment of staff and faculty.

Improving system governance and efficiency is an imperative that takes on added urgency given that a significant population bulge has reached the higher education system. The consequence was a sharp decline in per student spending of around 40 percent in real terms over that period. The higher education cohort is projected to continue to increase by close to 6 percent 60, students per annum through This means that significant efficiencies will need to be introduced into the system just to maintain quality at its current inadequate level.

The performance and quality of higher education is currently severely compromised by overly centralized order to improve the already outdated system, rigid curriculum and teaching practices. Recent Government actions to build political consensus on issues critical to reform have created a climate that is ripe for change. The Minister, appointed in , quickly established a committee for the reform of higher education known as the HEEP Committee which drew in a wide range of stakeholders including industrialists and parliamentarians. A National Conference on higher education reform was held in February , and a Declaration for action emanating from the Conference was endorsed by the President and the Prime Minister.

The Declaration identified 25 specific reform initiatives. The Bank agrees with, and supports, the Declaration. A range of multilateral and bilateral agencies,including the World Bank , also concur with the Declaration's proposals, and are committed to supporting various aspects of the reform process.

Priority has been given to 12 projects in the first phase of implementation — and were integrated into the following six projects: HEEP Six Priority Projects — In August , HEEP strategic priorities were adjusted to become responsive to the requirements of quality and accreditation and to correspond to the government's approach to improving scientific research.

Due to the dynamic nature of the reform strategy, which entails reconsidering priorities for each period, a Strategic Planning Unit SPU was established for the MOHE to ensure the sustainability of planning and project monitoring during the three phases and for future ones.

Public higher education is free in Egypt, and Egyptian students only pay registration fees. Private education is much more expensive.


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There were a few attempts to make a positive impact and educational reform from the civil community in Egypt but those efforts remained very limited on their impact on the educational process. Education crisis in Egypt is very complicated, public education is not capable of providing quality education and is hardly providing any education with the shortage in facilities, lack of trained educators and inflation in classes.

Private including International is still incapable of reform for the lack of interest, shortage in trained educators, defective curricula, commercialization of education and finally a customized accreditation system that involves the irrevocable licensure of International schools based on candidacy for accreditation while candidacy for accreditation is originally based on the initial efficiency of the school in providing the educational services including its status as a legal education provider that it doesn't get to get unless it is a candidate school, which is setting the cart before the horse.

Authorities across the empire sought to show that they no longer provided metropolitan-style education and that the children of the empire were now being educated according to their own needs and particular aptitudes. The move away from metropolitan educational norms had intensified after the First World War, as part of a broader shift away from policies of assimilation.

But if French officials were convinced that colonial policy had been put on a new footing, many foreign observers were less swayed. By hosting an Intercolonial Conference on Education in the Colonies and Overseas Territories—one of the more important conferences to be organized as part of the Colonial Exposition of —French authorities hoped to present a very different picture 1.

The conference was to showcase the development of new types of native education that corresponded to colonial—and not metropolitan—settings.

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Studying the adaptation of each of these systems to its milieu is an indispensable task [ Local administrations developed larger, better-staffed education departments that sought to consolidate their independence from the metropolitan Ministry of Public Instruction 3. As the colonies worked to develop new forms of education that were "adapted" to local contexts, incompatibilities proliferated—not only among the various native school systems of the French empire, but also between "native schools" and "metropolitan schools". During the interwar period, the Colonial Ministry maintained only a skeletal education office, which, in , was headed up by Crouzet 4.


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By , "adapted education" was a principle on which French colonial authorities could agree. At the Intercolonial Conference on Education in the Colonies, even the delegate from the centralized Ministry of Public Instruction Henri Gautier accepted that assimilationist education was inappropriate for natives. Gautier Caf declared that:. By bringing colonial education officials together in Paris, the Intercolonial Conference on Education in the Colonies proposed to compare and contrast the ongoing efforts of the various colonies and overseas territories.

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This was certainly true when it came to Indochina, where a string of reforms had produced a new Franco-Vietnamese school system for native children in Cochin China, Annam and Tonkin. First established in , this school system was significantly revised in and , as officials struggled to agree on the contours and content of native education. If the new school system was to navigate a careful course between the preservation of tradition and a certain modernization, the sheer number of reforms points to lingering uncertainties about what preservation and modernization meant in the context of French Indochina.

But if there were still hesitations, the interwar trend clearly led farther and farther away from metropolitan-style schooling. With each round of reform, instruction in French and other Western academic subjects was further reduced to make added room for instruction in local languages and local subjects. At the same time, Franco-Vietnamese schools turned increasingly towards vocational training in agriculture and crafts. Gail Kelly has shown how fully schools came to promote pastoral, neo-traditionalist visions of "native life"; these representations were designed to carefully orient and restrict the ways in which young Indochinese imagined themselves and their future Kelly , b, c; Lebovics As inspector of primary education at the Government General in Dakar, Davesne could speak with authority.

He quoted extensively from the most recent set of reforms, which dated from ; but after noting that "all these recommendations are excellent", he concluded that "the goal that they define is far from being reached" Davesne 88 7. As far as Davesne was concerned, French West Africa had yet to develop a school system that was adapted to the needs of Africans and those of the colonial state.

He noted that practical training in gardening and manual trades was still underdeveloped and that schools still maintained an "excessive" focus on academics. No French official could speak more authoritatively than Hardy on the subject of "native education". He noted the general move towards localized education, which "tries to adapt itself exactly to the aptitudes, habits and needs of the milieu".

Hardy a: summed up this adaptation process, noting:. He observed that, since his own departure from Dakar in , "a whole series of measures seemed to indicate a trend away from policies of adaptation and a return to principles of assimilation that we thought were out of date". Hardy went on to note, however, that it was more a case of "wavering principles" than of a "concerted reaction". If the development of adapted education had been interrupted, Hardy a: concluded his report more optimistically, noting that since the previous year, "a new inspiration has been driving education in AOF".

As I argue below, the education reforms that were conceived and implemented after were part of a broader effort to rethink "progress" in French West Africa. Through school reforms of the s, colonial authorities worked to map out a "middle way" that would reconcile African tradition with a new colonial modernity. His book pointed to a more urgent problem that had scarcely been addressed: the education of the "African masses". Worse, by producing "detribalized" elites, colonial schools had helped to undermine the very foundations of native societies.

Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling
Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling
Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling
Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling
Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling
Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling
Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling
Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling
Education and Identity in Rural France: The Politics of Schooling

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