Exploring the intellectual foundations of Egyptian national education
MetadataShow full item record
In this dissertation, I will explore the intellectual foundations of Egyptian national education to understand the paradoxical existence of a Secular Humanist rooted national education system in a Muslim-majority country (MMC). Such an inquiry is critical at a conjuncture that Egyptians are beginning to unshackle themselves from a thirty-year puppet regime. Given the return to an Islamic identity since the 1970s ‘Islamic Awakening’, it is expected that such newfound freedom could give national education a more Islamic hue. This investigation will start with a discussion of the complex relationship between Secular Humanist philosophy (SH) and Western colonization. Given the colonizing effect that I have found in utilizing SH worldviews in discussing indigenous peoples, I will suggest Critical Indigenous Methodology (CIM) as the least restrictive approach in breaching the gulf between SH and indigenous worldviews such as Islam. I will argue the latter to be the most relevant indigenous worldview for better understanding Egyptian conceptions of identity, knowledge, and education. It is through this worldview that I will investigate the repercussions of SH discourse on the intellectual foundations of national education in Egypt. Specifically, this part of analysis will involve the ideological influences of French colonization and the events thereafter on Rif’a Raf’a At Tahtaawee, the Egyptian responsible for laying the intellectual foundations of the current Egyptian national educational system. Lastly, I will present an analysis of At Tahtaawee’s two most important educational texts, Takhlees Al Ibreez fee Talkhees Baarees (A Golden Nugget on the Essence of Paris) and Al Murshid Al Ameen lil Banaat wal Baneen (The Honest Guide for the Boys and Girls).This last analysis will explore his reconstruction of the concepts of knowledge and education to align with the objectives of the new identity of Egypt as a nation-state. Despite the traditional narrative thus far in academia, I will argue that French colonization and the events thereafter had a significant impact on the eventual intellectual foundations of Egyptian national education.