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Cairo.)

THE SPHINX.

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breakers of images, that in one regard the stone idol bears awful semblance of deityunchangeableness in the midst of change—the same seeing will and intent, for ever and for ever inexorable. Upon ancient dynasties of Ethiopian and Egyptian kings; upon Greek and Roman, upon Arab and Ottoman conquerors; upon Napoleon dreaming of an Eastern empire; upon plague and pestilence; upon the ceaseless misery of the Egyptian race; upon keen-eyed travellers — Herodotus yesterday, Warburton to-day ; upon all, and more, this unworldly Sphinx has watched, and watched like a providence, with the same earnest

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eyes and the same sad tranquil mien ; and we shall die, and Islam shall wither away, and still that sleepless rock will lie watching and watching the works of a new busy race with those same sad, earnest eyes, and the same tranquil mien everlasting. You dare not mock at the Sphinx.”

We cannot tarry to visit the temple at the foot of the Sphinx, constructed of granite and alabaster, discovered by Mariette Bey in 1853, nor to visit “Campbell's” Tomb, or the Tomb of Nimbus, or any of the other marvels of this marvellous necropolis. Many books have been written on the subject, and many more will yet be written, for it is one of the most interesting spots in the world ; and it is curious, considering that Cairo is within so short a distance of European cities, and that the cost of reaching it is

$ , t:at emparatively few visit it, or care to derive their impressions from the cradle

Enth to Eript is struck by seeing swarms of children everywhere, and be 11.25 lay wish to know what is being done for their education. Of course, it is a Critt to get an urate statistics on the subject; especially with regard to distant 177, wbuire a fakech, or scholmaster, on being apprised that his school will be

Non a crtain day, calmly shuts up the establishment and walks off. Notwith**21.1:.. all the difficalties in the way, the Minister of Instruction issued in 1977 a **2*kheat which is approximately accurate, and contains many valuable statistics. From it te kam that there were at that time 119,977 pupils under instruction, of whom 111,313 were in primary Arab schools, 15,335 in those attached to mosques; 1,385 were beinz edwated by Government, 5,961 by missions and religious communities, and 2,960 in the muniipal whools. Of course all these pupils are bors, the education of girls being still considered of little importance. Two female schools, started by Ismail Pasha, were, however, included in the return, and it is satisfactory to know that in many Copt and mission schools a few girls may be found—few indeed, and only an infinitesimal proportion to the population, “a mere drop in the ocean of ignorance."

In the primary Arab schools of Cairo, of which there are 220, 7,175 children are in attendance, while at Old Cairo there are 24 schools and 905 bors, and at Boulak 31 schools and 1,010 boys.

The education given at these schools is nothing more than a parrot-like acquaintance with the text of the Koran. The schools are maintained by the private enterprise of the schoolmasters, who live upon the few piastres a week paid by each pupil. When, however, the school is attached to a public fountain-and there is hardly a public fountain in Egypt which has not a school attached—it is, as a rule, maintained by the same charitable foundation as the fountain.

A recent writer, in an excellent article on “Education in Egypt,” has given the following description of one of these primary schools in Cairo :-“You open a door in the street, and find a room about ten feet square. It is below the level of the road, and lofty for its size.

A grated window, high up, gives a dim light, but a flood of sunshine comes in at the open door, and strikes full on the bright crimson robe of the fakech as he sits on his cushion in the corner. At one end stands the only piece of furniture in the room.

It looks like a large harmonium, done up in brown holland, but turns out to be a box, containing the bones of a saint. In front of this curious piece of school furniture squat four-and-twenty little black and brown boys. One or two are disguised as girls, to protect them from the evil eye. All have dirty faces, and several are suffering from ophthalmia. They sit in two rows, facing each other, and simultaneously rock their bodies violently backwards and forwards as they recite the alphabet, or that verse of the Koran which forms their day's task. The children shout at the top of their little cracked voices in a pasal tone far from musical.

The noise they make is astounding, considering how small they are. If they cease their rocking and shrieking, even for a moment, the master brings down his long palm-cane upon their shaven skulls, and they re-commence with renewed energy, and an

more violent see-saw. The sentence repeated does not convey the

even

Cairo.)

SCHOOLS IN EGYPT.

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slightest meaning to their minds, nor is any attempt made to explain it. Two or three older children are sitting beside the fakeeh, getting lessons in the formation of the Arabic characters. Their copy-book is a piece of bright tin, and they use a reed pen called a kalam. The ink-bottle is a box containing a sponge, saturated with some brown fluid. A long row of tiny slippers, of every form and colour, lie neatly arranged at the door ; for the

' place where the bones of a saint are enshrined is holy ground, and no one may soil the clean matting of the floor with outside defilement. No register is kept of the pupils, or of their days of attendance. Indeed, although the fakeeh can repeat the whole of the Koran, off book, it is highly probable he would find some difficulty in counting up to the number of his scholars. His acquirements begin and end with a textual knowledge of the sacred book, and unfortunately the wishes of his pupils' parents with regard to the education of their children are bounded by the same narrow limits.”

This is a singularly accurate and photographic description of a primary school in the capital of Egypt, and it may be easily imagined how much in advance it is of the schools in remote districts, which are generally unhealthy, ill-managed, and conducted by persons of deplorable ignorance. Still, under the government of the late Khedive, huge steps were taken to advance the course of education, and it is to be hoped his successors will continue and extend the work he began. For, although the school. may be situated in a mere excavation in the mud, although it is only the Koran that is taught, although one sharp boy may be selected to lead the chorus of the class, and the others simply follow his lead, although the memory of the fakeeh may have waxed faint as to the actual text of the Koran, it is a fact that children who once were utterly neglected, are now gathered together for the purpose of receiving instruction, and this in itself is a great advance upon the state of things prevalent in Egypt only a few years ago.

The Government public schools were founded by Mohammed Ali, and were a failure until revived by the late Khedive; the civil schools are primary, secondary, and special; in the primary the three R’s are taught, and also some foreign language-generally French. In the secondary, Turkish, French, English, mathematics, history, geography, and drawing are taught, and the pupils are then passed into higher schools for the study of some profession. In the military Government public schools, every branch of a military education is included.

The University, the most important at the present time in the whole Mohammedan territory, is in the building which was once the Mosque El-Azhar. It is attended by about 11,000 students, who are instructed by 330 professors. The education includes grammar, algebra, arithmetic, logic, philosophy, theology, law, and everything connected with the proper understanding of the Koran. Students come to this University from every part of the world where the religion of Islam prevails. They are boarded according to the means at their disposal, but they pay no fees for their education, although those who can do so are expected to make presents to the professors, who are paid entirely by voluntary contributions, and support themselves by private teaching or copying books.

In Cairo, as in every Eastern city, there is a marked contrast betwen the schools of the Moslems and the Christians; not merely in the education given, but in every other particular. The Moslems " believe that in their sacred volume is contained all knowledge explicitly or implicitly; that it is an all-embracing and sufficient code.” It regulates everything; and so “the ignorance of the seventh century is made the rule by which everything, in law, life, and thought, is to be measured for all time.” And this, of course, is an effectual bar to progress.

In the Coptic schools at Cairo, boys of the same age as those in the Arab primary schools, who can only repeat, parrot-like, passages from the Koran, are able to speak and

read with fluency in French and English, and to add up a sum with a speed and accuracy which would puzzle the fakeeh of a well-to-do school to check.

Within a comparatively recent period a great change has been wrought in Egypt generally, and in Cairo especially, in respect of the education of girls. In many of the Coptic schools they are well cared for, and in addition to the ordinary rudimentary instruction are taught singing and needlework. There can be no doubt that, despite claims to the contrary in other directions, much of the merit of this change is due to the noble exertions of the Misses Whately, whose Anglican Mission School, as well as the schools of the American Mission, are in a most flourishing state, and have exercised a powerful influence for good.

It is difficult to estimate the population of Cairo. By the latest

official returns (1872–3) the number is given as 375,883, of whom 260,000 are native Mussulmans, 30,000 Copts, 20,000 Assyrians, Nubians, and other Soudanis, 5,000 Turks, 10,000 Jews, 30,000 Syrians and other Levantines, and 20,000 Europeans, of whom 7,000 are Italians, 4,200 Greeks, 4,000 French, 1,600 English, 1,600 Austrians, and 1,200 Germans. A later estimate, but not official, places the population at 400,000.

The Copts are the direct descendants of the ancient Egyptians, and are found principally in the towns, engaging in handicrafts, while the fellaheen are the occupants and tillers of the soil. The Copts embraced Christianity at an early period, and took an important part in the religious conflicts of the sixth century. By guarding their faith in the hostile presence of Mohammedanism, they have doubtless preserved their race and name. In the

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