Tuesday 6 April 2021

Egyptian Schoolkids Will 'Learn Hieroglyphics'


 Egypt will introduce the Egyptian hieroglyphs into the curricula starting from primary grade 4 to high school, according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Education on Monday (Egypt Today, 'Egypt to introduce hieroglyphs into educational curricula next year' Mon, 05 Apr 2021). The new subject will be introduced next academic year scheduled to start in September 2021, according to the statement.

“The notion of introducing hieroglyphic writing symbols and their corresponding meanings in Arabic into the curricula aims to educate students their ancient history to enhance knowledge and raise awareness among the students,” the statement read. The archaeological and touristic awareness comes at the Ministry’s priorities in all educational levels, the statement said, adding that concepts, skills, and values related to tourism and archaeology, besides different forms of heritage will be also addressed in the curricula.
The problem here to me seems to be the mixing of the idea of cultivating awareness of the nation's pre-Islamic heritage with how to service the tourism industry. Watching the 'parade of the pharaoahs' from the one museum to another two days ago, I was looking at the names of the kings displayed on the catafalque written in English. Yet those mummies came from the Deir El-Bahari cache in upper Egypt where having the royal names in the script of the colonial power spoke volumes about what that heritage is useful 'for' in the eyes of the state.
. I wonder who, in all those Egyptian schools, will the teachers actually be. Also what language they will be read in, for it is the Coptic language (not spoken today in the country although used as a liturgical language by some of Egypt's Christians) that is closest to the original diction, not Egyptian Arabic.

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