Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb is moving to help change the education curricula in Egypt in a way that would attempt to remove violent references, hoping that it would reduce negative influences. Today the minister issued a decree to form a committee to develop education curricula.
The committee is to be under his chairmanship with the membership of the Endowments Minister, the Higher Education Minister, the Education Minister, the Scientific Research Minister, the Grand Mufti and the head of the Al-Azhar institutes.
The committee shall develop school and university curricula, as some material was found inciting violence and containing political projections, which negatively impacts the behavior of students.
Mohamed Saad of the Education Ministry said there is a comprehensive campaign to revise all curricula and remove any misleading or false material that may impact the thoughts of the students.
Sources from within the ministry explained that the minister said many were still dissatisfied with some of the curricula although they were developed last year at a high cost.
Ahmed Turky, supervisor of the committee developing religious textbooks in basic education and high schools, said the ministry has reviewed 14 textbooks of primary school curricula and handed them over to the Education Ministry after modifying 20 percent of them by omitting historical errors and false stories from the Hadith.
He said some Hadith stories were taken from unreliable sources on the Internet or from books written by certain religious factions. Also, certain Suras of the Quran that are studied at the university junior grade were given to pupils of primary schools.
“We will review the curricula of the preparatory and high schools next week to maintain the chronology of material,” he said, explaining that the "Limits of Islam" were omitted because only Al-Azhar experts study them, and the principle of a homeland was added because it existed at the beginning of Islam. “Also, all subjects will be presented in a simple language.”
He said only the religious topics that are useful and give a true religious culture will be chosen to protect students from deviation and intellectual terrorism.
“We will choose topics that relate to a student’s real life,” he said.
The Education Ministry had decided on Wednesday to omit from the curriculum the following chapters: "A Trip to the Farm" for the secondary education, "My Grandfather’s Cow" for the first grade, "The revolution of the Birds" for the first grade, "The End of the Hawks" for the third grade and "Demolition and Construction" for secondary education.
Saad said a chapter of the play “Cleopatra” from page 184 to page 204 and the grammar lessons 266 to 268 were also omitted.
Thana Gomaa, Director of the Curriculum Development Centre, said those stories were the figment of the author’s imagination and would not have been omitted under other political circumstances. “But I understand why some object to them,” she said.
Al-Masry Al-Youm had last Monday pointed to the "End of the Hawks" story as inciting violence, which prompted the ministry to react on the same day.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm