By Alaa Saeed
Being a student in Egypt all my life, I’ve learnt a lot of information as well as ideas and stereotypes which have nothing to do with reality. Throughout my school years, I was never convinced with many aspects of our infamous education system. As I grew older, I discovered how wrong and destructive some of those aspects can be.
1-Ektebo ktir fel ta3bir
For unknown reasons, most Egyptian teachers are always impressed with long answers. You too might have come across a teacher who once told you “No one cares what you write in ‘Ta3bir’ as long as you write a lot”. This mentality actually affects the future quality of our students’ writings since they just learn to focus on quantity rather than quality.
2-Rotating around yourself while clapping is a ‘morning exercise’
Since my first day at school and up until I graduated, we had to perform a daily routine at the morning line. Literally, we were asked to pivot around ourselves and clap. Although they called it physical exercise, it was more like a repetition of pointless moves that has nothing to do with fitness.
3-Kids should say “GOOD MORNING” with a loud voice
Teachers believe that the class will be more fun if they ask children to speak louder. However, they just say “Good morning Mr./Mrs……” at the top of their lungs before being given a dull boring lesson. If you really want to get the kids interested and excited, include fun elements in the whole lesson.
4- ‘3elmy’ is smart and ‘adaby’ is dumb
In Egypt, social sciences are looked down upon. Many people think that a student who chooses to study arts over sciences is less of a student. Actually, it even became sort of a stereotypical joke to ask someone “Enta adaby walla eh?” if he doesn’t get what you mean or struggled to calculate the bill for example.
5-Men don’t cry
When a little innocent kid cries for any reason, someone, probably a stranger, will typically come up and advise him that “Men don’t cry”. I think it’s just an easy and quick way to let them stop crying. If crying was only for girls, why do men have tears in their eyes? Parents, please stop promoting this. You’re making your boys feel less manly just because they’re expressing a basic human feeling!
6- “Matrodesh 3alaya”
When teachers get nervous and start yelling at students, kids would possibly reply “ana ma3mltesh 7aga” or try to defend themselves in any way. However, the ultimate classic all time reply from Egyptian teachers would be “Matrodesh 3alaya”. It basically means that if a kid answers back to an elder person, that makes him impolite, naughty and guilty. However, that’s not logical. What’s wrong with a kid who just explains himself in a good manner? Maybe adults enjoy being dramatic sometimes.
7- You have to memorize ‘Nosoos’
It goes without saying that the Egyptian education system is all about memorizing. We tend to learn so much information by heart hoping that we’ll need them one day in the future. But when it comes to memorizing ‘nosoos’, things get much worse. “Qetaty Saghira”, the first poem we had to learn in elementary school, didn’t add much to my life!
If only teachers and parents could think wisely before teaching anything to the children, I’m sure a lot of things will change. We really need to focus more on how to develop the students’ mentality instead of turning them into copies of what society thinks is right.