Thursday, June 30, 2005

School Books

My eyes fell on my 8th Grade Arabic language Textbook.. well its barely a book... I picked it up.. and went over the pieces and scripts that someone apparently thought that getting kids at that age to memorize them was a good idea. The first piece in the Index is titled "من دلائل قدره الله," which basically means proof of how Allah is great. Rather than letting kids reach their own judgements and conclusions, we're telling them what to think. I have a big problem with how I was schooled... Rather than letting us become independent thinkers, we were tucked in-line with apparently the mainstream of Arab Pride "الماضي التليد" they called it. Basically its the Idea that Arabs are great.. and the only reason they're not doing so well economically, socially, politically, and most everything else is because they forgot their religion.. and when they do get back to it its gonna be smooth sailing from there.
Then the rest of the material is pieces written by folks like Taha Hussain, Ahmed Shawqi, Tawfeeq Alhakeem, and others that fancy wearing Tarboosh on their head. The material is very good... its an excellent prelude to learn the basics of Arab literature.. That is given up front... but I am concerned with one thing... These folks were around back when the Arab nations were under French and British colonization.. It was a very low point in the timeline of the region.. that is why the material in our Education curriculums favor death and martyrdom.. and the sacrifice of one's life for the well-fare of the nation and the people... At that time.. this was what you needed, because the people that wrote these texts were humiliated that someone that wasnt really from around here was walking around with a big gun ordering people around and taking advantage of their resources.
That was then.. this is now.. the question that BEGS for an answer.. is WHY HAVEN'T THE SCHOOL BOOKS CHANGE SINCE THE TURN OF THE CENTURY?? I bet you.. the cirruculum in 1925 Egypt is EXACTLY the same as the curriculum in 2005 Bahrain. Other than the new printed edition, we still have these subliminal messages that Arabs are better than people that dont speak like us... and that a Kaafir (infidel) is wieghted as half a brain in a religious court, and that its very honorable for someone to blow themselves up in a bus or a plane full of white people
Public education in the west is quite different.. research and development, new discoveries, change of definitions, and innovative features are quickly furnished in the education system. Notice, every year.. the famous dictionaries like Webster have a list of new words they're gonna add to this year's edition...
I cant seem to find my science book... but I am certain the material is just loose translation of old french material that needs updating, and rather than making students curious about their environment and new discoveries, they are just told that metal expands with heat, and water turns to gas.. class dismissed.
When was the last time our school books have been revaluated?


Blogger Evil Odd said...

I think you and I went to the same Primary School. Those 7th/8th grade books were painful, and to this day very little has changed in them.

You talked about revaluating school books, who do you suggest should do that? Ministry of Education? Through who?

5:09 AM  
Blogger The Joker said...

Thats a very good question odd a. I'll be honest with you. I didnt think of anyone to revaluate the material. Maybe a committee of businessmen, professors, journalists... ( sounds like the shoura council doesnt it?) scratch that ... I have no idea

2:38 PM  
Blogger Scorpio said...

I thought the Ministry of Education announced that they were changing the school books etc. What happened with this? Or are they waiting to do it as part of McKinsey?

11:08 PM  
Blogger Zubari Zubari said...

I once read a UN report (by Arabs) which pointed out that more books are published in Greece (per annum) than in all of "Arabia".

It seemed too incredible to be true, but now I see . . .

7:29 PM  
Blogger Zubari Zubari said...

Here's a crazy idea:

How about parents, and teachers, and parent-teacher associations, and local school boards choosing their own textbooks and curricula, and then buying whatever texts they want in a free market, without any government ministry sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong?

("Oh those crazy westerners!"?)

7:33 PM  
Blogger The Joker said...

Brian do I look like a person that hates westerners? Or even penguins for that matter....

I liked your comments... but I can do without the tag line

("Oh those crazy westerners!"?)

I appreciate your comment about bringing in books from a free market rather than engineered to go in-line with what the government thinks...

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