The modern educational system was one of the developments that were witnessed by Egypt in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is closely linked to the political renaissance project that was founded by Mohamed Ali Pasha (1805 – 1848). Before Mohamed Ali Pasha's rule, there was no specific educational system at Egypt except Al-Azhar and some schools that were subordinated to mosques and Quran schools at cities and villages, but they were all without connecting system that made of them educational unit. They were also far away from the Sultan of the state and the censorship of the state, even though they managed to educate people of the country for long centuries.
The modern educational system derived its students from Quran schools and Al-Azhar at its emergence, as there were committees that roam the country to visit Quran schools and select distinctive students to join modern schools, distinctive students of Al-Azhar were also selected to join high schools at their establishment, but rather some were lucky to join the mission dispatched by Mohammed to study in France.
This organization did not last for long; in 1841the Egyptian Ottoman settlement has been made to set limits for the political project that fondled Mohamed Ali's dreams, to limit the army's size, and to restrict the authority of the state in economy management. Therefore, the state became in no need to more employees, rather it demobilized large number of soldiers and officers, thus, Mohamed Ali decided to reconsider the educational system, putting the new conditions in mind. Hence, the new organization developed in 1841, by which most of the primary schools were cancelled and numbers of students of high schools were decreased, putting in mind what suited the state's need of graduates.
Connection between modern education and the state's need for employees interprets the condition of education in eras of Abbas Helmy the first (1848 – 1854) and Mohamed Said Pasha (1854 – 1863).
In the era of Khedive Ismail (1863 – 1879), manifestations of dependency were completed by opening the door of Leveraged from European financial institutions wide; Ismail looked forward to complete the infrastructure of the Egyptian economy that has been started by his grandfather Mohamed Ali through expanding projects of irrigation, building railways, roads, Alexandria port, new cities at Al-Suez Canal (Port Said and Ismailiya), urban expanding at Cairo and Alexandria. He also looked forward to increase the military power of Egypt to expand the Egyptian existence at Sudan. All of this required large sums of money that were borrowed by Ismail from European financial houses. Whatever it was, Ismail credit plan completed the integration process of the Egyptian economy in the European economy to resolve the professional attribute of the Egyptian agricultural production.
However, projects of completing infrastructure of Egyptian economy and establishing Egyptian military power made the state, in Khedive Ismail's era, in need for preparing administrative, technical, and military cadres. This required reviving the modern educational system that was eroded by Abbas the first and Mohamed Said Pasha.
Nevertheless, the Egyptian economy's supplementing projects and the aim of establishing Egyptian military force made the state, in Khedive Ismail's era, in need for preparing administrative, technical, and military cadres. This required reviving the modern educational system that was eroded at the hands of Abbas the first and Mohamed Said Pasha.
In Ismail's era, education was given a great deal of interest, and the government established schools, and became responsible for studying expenses including living expenses of students. Therefore, Divan of schools was restored after being cancelled by Said. Education budget increased gradually and the government returned to dispatching missions to Europe, and most of those missions were directed to France. A number of primary schools across the country from Alexandria in the North to Menia at the South were established. The government supervised Quran schools (local offices), and established some preparatory schools (medium) and private schools (high), thus, established school of management and languages in 1868 (which became known as school of law since 1886), school of irrigation and architecture (which became known as school of engineering) in 1866, school of dar el-ulum (1872) which was emerged to prepare teachers of primary and preparatory schools, mesaha school and accounting school (1868), school of agriculture (1867), school of ancient Egyptian tongue (archaeology and Egyptology) (1869), as well as specialized military schools.
Keeping with the base of retaining high schools, the more its graduates were demanded and dispense with high schools, the less high schools were demanded, school of agriculture was closed at 1875, school of ancient Egyptian tongue was cancelled at 1876 after graduating some specialists of agriculture, one of whom were destined to be from the pioneers of this field in Egypt (Ahmed Kamal Pasha), whenever school of medicine gained a great deal of interest.
When the Egyptian learned Ali Mubarak took over divan of schools in 1868, he gathered a number of private schools (high) at Darb Gamamiz Saray, therefore, he allocated for every school a side of saray and established a laboratory that is equipped for chemistry and physics and a public library (Khedivial Books House) in 1870, and a great auditorium that received general lectures in different branches of knowledge, thereby, there was a window of opportunity to establish Egyptian university, as spatial presence achieved a sort of scientific communication between professors and each other and between professors and students. If this experience was destined to continue, it would have become a nucleus to the first Egyptian university.
Education policy continued to be based on the state's need for employees and expanding schools throughout the era of the British occupation (1882 – 1922). The Englishmen paid their attention for Quran schools without exerting efforts to develop them, whenever they linked admission to primary education with the need for secondary education and high education, thus, widened primary education to suffice the needs of secondary and private (high) schools for students, as well as promoting education and rising its level. The need of those schools for students is confined to the state's need for administrative and technical cadres. Admission to schools was confined to the sons of those who were able to afford expenses. It was a special education that was not meant for common people. Accordingly, secondary and high education, in particular, were confined to a specific social rank after efficiency and personal readiness used to be the criteria by which students in schools were selected before the era of the English occupation when education was for free in all the schools at the era of Mohamed Ali and Ismail.
It was normal to find financial allocations of educational missions decreased gradually, that they were almost stopped at the first ten years of occupation. Even when missions continued under the pressure of patriotic movement, emissaries were decreased to ten students. When occupation policy of education declared in 1893 that government is not committed to appoint graduates of different schools, high schools attracted small numbers of students. Ministry of education limited the numbers of admitted students on the pretext that they were fearful about increasing the number of jobless graduates. They also increased studying expenses at high schools starting by 1905 to limit the demand for high education and confine it to sons of dignitaries. Thus, employing at Egyptian administration was confined to the social elite that was cooperative was occupation, and who belonged to the middle-class were excluded, hence, kindling a spark of patriotic work that is hostile to occupation among them.
Since high education became confined to high class, it was important to put an English complexion on them to connect this social stratum with the British culture. Consequently, education at the school of medicine became in English in 1898, the French department of the school of teachers was cancelled in 1900, English department was established at the school of law in 1899, and missions were directed to Britain after being directed to France. Therefore, Arabization of education became one of the main demands of the patriotic movement. Invitation to Arabization achieved some success at schools of art, industry, and agriculture; Arabization started at the school of law in 1910, commercial education started in Arabic, whereas it was delayed in the schools of teachers to post-revolution, and the invitation failed to Arabize schools of engineering, medicine pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.
In the early twentieth century, patriotic struggle against occupation was associated with opposing its educational policy, and demanding patriotic education system that accommodates Egyptians who were seeking science. In the context of this movement, invitation to establish Egyptian university appeared after a broad base of high education roots was available at Egypt.
School of Engineering
School of engineering was one of the most important Egyptian high schools, which was a nucleus to the Egyptian university after that according to the date of its foundation.
The modern education at Egypt started with the school of engineering that was established by Mohamed Ali at the castle in 1816 to train and prepare specialists in area. Then, the school of engineering at Boulak was established in 1834 to produce graduates of technicians who were specialists in working in civil and military projects alike. It continued to perform its mission until it was closed at early Mohamed Said's era in 1854 as well as other schools, then engineering study was restored in 1858 in two separate schools; one of which was dedicated to irrigation engineering at El-Qanater El-Khayriya, and the other was dedicated to architecture at the castle, then both of them were closed again in 1861.
In 1866, the school of irrigation and architecture was inaugurated at El-Zaafran Saray at Abbaseya, and then it was transferred to Mustafa Fadel Saray at Darb El-Gamaiz in 1867. Studying at that school was five years; one preparatory year and students specialized in the other two years either in irrigation or architecture. In 1892, the preparatory year was cancelled and did not return until 1930. Specializations of that school were cancelled in 1869, and the study was divided again to departments of irrigation and architecture in 1908. The school became known as (Khedival Engineering School) since 1950, then it was called (The Royal School of Engineering) in 1923. In 1916, a law was issued to divide the study into five departments; irrigation –architecture- municipalities- mechanics- power. Then, in 1925, those specializations were modified making the departments three only; civil department, architecture department, and mechanics department. The civil department was divided into branches of irrigation, municipalities, bridges, ports, area, and railways. The department of mechanics was divided into branches of mechanics and power.
School of Medicine
School of medicine was established at Abi Zaabal and annexed to the military hospital there in 1827 thanks to the efforts of Clute Bek, a French physician, and a fatwa that was issued by sheikh Hasan El-Attar, in which he allowed anatomizing dead bodies as long as this prevent diseases.
In 1837, the school of medicine was transferred to Kasr El-Aini at Cairo where the hospital accommodated over thousand patients, and it also accommodated 300 students. It included a library that was rich with French books which were given to it as present. Its graduates played a great role in Arabizing essential references in medicine.
In 1854, Mohamed Said Pasha stopped the study in the school of medicine; however, he kept its staff members. Soon the study was resumed at the school in 1856 and it was in Arabic. It was divided into six partitions of oral exams. The most distinctive students were dispatched abroad to join teaching staff after their return. Efforts of Arabizing medical references continued throughout Ismail's era. Starting by 1898, the period of study became four years (were increased three months afterwards). School of medicine made agreement with Royal College of Surgeons in London on admitting students of first two years, especially that study in school of medicine became in English since British occupation. In 1919, period of study became five years and three months, starting in October and ending in June every year.
School of Pharmacy
School of Pharmacy was emerged in 1829 accompanying school of medicine at Abi Zaabal, and then it was transferred with it to El-Kasr El-Aini in 1837. Period of study in it was five years. School of pharmacy was exposed to all what the school of medicine was exposed to of prosperity and decline because the two schools were related to each other. In 1887, the system of education, at the era of occupation, changed; years of study became four years and the study was disrupted for few years at the beginning of the twentieth century as the government was in no need for pharmacists, then study was resumed at the school in 1910 and the period of study became three years, which graduates after them were given Diploma of pharmacy and chemistry. After the school of medicine joined the Egyptian University in 1925 in order for school of medicine to become a faculty, school of pharmacy was annexed to it and the period of study at the school of pharmacy became four years.
School of Veterinary Medicine
School of Veterinary Medicine was emerged in Rashid in 1827 then it was transferred to be beside the school of medicine at Abi Zaaabal in 1831. A hospital was established beside it, accommodating 110 horses, it was also including a pharmacy and a hall of anatomy and places for students and staff members' subsistence. In 1836, period of study in the school of veterinary medicine became five years that might have extended to six years. It also was transferred to Kasr El-Aini with the school of medicine, and its students spend the preparatory year at the school of medicine in a joint study of chemistry and biology with students of medicine, and the study was in Arabic, thus, the lectures were delivered in French and translated into Arabic.
School of veterinary medicine was closed with other schools in the era of Abbas the first, and then it was restored for a short period in Ismail's era as a school annexed to El-Sawary school, then soon it was closed in 1881 because of a financial crisis. It remained closed until 1901when a decree was issued to establish a veterinary school at Cairo, to become subordinated to department of health at the Ministry of Interior. Period of study at the school was three years and then was increased to four years in 1905. In 1914, the school was annexed to Ministry of Agriculture, and then it joined Ministry of Education in 1923.
School of Agriculture
Founding the first school of agriculture dating back to 1823 at Shobra where the school started annexed to orchards of Pasha, then soon it was cancelled after two years of its establishment. In 1836, school of agriculture was established at Nebrowa, accommodating 200 students. It was transferred to Shobra in 1839, the first class was almost graduated, however, the government considered cancelling it, then they modified the idea and decided to reduce the number of its students to 25 students instead of 200 students, then it was closed in 1844.
In Ismail's era, the school of agriculture was reestablished in 1876; however, it disappeared before the end of its era in 1875 because of a financial crisis. It was reestablished again in 1890 in the era of British occupation. Those who had passed primary stage were allowed to join it. Starting by October 1911, the school became known as The High School of Agriculture.
School of Law
It was established at the era of Ismail in 1868. It was known at that time as School of Management and Languages, then school of Management was separated from school of languages in 1882. It remained as it is until July1886 when it became known as school of law. It was divided into two departments: primary and high; the primary department included the first two years; it aimed at graduating bailiffs and clerks of the court. The subjects of study were French language, translation, history, geography, Arabic handwriting, French handwriting, bookkeeping, judicial system, principles of pleading, and judicial procedures. The high department was three years of study. It aimed at graduating heads of clerks of courts, members of prosecution, and other clerks whom careers require legal culture. Subjects of that department were Arabic language, French language, Italian language, translation, history, Islamic Shariah, civil law, criminal law, law of pleadings, commercial law, and Romanian law.
The school had department of translation which consisted of one class to graduate translators needed for government jobs, however, that department was cancelled in 1887. Then, curriculum was modified in the following year and administrative law was added to study subjects.
In 1892, primary department was cancelled and many of non legal study subjects were removed from curricula, and legal subjects were increased. Graduates of school of law were given Bachelor Diploma of Law. At the same year, a department was established at the school to graduate police officers. Obtainers of primary stage joined that department where they studied law of sanctions and criminal investigation, soon this department was cancelled in 1901.
The English department was established at the school in 1899, and began to grow gradually, overshadowing the French department, until the study became in English in 1915. However, the Egyptian professors, who replaced the Englishmen throughout the war, played a great role in Arabizing the study at the school of law.
In 1912, school of law was separated from Ministry of Education, and became subordinated to Ministry of Justice, then it returned again to the Ministry of Education in 1932.
School of Dar El-Ulum was emerged in 1872 to graduate teachers of Arabic language and literature at primary and preparatory schools. In 1885, department of translation was established at Dar El-Ulum to prepare specialist translators required for working at high schools to translate lessons that were taught in French and English into Arabic.
In 1888, a new task was added to Dar El-Ulum; it is preparing graduated to work at careers of legal courts, thus, study curricula were modified for that purpose.
School of Commerce
The oldest commercial science study in Egypt dates back to 1837 when school of account was established in Mohamed Ali's era. However, it was cancelled at early 40s. Then school of area and account was established in Ismail's era in 1868 and disappeared by the end of its era.
However, establishing the first high commercial school in Egypt dates back to 1911 after commercial education at the era of British occupation used to be confined to medium stage only. A development happened in curricula of high schools of commerce in 1914. Subjects of the school were English language, French language, history, ethics, commercial geography, systems of agriculture, industry, and commerce, political economy, and commercial law. Period of study was three years then became four years starting by October 1921. Some modifications were added to study curricula in 1923 to bring economic and commercial science together.
Therefore, these eight high schools were representing inherent roots of high education in Egypt since their renaissance in the first half of the nineteenth century. These schools formed the base of academic education at the conclusion of the first quarter of the twentieth century. Then Faculty of Arts joined these schools after being established by the National University.