PISM Report PISM: Myths and Legends: Modern History and Nationalistic Propaganda in Egyptian Textbooks
29 MAY 2014 Report
Among the most basic barometers of overall systemic revolutionary change is the education system and, more precisely, the way history is taught. In Egypt, since what was dubbed a revolution in 2011, there has been hardly any change in the way school textbooks shape Egyptians’ views of their country. The institutions responsible for school syllabi—from the prime ministerial and ministerial levels to clerks, consultants and authors of textbooks—seem convinced that mere references to the Mubaraks were the greatest problem in history textbooks, neglecting the nationalistic and militaristic propaganda. Since 1952, this propaganda has created a certain inferiority complex, diminished critical thinking, and belied Egyptian history. After 2011, the modern-history curriculum—sullied by simplism and distortion—still implants a very specific image of Egypt in a young mind. Egyptians are taught an elaborate mythology that has little to do with reality and lives its own life regardless of political change. When measured by the textbook content, there has been no systemic change in Egypt.
Among the most basic barometers of overall systemic revolutionary change is the education system and, more precisely, the way history is taught. In Egypt, since what was dubbed a revolution in 2011, there has been hardly any change in the way school textbooks shape Egyptians’ views of their country. The institutions responsible for school syllabi—from the prime ministerial and ministerial levels to clerks, consultants and authors of textbooks—seem convinced that mere references to the Mubaraks were the greatest problem in history textbooks, neglecting the nationalistic and militaristic propaganda. Since 1952, this propaganda has created a certain inferiority complex, diminished critical thinking, and belied Egyptian history. After 2011, the modern-history curriculum—sullied by simplism and distortion—still implants a very specific image of Egypt in a young mind. Egyptians are taught an elaborate mythology that has little to do with reality and lives its own life regardless of political change. When measured by the textbook content, there has been no systemic change in Egypt.