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EDUCATION IN ANCIENT EGYPT

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Engineer_Joseph
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PostEngineer_Joseph on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 8:15 am

EDUCATION IN ANCIENT EGYPT

In Egypt, the culture and education were preserved and controlled chiefly by the priests who formed powerful intellectual elite in the Egyptian theocracy and occupied vital political positions. The priests taught the humanities as well as such practical subjects as science, medicine, mathematics, and geometry in formal schools. However, the professionals taught vocational skills relating to such fields as architecture, engineering, and sculpture outside the context of formal schooling. Egyptians developed two types of formal schools for privileged youth under the supervision of government officials and priests: one for scribes and the other for priests’ trainees. At the age of five, pupils entered the writing school and continued their studies in reading and writing until the age of 16 or 17. At the age of 13 or 14, the school boys were also given practical training in offices for which they were being prepared. Training of priests began in temple colleges, which boys entered at the age of 17. The length of training depends upon the requirements for various priestly offices. It is not clear whether or not the practical
sciences constituted a part of the systematically organized curriculum of the temple college. 

Method of teaching was rigid, and discipline was severe, the aim in most cases was to achieve uniformity in cultural transmission – deviation from the traditional pattern of thought was forbidden. Drill and memorization were the typical methods employed.

Education in Mesopotamia

The civilization in Mesopotamia developed at about the same time as that in Egypt. So, Mesopotamia developed education quite similar to that of Egypt with regard to its purpose and training. It was practical and aimed to train scribes and priests. It was extended from basic reading, writing and religion to higher learning in law, medicine and astrology.

Generally, youth of the nobles were trained to become scribes, who later functioned either as copyists, librarians or teachers. Schools for priests were said to be as numerous as temples, indicating the thoroughness and the supremacy of priestly education. Very little is known about higher education, but the advancement of the priestly work sheds light upon the
extensive nature of intellectual pursuit.

As with Egypt, the priests in Mesopotamia dominated the intellectual and educational domain as well as the applied. The library formed the centre of intellectual activity, which usually operated in a temple under the supervision of renowned priests. Teachers employed memorization, oral repetition, copying of models, and individual instruction. The period of
education was long and rigorous and discipline was harsh.

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