The 1923 Egyptian Constitution: Vision and Ambivalence in the Future of Education in Egypt

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The 1923 Constitution prepared the legal framework for Egypt’s semi-independence from British imperial control under a newly established liberal monarchy. This Constitution carried a promise for a significant change in setting the ground for a nascent national system of mass elementary education for boys and girls that would also be free of charge and compulsory. As I discuss in this article, this vision hardly matched Egyptian socio-economic and cultural realities of the time. I explore this gap through a study of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission that first drafted and later debated the various articles of the Constitution. I argue that the Constitutional Commission followed a consensus, in both Egypt and abroad, over the necessity of establishing a national system of mass education as a means for a broader social reform. Setting high expectations, this consensus would simultaneously enhance national education and the future setbacks that would beset its implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-645
Number of pages16
JournalHistory of Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2019


  • Constitutionalism
  • Educational reform
  • Globalisation
  • Social reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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