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Robert Graves on teaching university classes in Cairo

 
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Sheikh N Bake



Joined: 26 Apr 2007
Posts: 1307
Location: Dis ting of ours

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 11:39 am    Post subject: Robert Graves on teaching university classes in Cairo Reply with quote

Graves, the prolific War Poet, novelist, critic and author of "I, Claudius."

From Goodbye to All That, on teaching at Cairo University in the early 1920s:

[The university could] allow me only one [lecture] a week. That one was pandemonium. The students were not hostile, merely excitable and anxious to show their regard for me and liberty and Zaghlul Pasha and the well-being of Egypt--all at the same time. They obliged me to shout at the top of my loudest barrack-square voice, which I had learned to pitch high for greater carrying-power, in order to restore silence.
No textbooks of any sort were available, the University Library having no English Department; it took months to get books through the French librarian.... Deciding to lecture on the most rudimentary forms of literature possible...I might at least, perhaps, teach them the meaning of the simpler literary terms. But though they had English for eight years or so in the schools, I could not count on their understanding half what I told them...Printed notes of my lectures with which to prepare for the examinations, were much in demand...My lectures soon degenerated into lecture-notes for lectures that could not be given--but, at any rate, kept the students busy scribbling in their note-books.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16127
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much has changed at Cairo University. It is still professors with a thousand or more students in each course section handing out lecture notes. Students rarely, if ever, attend other than to take exams for most majors.

VS
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Sheikh N Bake



Joined: 26 Apr 2007
Posts: 1307
Location: Dis ting of ours

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Gut" courses with a thousand students? My undergraduate college in Pennsylvania would disapprove. The worst freshman survey class in terms of prof-to-student ratio had about 50 or 60 students; all the others were 10 to 25. And no GTA's!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16127
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It isn't that difficult to have 1000 students in each of your classes when none of them ever attend anyway. I had Cairo University students as neighbors who had never attended a course on the campus. They registered, got the course notes, and memorized them the week before the finals.

Needless to say, the quality of their graduates is not highly respected by the local employers... nearly every taxi driver and super market clerk, bagger, and shelf stacker has a degree.

VS
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Sheikh N Bake



Joined: 26 Apr 2007
Posts: 1307
Location: Dis ting of ours

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't think much of Cairo overall, that's for sure. I also have a very bad impression of Egyptian managers in the Gulf. Well at least Mobarek's government didn't try to shoot all their own people.
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