Heritage education is an approach which allows the students to learn about their heritage. This has been traditionally implemented in the schools in which educators use ordinary educational methods. Though, the problem of heritage education is that by the increasing number of the people through a lifetime, the new generations lose the chance to know in depth their heritage. As, the education, especially in the developing countries, can be ineffective and contextualized1. Thus, it is important to implement Heritage Education process using modern techniques and methods, to offer sustainable quality education about heritage for the new generations.
Statement of Problem
Heritage education proposes different methods to encourage the pupils to gain new competencies and attitudes to be engaged in a lifelong practice of heritage conservation and be aware of its risks and challenges2. Regardless of how crucial is the Heritage Education, yet it is not implemented in Egypt. Due to the lack of facilities, poor awareness, and absence of policies regarding Heritage Education. Hence, Primary schools in Egypt lack applying Heritage Education with its updated methods. Therefore, this study attempts to identify the challenges that face the application of Heritage Education in the Egyptian primary schools and provide sufficient solution for this contemporary issue.
Rationale of the Study
Presenting how important can heritage plays a significant role in shaping the national identity of the new generations and in improving their competencies. Besides, demonstrating how by increasing the children’s knowledge about the past, the social facts and inherited values will definitely help in building their critical awareness of the heritage and its challenges, not only that but it will also shape their national identity and their sense of patriotism.
The case study chosen for this research reflects a priority that can be observed clearly in Egypt. The primary education is the base where you can build a proper generation, that is able to understand the past appropriately and criticize it, know about the present and make them capable of building better future for their country. Unfortunately, this base is not well founded in Egypt. As a developing country, Primary schools in Egypt lacks a lot of facilities which affects the services they provide negatively. Hence, it is essential in the current time to assess all the problems that face the national primary schools in Egypt, in order to determine how Heritage could be integrated into the national education with a respect to the current situation and the available resources. Understanding the role of Heritage Education in the community and how it can shape the character, the awareness and the mindset of the future generations, was the main motivation to conduct this study. Especially, after realizing how this field is under-researched in Egypt regardless how crucial it is.
The following questions are formulated as a guide for the research in order to achieve the best result/solution for the stated problem:
– What are the current challenges that face the primary schools in Egypt in terms of integration the heritage in the educational process?
– How can heritage be integrated into the national Education in Egypt?
– How could a co-operation between the engaged institution be established?
The objectives of this research are as the following:
– Identify the current situation in the national primary schools in Egypt and evaluate the Condition.
– Identify the stakeholders for Heritage Education in Egypt.
– Assess the awareness of the students about National Heritage.
– Assess the qualifications of the teachers in the field of Heritage Education.
– Propose sufficient recommendation to integrate Heritage in the National Education.
Limitations of the Research
Although this research was prudently prepared, yet a number of limitations occurred during the structuring of the research and also while working on it. First of all, the research was conducted targeting the primary schools in Egypt as a case study. However, due to some limitations, part of the research was limited to three provinces only, with the major part implemented in one province. This was due to the limited time of the research, the limited fund and the inaccessibility to most of the Egyptian provinces. As to conduct such research that covers a number of provinces will need so much time, and the provided time for the research is four months only. Besides, having enough fund to travel around the country, and the research was self-funded. Accordingly, the number of students/teachers who participated in the study weren’t so big and might not represent the majority of the students/teachers. Though, the results of the research could be applied in many regions.
Secondly, the permissions needed to conduct a research in the national schools using different methods was hard to get. As the governmental permissions take time to be prepared. Thus, getting permissions consumed so much time with no results which forced the researcher to use informal means to collect the data of the research and also to change the methods that were set in the research design. To assure using practical methods in collecting the data. Additionally, limitations occurred in getting accessibility to the literature of the study. As the topic of the study is under-researched generally, it was hard to find a convenient number of literature on the topic, especially in Egypt. Besides, the online literature wasn’t easy to access as most of the books and journals are not free.
Despite the previously mentioned limitations, the research tackled critical issues and proposed convenient results upon which several studies could be researched later.
Initially, conducting a social research directs the researcher usually towards the case-study approach3. Accordingly, the topic that was chosen to be researched was conducted and presented as an individual case. As the case study is the most comprehensive research strategy which can be suitable for the phenomenon of the study4. The methodology approach provides an outline for data collection and data analysis shaping a practical methodology rather than a theoretical one. The process of the research was designed and implemented to reflect the objectives of the research which was previously mentioned in section 1.5. As the research aims to identify the current situation of Heritage Education in Egypt and try to develop methods of integration Heritage in the national primary Education. Thus, the research employed mixed methods to collect the data: qualitative and quantitative methods. Those methods are clearly illustrated in section 1.7
Applying the case study research was conducted to acquire comprehensive and intensive analysis about a solitary case5. Accordingly, the case-study of this research discusses one stage of the national education in Egypt, which is the primary stage. As the primary education is the first step in shaping the identity and the character of a person and where he/she gain their primary knowledge. Hence, due to personal perspective and principles, the topic of the research was chosen and gladly implemented.
Although, the research was designed to use a number of methods to collect the data for the study. Yet, the methods were changed and adapted due to the limitations of the application. Thus, the research was conducted using both qualitative and quantitative methods, which can be demonstrated as the following:
The quantitative methods were used twice in the research via one instrument which is the questionnaires. Initially, the first questionnaire was designed to meet one of the objectives of the research that was set to assess the awareness of the students about the heritage, not only that but it was also it was designed to identify the preferred learning methods for the students. In order to consider their replies while initiating the recommendations of the research. Moreover, the questionnaire aimed to assess the role of the school in Heritage Education. Hence, a structured questionnaire with 14 questions was developed by the researcher to be used as data collection method. The participants of the survey were students of the national primary schools. The student aged between 6 to 11 years old and they were from 3 different governorates: Giza, Cairo, and Qalyobiah, but most of the students were from Giza governorates, due to some limitations which were previously mentioned in section 1.6. The number of the participants who successfully answered the questionnaire is 62 students. Additionally, the data collection phase using the survey as a method lasted for 3 weeks. As the participants don’t have the skills to fill out the questionnaire by themselves due to their young age. The researcher had to help the student with filling out the survey, by reading it, illustrating the questions and writing the answers without forcing them to reply with a specific answer. Accordingly, this phase was time-consuming which affected the number of the filled questionnaires. Yet it was a matter of quality, not quantity, as the answers of the students were very useful for the study and the researcher. Moreover, due to the participant’s young age, this method has been chosen over another method. Because it wasn’t convenient to make focus groups or interviews that the students wouldn’t feel comfortable to express themselves using it. And also it would have been difficult to control a big number of students in one place and getting from the quality data. Thus, the structured questionnaires were the most convenient and simple method to use. Also, due to the age of the students, the researcher had to get an oral approval from the parents of each participant to respect the ethical standards of the research.
The second questionnaire was developed to examine the qualifications of the teachers at the national primary schools. This questionnaire was used as an alternative method. As the research was designed to use the semi-interview as a qualitative method to apply one of the research objectives. Yet, the limitations that occurred had forced the researcher to use an alternative method to achieve the same objective. As the governmental permissions were difficult to get, the informal way was the only solution to conduct the survey. Besides, most of the teachers weren’t helpful and refused to be part of an interview due to some security concerns. Consequently, the researcher developed an online survey, using the social media channels to target the teachers of the national primary schools which was a successful mean. As the teachers guaranteed their anonymity and answered the survey freely. A number of 71 teachers has filled out the survey and they were from eight different governorates.
The teacher’s questionnaire was designed to be of four parts in order to collect the most valid and useful data to answer the research questions. The first part was a group of questions to collect demographic data. In order to determine the segment of provided data. Then in part two, the questions were set to assess the qualifications of the teachers in terms of Heritage Education, this part was to reflect one of the research objectives. The third part of the survey was designed to identify the challenges that the schools and the teachers face in the national education, which answer one of the research questions. The fourth part and the last was designed to ask the teachers if they have any recommendations which might be useful for the study.
The data of the questionnaires were analyzed using the following procedures:
The case study research is conducted usually to collect an intensive study about a case and analyze it in depth. Thus, using a qualitative method is a common thing to understand and investigate the research data from different perspectives. Hence, the researcher used the secondary data such as online publications and state documents, to collect solid data about the chosen case.
The state is the source of comprehensive information with potential significance for most of the social researchers. As the state is the source of a good amount of textual material of potential importance, like the Acts of Parliament and official reports6. Therefore, the available official documents which are related to the case has been used by the researcher. Accordingly, to assess the current situation of the Heritage Education in Egypt and to understand the key factors that affect the field. An official protocol has been used in the situation analysis to help in identifying the role of different governmental entities. A copy of the protocol was got from the Ministry of Antiquities, as there were no governmental documents available in the libraries or online.
As a fact, using multiple data collection methods reinforced the study and presented more practical data in understanding the current situation of the field of Heritage Education in Egypt. Additionally, the selected case study strategy empowered the triangulation of methods which increased the accuracy and the validity of the collected data and this was developed through gathering the same information using more than one method regarding the same phenomenon. Consequently, the selected research methods allowed the researcher to answer the research questions and enriched the outcomes of the research.
1 Mendoza, R., Baldiris, S., & Fabregat, R. (2015). Framework to Heritage Education Using Emerging Technologies. Procedia Computer Science, 75, p.239.
2 Troyer, V. D. (2005). Heritage in the classroom: a practical manual for teachers. Antwerpen: Garant.p.21
3Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: design and methods (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publication.p.2
4 Ibid. p.13
5 Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.66.
6 Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. P. 549.