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Main Characteristics Of Psychology In Egypt

2767 words - 11 pages

Main Characteristics of Psychology in Egypt

To construct a meaningful picture of psychology as it is practiced in
Egypt, the following features may be emphasized:

1. The manner in which Egyptian psychology emerged and has been
growing over the years has earned it a solid base for a promising
future. In this context, most important is the fact that the
discipline made its first appearance in 1911 as part of establishing
and operating the first secular university and that the discipline's
growth was in synchrony with that of the host institution (Cairo
University, 1983, p. 31). Growth in this career enabled Egyptian
psychology to have a share in all the strengths the host university
has been cherishing. After all, the university was initially founded
as a nongovernmental institution and was considered by Egyptian
nationals as an investment to help actualize national aspirations for
a progressive future. It continues to exist as a prestigious symbol of
those aspirations in spite of some adverse events.

2. By the same token, the discipline has been affected by all the
major difficulties under which Egyptian universities have been
laboring. Such difficulties include the ever-increasing economic
hardships encountered by all sectors of the Egyptian society,
heavy-handedness of the bureaucracy in managing academic affairs, the
ever-worsening ratio of the number of students to the number of
instructors, etc. (Reid, 1990, p. 174). With all these factors
adversely affecting the academic climate, it is no wonder that the
quality of the academic end products, psychology included, comes out
less than satisfactory.

3. The fact that university departments of psychology in Egypt
form part of faculties of arts imposes serious limitations on the
normal development of the discipline. Moreover, it harms (though in an
oblique way) the professional image of the discipline, since it
remains in a grey area lying somewhere between literary studies
(supposedly of an armchair and speculative nature) and scientific
disciplines proper.

4. Some sort of chronic conflict has been going on since the
early 1940s between two camps of psychologist, one comprising
graduates of the institutes (now name faculties) of education, and
another including those who graduate from faculties of arts. Over the
years, gross manifestations of this conflict have been dissipating,
only to be replaced by subtle maneuvers; e.g., there exist two
different Egyptian psychological associations, one presided over and
managed by educators (The Egyptian Society for Psychological Studies),
and another chaired and managed by faculties of arts psychologists
(The Association of Egyptian Psychologists). The end result is a
psychology with a blurred public image and a split identity.

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