Monday, 8 February 2010

My Primary School

In Egypt I started school when I was five years and ten months. There was a local school that was one minute away from my home but they refused to take me. They said that I was not six years old. I had to go to a primary school that was twenty kilometres away from my home. My father used to work at a technical school in a nearby town and I used to travel with him every day. It was fun to travel by train in the morning and watch the farmers work at their fields. It was not fun though to have to wake up early in the morning.
In the afternoon I used to go home with one or two teachers who worked at my school. My father knew them because he was their teacher. I used to walk with them to the train station in the town and they used to walk me home. They used to take me from class before the school finished to be able to catch the train. This happened every day.
One day I was waiting for them to come and take me from class but they didn't. I told my class teacher that I had to leave to catch the train early but she didn't allow me to leave class before school ended.
When school ended I ran to the train station and saw that my train had not left. There were many people on the train. I also saw the teachers who were supposed to walk with me home. The train was delayed by more than one hour. I also met the station master. He was one of my father's former students too. I used to go to his office to book a ticket every day and my father used to have a chat with him nearly every day.
The station master took me to the train driver and told him to make sure I met my father at the train station in my city. When I got on the train, the station master blew his whistle and the train departed.
The train driver explained that the station master delayed the train on purpose until I got there.
At the train station in my city I was picked up by my father. He was worried that I got lost. I explained to him what happened and he walked me home. My mother was very worried at home too.
After spending more than one year travelling to school in a different town, there was one school that accepted me in my city. It was about 15 minutes walk from my house. My school was in an apartment. It didn't have any oval to play sports and we didn't have music lessons because we didn't have any musical instruments there. In my school there were three classes. Years two, four and six. We didn't have a chance to make friends with other students from different classes. We spend break times inside class and when we made a noise, the headmistress used to come and shout at us to do some study.
In that school I had very good teachers. Some of my friends in class got degrees and they work now in different jobs.
A few years after I finished my primary school the Department of Education decided to close it down. They said it was not good to keep children inside classes all the time and not let them have activities. They couldn't do that back when I was a student because at that time my country was at war with Israel. Many of the cities in my country were destroyed by Israel.
Now when I look back at my days in primary school I feel sad. I didn't have a chance to have a normal education like other boys and girls.
Now because there are many people who live in Egypt, it is very common to see that some students go to school in the morning and finish at one o'clock in the afternoon. After that other students start from 1:30 till 7 pm. It can be worse than that in some areal where schools work three shifts a day.