Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CXXXI. My Education – (7 of 13)

Secondary classes

In 1st secondary, the school was required to shift language gear. A higher Arabic was taught, and we began to get acquainted with Arabic literature. Since Arabic is an ancient and very rich language, most words have countless more or less similar words; to select the most accurate or interesting (equivalent) word for the word you’re starting with, was a very difficult task. And this is where professor Khamis earned every penny of his fees. The school generally expected a 50% failure rate in Arabic, in June, and they were rarely “disappointed.” Most pupils, however, with a lot of help from the school managed to pass the September exams. I passed my Arabic exams in June.

History, geography. social studies, and math were taught in Arabic. Sciences were taught in either French or Arabic depending upon the availability of textbooks.

While the government exams did not include French, the school continued to teach it (including the challenging French literature); this after all was a French school whose mission was to spread French.

The government exams included English; thus more emphasis was now put on that language.

It was no doubt a very demanding year. When we complained, the teachers would tell us, “vous avez de la chance que vous n’éte pas chez Les Fréres.” (You’re lucky you’re not with The Brothers). We quickly concluded that if The Brothers’ primary classes were a foretaste of purgatory, their secondary classes were a preview of hell!

I passed all my June exams except for geometry. My parents had bought me a beautiful Compass and Protractor Set; but alas, I fell behind in my understanding of the subject and never caught up.

I am not talking here of Euclidean geometry which I took in 2nd secondary and which I loved; the reference is to what I would call shape geometry: Measuring angles, drawing a circle and dividing it into segments, drawing geometric figures with specific angles, and the like. It was really an easy subject, and had I realized early on that I wasn’t doing well, I would have asked for Hamid’s help. At any rate, during the summer, Lilly explained to me the basic principles. Once I understood that, the rest was easy and I aced my September exam.

While 2nd secondary was not an easy year, I was beginning to adjust to high school, and was not as stressed as the first year. I did, however, fall behind in algebra, and again didn’t ask for help on time. Nevertheless, I passed all my exams (including algebra) in June. Algebra is combined with geometry and the total (with a minimum for each) is what’s taken into account to pass or fail a student. Since I was very good in (Euclidean) geometry, I managed to squeeze through. But algebra remained a problem that would only be resolved two years later.

By the end of 2nd secondary, many students dropped out and got a certificate from the school called a Brevet. Not many people in those days went to university, or indeed completed high school.

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