Quest For Knowledge: A Special Issue
The near-reverent quest for knowledge by early Arab scholars, and the contributions to learning by Islamic scientists and mathematicians are familiar stories to most persons who know history.
Less familiar, we think, is the story of a new quest, one which began with the 19th-century awakening after 500 years of intellectual decay under the heavy hand of the Ottomans hut which has accelerated in the last two decades and is now moving ahead at a phenomenal pace.
Part of the story can be seen in the statistics that a team of Aramco World researchers and writers compiled during 1969, and that show how urgent most Arab nations today think modern, universal education is. To cite just one finding, during the last 10 to 15 years elementary school enrollment, faculties, class rooms and budgets have at least at the very least—doubled, and in some cases have increased tenfold.
The statistics of growth, however, are meaningless by themselves. Just as vital is the context in which growth occurs, the failures as well as the successes, the obstacles as well as the bright hopes. All these we have tried to describe in what we hope is a fair look at the efforts of many dedicated individuals in the Arab world who see in education the founda tion of the stability and progress they desire for their people, their countries, and, above all, their children.