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AN ARAB UNIVERSITY. I [ Sir Harry Johnston devotes a section of his new report on Tunis to an account of the measures taken there for educating the native population. In the course of this he gives a very interesting account of the Mosque of the Olive Tree (Jama-Ex-Zituna) at Tunis, one of the three great centres *f Mahomedan learning in North Africa, the others being El Azhar in Cairo and the Great Mosque at Fez, in Morocco. This Zituna still remains a great centre of teaching. It is an immense building with 161 porphyry columns, lit only by immense open doors. Outside the main building is a vast square, surrounded by a colonnade, at one end of which is an immense minaret. Within the main building, where porphyry columns are, is the sacred shine, and in this main building the professors teach and the students learn. The institution has a valuable library of Arab books and manuscripts, some of which are said to have come from the famous library of Alexandria destroyed by the first Mahomedan invader of Egypt. Sir Harry Johnston, however, asked a student at the mosque whether this was the case, but the student asserted that every document in the library was in Arabic, and either in Kufic or modern Arabic cha- racters. But a search in the library by a competent scholar weuld probably result in discoveries of interest. There is such a large proportion of old works inscribed in Kufic characters that there are one or more professors of Kufic, who teach students to master this style of writing, and enable them to read the old works. Over 400 students are usually taught at this University, while there are about 100 professors. The lectures begin at sunrise and con- tinue until sunset, 15 different lectures usually going on at the same time. Each professor sits cross- legged, with his back against one of the many columns of the mosque, his students grouped about him. The latter vary in age from 16 to 30, but occa- sionally are men of advanced middle age. They can choose their own professors, but are constrained, to some extent, as to the course of teaching it is con- sidered best for them to follow. They live near the mosque in medressahs, or lodgings, of which there are 22, each presided over by a sheikh, or elder. The instruction is chiefly in theology, rhetoric, logic, grammar, law, and medicine, and much obso- lete and useless teaching is given under these heads. Until recently there was but little method in the in- struction each professor rambled on in his dis- course, ranging over any topic on which he cared to impart information, and the students listened or not as they chose. To encourage a more practical educa- tion, the State offered the students exemption from military service and from certain taxes if they passed an elementary outside examination; but only four of 66 recently succeeded in doing this. In future it is intended to impress on the management of the mosque that each professor should keep to one sub- ject; that the students should be obliged to take notes and pass periodical examinations. Outside lectures on scientific subjects and on matters of pre- sent-day interest have also been established, and ) about 100 students from the mosque attend these, so that now Tunisians tell each other in Arabic, and without any interference from either French official or Arab theologian, the news of the world, and the nature of the great discoveries which are being made in Europe and America."



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