On 7 March 1892, The Times published the following telegram from their correspondent in Cairo:
Three Egyptian students, who had completed the regular course of normal study at the Borough-road Training College, Isleworth, have just received from the Education Department, London, diplomas as qualified teachers. This is the first occasion on which the Department has granted special diplomas to foreigners … The Khedive, who shows a warm and practical interest in education, is greatly pleased, especially as his subjects are the only foreigners who gained diplomas at the examinations for certificates held at the various English training colleges last Christmas … The importance of the new privilege conferred by the Education Department is shown by the fact that the number of pupils in Egyptian Government schools selecting English as the compulsory foreign language for study is almost equal to the number choosing French, though until lately it bore a very small proportion. The increased adoption of the English language is very marked; it is heard in continual use amongst the native employes in all the public offices.
This telegram presents the establishment of ties between the Egyptian Ministry of Education and the Borough Road Training College of the British and Foreign School Society, Britain's pre-eminent teacher-training institution, as part of a significant increase in English linguistic influence within Egypt.Read alone, it gives the impression that, ten years into the British occupation of Egypt, the English language and English approaches to education were well on their way to becoming dominant.
Yet, closer examination of the development of teacher training in the 1890s reveals that the relationship between cross-cultural borrowing and Egyptian education in the late nineteenth century was more complicated than this narrative of increasing British control and influence suggests. On the one hand, it was in the early 1890s that Egypt began sending students to study at the Borough Road College – a development that followed on from the 1889 opening of the English-language Khedivial Teachers’ School alongside the French-language Tawfiqiyya Teachers’ School. However, the major overhaul of teacher-training methods in 1895 instituted a programme more closely resembling practices in France than those of Borough Road.