Education in Ancient Egypt

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The kingdom of ancient Egypt spanned thousands of years. Therefore the subject of literacy and education in ancient Egypt is one that is complex, and is still being studied. Nonetheless a rudimentary picture has been established.

The Beginning: Education at Home
Children stayed at home with their mothers until four years of age. Then fathers took sons to teach them, commonly the trade they worked in.

Girls learned from their mothers how to be a wife and mother. Those wanting a career were limited to a being a dancer, weaver, baker or entertainer. Reading and writing for girls was something for nobleman’s daughters.

Basic Education
Some children attended a vocational school, while others attended a village school, where they learned math, reading, writing, morality, manners and sports.

Boys attending village schools left to enter their father’s profession when they turned fourteen.

Higher Education
Boys of higher status continued studying past fourteen at Houses of Instruction, which were allied with temples, the palace, the army or the treasury. They trained for higher status jobs, and the specific job was predetermined by his father’s job.

Ancient Egypt’s literacy is estimated at one to five percent of the population. However in the Middle Kingdom there was a town with an approximate 15 percent literacy rate, though it was still a skill of the upper classes.

What There Was To Be Literate With
Throughout time ancient Egypt had a daily script called hieratic (replaced by demotic) and a more religious script, hieroglyphs.

Literacy, an important skill in ancient Egypt, made job opportunities available, such as a tomb inscriber, government official, or temple official. It allowed involvement in taxing, crop production and copying religious text for temples and papyri.

Resources Literacy Egypt Literacy ANCIENT EGYPTIAN LIVES – 3 Education in Ancient Egypt


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