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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

And Ustad Baharam his assistant


are about a dozen public schools in Yezd, but the one conducted on most modern lines is the new school started by the Mushir. If I understood aright, the Mushir provided the buildings and money to work the school for a period of time, after which if successful it will be handed over to be supported by the city or by private enterprise.

The school was excellent. There were a hundred pupils from the ages of six to fifteen, and they were taught Arabic, Persian, English, French, geography, arithmetic, &c. There was a Mudir or head master who spoke French quite fluently, and separate teachers for the other various matters. The school was admirably conducted, with quite a military discipline mingled with extreme kindness and thoughtfulness on the part of the teachers towards the pupils. By the sound of a bell the boys were collected by the Mudir in the court-yard, round which on two floors were the schoolrooms, specklessly clean and well-aired.

While I was being entertained to tea, sherbet, and coffee, on a high platform, I was politely requested to ascertain for myself the knowledge of the boys--most of whom had only been in the school less than a year. It was rather interesting to hear little chaps of six or eight rattle off, in a language foreign to them and without making a single mistake, all the capitals of the principal countries in the world, and the largest rivers, the highest mountains, the biggest oceans,

and so on. And other little chaps--no taller than three feet--summed up and subtracted and divided and multiplied figures with an assurance, quickness and accuracy which I, personally, very much envied. Then they wrote English and French sentences on the slate, and Persian and Arabic, and I came out of the school fully convinced that whatever was taught in that school was certainly taught well. These were not special pupils, but any pupil I chose to pick out from the lot.

I visited another excellent institution, the Parsee school--one of several teaching institutions that have been established in Yezd by the Bombay Society for the amelioration of Persian Zoroastrians,--in a most beautiful building internally, with large courts and a lofty vaulted hall wherein the classes are held. The boys, from the ages of six to fifteen, lined the walls, sitting cross-legged on mats, their notebooks, inkstands, and slate by their side. At the time of my visit there were as many as 230 pupils, and they received a similar education, but not quite so high, as in the Mushir school. In the Parsee school less time was devoted to foreign languages.

Ustad Javan Mard, a most venerable old man, was the head-master, and Ustad Baharam his assistant. The school seemed most flourishing, and the pupils very well-behaved. Although the stocks for punishing bad children were very prominent under the teacher's table, the head-master assured me that they were seldom required.

Another little but most interesting school is the one in connection with the clerical work done by the Rev. Napier Malcolm. It is attended principally by the sons of well-to-do Mussulmans and by a few Parsees, who take this excellent opportunity of learning English thoroughly. Most of the teaching is done by an Armenian assistant trained at the C. M. S. of Julfa. Here, too, I was delightfully surprised to notice how intelligent the boys were, and Mr. Malcolm himself spoke in high terms of the work done by the students. They showed a great facility for learning languages, and I was shown a boy who, in a few months, had picked up sufficient English to converse quite fluently. The boys, I was glad to see, are taught in a very sensible manner, and what they are made to learn will be of permanent use to them.

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