Mauritania Mahdra : Reality and futurs prospects
Author: Dr. Ahmed Ali Boutta |Pages: 41-55|

Abstract: Mahdra is the traditional institution of education in Mauritania, formerly known as ‘‘Bilad Shankit’’, which institution has managed to cross modern history, maintaining its curriculum, syllabus and performance, which enabled the populations to overcome difficulties, and to spread Islam in the region beside spreading its cultural and scientific outreach to remote Arab Islamic countries. Nomads in Shanikit adopted a unique method of transmitting knowledge and academic achievement through a community institution, at the end of the Middle Ages, based mainly on a Sheikh who performs free and unlimited teaching in a purely nomadic environment characterized by an eternal movement in search of grazing. This Sheikh receives students from everywhere, explains books main texts, deepens different branches and helps spreading knowledge in an area described as being stranded between two oceans (an ocean of water and an ocean of sand). Shangit’s mobile Mahdra had been unique in memorizing encyclopedic knowledge, maintaining social concerns and strongly defending the identity of the society. During colonization, it fought alienation and faced the invader beside spreading Islam in neighboring countries, through receiving students who, later, became leaders in Sudanese area and beyond. This distinguished educational system has produced scholars who have rivaled their peers in the Islamic Mashreq and have left a living legacy of cognitive production, not to mention libraries in ancient cities where most of their components are still being processed to allow them to be exploited.


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