Abstract: Education has played a critical role in the development of modern Egypt. Indeed, it has become a microcosm of Egyptian society, politics and culture - a stage in which Egypt has struggled to preserve and sustain its cultural integrity. Both external and internal forces continue to hamper the efficacy of Egypt's educational system by producing inconsistent and incompatible cognitions. Using Cognitive Dissonance Theory, this thesis is designed to analyze these forces through multiple modes of enquiry. Using historical, ethnographic and textual evidence, this thesis examines the social dissonance caused by different social groups as they define the appropriate role of Islam in public institutions such as the university. Egypt's educational dissonance can be traced to its long history of foreign intervention and a political leadership whose educational policies often run counter to the sentiment of the populace. This study examines the educational debate in Egypt and the ! ! ideological disjunction between a small but powerful elite who are the “gatekeepers” of educational policy, and a polity who is calling for a greater infusion of Islamic instruction in the national educational system. To examine this dialectic, extensive observations and in-depth interviews with students, professors and parents constitute a major source of data. A survey questionnaire, administered to 381 university students from the five Cairo metropolitan universities, measures attitudes toward social, cultural and religious themes in the Egyptian national curriculum. A statistical analysis of the data was based on selected cross tabulations with a Chi Square test for independence. What can be concluded from the study is that there exists a clear tension between the religious sentiments of the nation's student stratum and the Ministry of Education, an agency often perceived as pushing a secularist agenda. According to the study, a heavy majority considered the na! ! tional system of education too Westernized, needing a more integrated education formula that accommodates Islam and the needs of the modern world. The sample, while only tentatively representative of Egyptian public opinion at large, does provide important insight into general attitudes and sentiments of Egyptian society that are confirmed and reinforced by the other forms of triangulated research in this study.