(Arabic: "school"), Muslim elementary school. Until the 20th century, boys were instructed in Qur'an recitation, reading, writing, and grammar in maktabs, which were the only means of mass education. The teacher was not always highly qualified and had other religious duties, and the equipment of a maktab was often simple. During the 20th century, government-supported primary schools have tended to supplant the maktab in Muslim countries.
Learn more about maktab with a free trial on Britannica.com.