Quranic schools (Kuttab) were the only form of education in Bahrain at the beginning of this century. They are traditional schools aimed at teaching children and youth the reading of the Holy Quran.
Many people of Bahrain felt that this type of education did not fulfill the academic efficiency that matched with the spirit of the age. After the First World War, things have changed and Bahrain became widely open upon the modern western renaissance. Political and social changes have occurred in the country that caused the rise of social and cultural awareness among people.
Due to these reasons, a demand for modern educational institutions different from (Kuttab) has arised in terms of system, curricula and objectives.
Before 1919, a number of prominent citizens in Muharraq Island discussed and agreed to establish a modern formal school. A number of the Royal people (Shaikhs) endorsed this call and contributed to the implementation of this project.
1919 marked the beginning of modern public school system in Bahrain. Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifia school for boys was established in the northern tip of Muharraq. The first Committee of Education consisted of several leading merchants and was presided over by the late Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al-Khalifa who was popularly known as 'the Minister of Education'. He was also responsible for the management of Al-Hidaya school. In 1926, the Education Committee established the second public school for boys in Manama.
In 1928 the first public school for girls was established in Muharraq. Due to the financial and administrative difficulty faced by the Education Committee, the schools came under the direct control of the government in 1930.
Education Since Childhood
The Kingdom of Bahrain has always been interested in educating generations starting from the first stages of childhood to preschool. At this stage, education is out of the scope of the formal educational and is managed by the private sector. However, the Ministry of Education supervises kindergartens according to the new organizational structure of the ministry issued in 2006. Nursery schools on the other hand, are the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Development.
Basic and Secondary Education
Basic education is divided into two stages: the primary stage includes the age groups of 6-12 years, the duration of the program is six years. The preparatory stage includes the age group of 12-14 years, and its duration is three years. The secondary level is that which prepares students to enter universities and higher institutes or to engage directly in the labor market. Its duration is three years divided into six semesters (three levels). The credit hours system, which offers a wide range of courses, allows students to alter their studies to suit their future goals.
Religious education is carried out in a specialized institute that is affiliated to the Ministry of Education and is provided for boys only. It takes the same direction of basic education and secondary education in general education in terms of the number of school years and the age of admission, but it focuses on Islamic religious studies at its various branches. It aims to prepare men with a decent level of experience in the affairs of the Islamic religion.
In light of the development in the field of religious education, the Jaafari Religious Institute was inaugurated in the beginning of the second academic year 2002/2003. The syllabus in this institute conforms to the curriculum of the state primary schools except for the curriculum of Islamic education by adding the (Shari'a) according to the Jaafari doctrine.
Private Education / Non - Governmental
The Department of Special Education in the Ministry of Education is the supervisor of institutions. This department coordinates with the other departments of the Ministry, providing technical support and assistance to all private educational institutions such as helping in finding teachers, providing textbooks for the Arabic language, Islamic education, and the history and geography of Bahrain. It also allocates specialists from the Ministry to guide the teachers regarding the above-mentioned materials. The private educational institutions include different types of kindergartens and private schools, which are divided into national and international schools and communities.
Institutes and Educational Centers
The educational institutions vary in their programs and their dependencies, some follow commercial agencies and some belong to Bahraini citizens. These institutes and centers offer training programs in foreign languages, computer science, electronic printing, and various skills in communication, management, trade and others.
The Department of Special Education of the Ministry of Education is responsible for identifying disabilities in schools and supervising students with special needs in public schools and students studying in private institutes outside the Kingdom.
The Department of Adult and Continuing Education at the Ministry of Education organizes educational programs for two categories of the illiterate and the newly literate who wish to continue their studies. It also offers education programs to all groups of society.
In 2004 His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa inaugurated the "Schools of the Future" project based on the use of information and communication technology to support basic and secondary education in the Kingdom, aiming to connect all schools in the Kingdom through the Internet and introduce the concept of E-Learning .
Al-Hidaya Al Khalifia University
Under the directives of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Ministry of Education has started to take the necessary measures for the establishment of Al-Hidaya Al Khalifia University, to form this university in accordance with other higher education institutions, particularly the University of Bahrain, noting that the Kingdom also includes a number of private universities.
(Source: Ministry of Education website)
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