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Bahrain - Educational System—overview

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceBahrain - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education

EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM—OVERVIEW

Given its early start, Bahrain has been at least a generation ahead of its neighbors in modern educational development, but it has also upheld its traditions. From the beginning, Bahraini education has been noncoeducational, and there appear to be no plans to change this structure. In 1919 the first elementary school in Bahrain was established for boys, while the first girls' elementary school opened in 1928. In 1936 the first industrial school was established, and a secondary school for girls was opened in 1951. A religious school for Shari'a (Islamic law) scholars opened in 1943, which later became the Religious Institute of Bahrain in 1960. The Teachers College was inaugurated in 1966, and in 1968 Bahrain University opened its doors, after a reincorporation of Khaliji Technical College (also known as Gulf Polytechnic). The first private education endeavors began in 1952 with the opening of the Manama School, an in 1961 the Private Education Act was promulgated. As of 2001, private education accommodated an estimated 15 percent of school age students. In 1971 the Joint National Committee for Adult Education was organized, and in 1979 the Bahrain University's College of Arts, Sciences, and Education opened. In the same year the Arabian Gulf University was inaugurated with the institution of its Faculty of Medicine.

From 1990 to 2000 the number of government schools in operation steadily increased, as did student enrollment in these schools—and the percentage of Bahraini nationals working in the education sector. In the academic year 1990-1991 there were 158 government schools up to the secondary level. This number jumped to 193 by academic year 1999-2000. Total student enrollment in the government schools for 1990-1991 was 100,658, while by 1999-2000 this figure had reached 114,669. In 1999-2000, about 88 percent of the teachers in these schools were Bahraini, a dramatic increase of nearly 20 percent throughout the 1990s from only 68.5 percent of the teachers being Bahraini in 1990-1991. According to UNESCO, the literacy rate in 1997 was 85.2 percent, up from a 45 percent literacy rate in 1984. The improvements in adult literacy have allowed the Ministry of Education to shift its focus from general illiteracy to computer illiteracy.

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