Bahrain outlines new education standards
Manama, October 30, 2008
Children aged nine and 12 will soon have to sit for a new nationwide examination aimed at improving education standards in Bahrain's government schools.
Newly-established National Exams Unit (NEU) will run the first pilot of the national examination for students of grades three and six from November 2 to 9, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
The real examination, however, will be held at the end of every school year, officials said on Wednesday.
It will cover Arabic and Maths for grade three and Arabic, Maths, Science and English for grade six.
The examination results will be presented to students, parents, teachers and schools as well as the public.
They will be available for grades three and six after the final year examination in May next year.
The move is part of Bahrain's Education Reform Programme headed by Deputy Premier Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa.
The pilot examination next week is designed to gauge logistical and administrative arrangements and give students and teachers an opportunity to familiarise themselves with its format, Quality Assurance Authority for Education and Training (QAAET) chief executive officer Dr Jawaher Shaheen Al Muthahki told a Press conference on Wednesday.
NEU deputy chief executive officer Sylke Scheiner and technical subjects director Wafa Yaqoubi were present.
'The national examinations are compulsory and all students in government schools will have to take them,' said Dr Al Muthahki.
'The role of the NEU is to design, develop and deliver the new examinations and manage the marking process to ensure transparency, consistency, reliability and accuracy of results and information,' she said.
The NEU is working with the support of University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), she added.
'They have been contracted to help build up Bahrain's new NEU and work with the unit on the first cycles of national examinations to ensure they are of world class,' said Dr Al Muthahki.
She said that the national examinations for grade nine in Arabic, Maths, Science and English will be introduced from May 2010 and grade 12 will follow.
Ms Scheiner said that there were four main separate units within the QAAET - School Review Unit, Vocational Review Unit, Higher Education Review Unit and the NEU.
'The NEU is responsible for preparing independent examinations according to the curriculum and requirements,' she said.
'We provide independent useful information on schools and students' performance to the public through the media.'
Scheiner said that the unit would help develop the education system by improving learning and teaching among other aspects.
'We also carry out the correction operation with the help and supervision of international experts from Cambridge University,' she said.
'The papers will not include the students name but will mention CPR numbers.'
She said that the correction procedure would take place at centres and will be strictly supervised by the NEU and the CIE. - TradeArabia News Service