Bahrain mulls education revamp
Manama, February 11, 2009
Bahrain should aim to complete a major upgrade of its education system by 2020, said Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Economic Development Board (EDB) chairman Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Crown Prince said this while officially launching the Quality Assurance Authority for Education and Training (QAA), which will review and assess schools, universities and training institutes nationwide - as well as conduct national examinations.
It will also make results of its reviews on every institution public - giving parents an insight into the quality of their child's education.
The initiative aims to improve opportunities for young Bahrainis and is an integral part of achieving goals set out in country's Vision 2030, Shaikh Salman said.
The QAA is one of the key projects of the National Education Reform initiative, which includes the establishment of the Bahrain Teacher's College, Bahrain Polytechnic and the creation of a School Improvement Programme.
'A better education system is key to empowering every Bahraini to pursue his choices and get the necessary skills for the labour market,' said Shaikh Salman.
'This educational progress would not have been possible without the full support of His Majesty King Hamad, who believes that a better education system is one of the main pillars of building a better life for every Bahraini.'
The launch of the QAA took place at its headquarters in Seef and was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Education Reform Committee chairman Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Prime Minister's Court Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi.
Shaikh Mohammed said the QAA would be a driving force behind education reform - adding all schools, universities and training institutes would benefit from raising performance levels to international best practice.
Shaikh Khalid, who is also chairman of the QAA board, described it as an important pillar in building Bahrain's future.
Meanwhile, Dr Al Nuaimi said research showed independent education institutes and quality assurance authorities had a positive impact on students, by contributing to the improvement of schools and training institutes.
QAA chief executive Dr Jawaher Al Mudhaki said that publishing reports on each school, university and training centre would allow parents to choose the best institution for their children.
The QAA consists of four units: the School Review Unit, the Secondary Vocational Review Unit, the University Review Unit and the National Exams Unit.
Specifications and criteria for maths, Arabic, English and science exams have already been set for the third, sixth and ninth grades by the National Exams Unit.
Specialist Bahraini reviewers from the QAA attended workshops at Cambridge University last August to help create the national exams.
Meanwhile, the University Review Unit has already conducted two pilot reviews of universities and started its official review cycle last September.
The Secondary Vocational Review Unit has already reviewed 15 pilot institutes before it also started its official review cycle in September. The School Review Unit has conducted 50 pilot reviews, covering 26 girls' schools and 24 boys' schools.
The first cycle of official reviews in 204 public schools in Bahrain has already begun and will be completed in 2010.-TradeArabia News Service