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Reforms to boost Bahrain’s education system

Manama , June 20, 2011

New teaching programmes that aim to boost Bahrain's education system will soon be implemented at Bahrain University, said a senior official at the Bahrain Teachers College (BTC).

Three programmes are to be launched which intend to speed up the country's educational reforms, said BTC dean Professor Ian Haslam.

The first is the development of a Bahraini faculty and teaching model called the BTC Teaching Fellow programme.

It looks to recruit 100 of the very best teachers and principals in public schools across the country, he said.

'This programme is an ambitious one which will recruit fully bilingual teachers with an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) grade of six to 6.5 in all four subjects, English, maths, science and Arabic.'

Grade six means that the individual is a competent user of the English language having been tested in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The teachers will hold professional development workshops in Arabic in order to communicate with colleagues from Arabic schools with lower proficiency levels in English.

'Instead of me trying to communicate in English with colleagues who don't have good command of the language and only get half the message, I want to have fully bilingual Bahraini teachers and school leaders,' said Prof Haslam.

'They are hired as adjunct lecturers and work with colleagues across all schools on all modern methods of teaching.'

Once this programme is installed, each one would only teach one class every semester, having 20 teachers in each class and approximately 4,000 teachers would be trained by the end of next year.

'This would happen in Arabic with modern methods of teaching, reading, writing and arithmetic, and is almost like model education in the Gulf and really powerful strategising for reform,' said Prof Haslam.

The second programme is the BTC Clinical Assistant Professor scheme being carried out in co-operation with the Education Ministry.

Two teachers or principals of the highest calibre will be identified to work overseas and complete a three-year doctoral work in one of the world's top university education programmes such as Warwick or Institute of Education in London, said Prof Haslam.

'Through working for us and participating in research seminars and teaching undergraduate courses, they will become quintessential role models and on their return, they will start to form the next generation of professional teachers here,' he said.

'As well as helping to sustain the system by taking on the leadership of the college, they become internationally respected leaders of education.'

The final programme is entitled the BTC Secondment programme, where the college will identify four undergraduate level colleagues with a bachelor of education and teaching certificate to work in Arabic, English, maths and science.

'Through team teaching and participation with the regular faculty in classes, they will become role models to students, go out on teaching practice and observe students before providing valuable feedback,' said Prof Haslam.

'However, the beauty of these three programmes is that all these colleagues are contextually grounded.

'They will listen to what the West is doing with respect to educational reforms and say if such methods can or cannot be done here, and essentially bring real hardcore discourse to the question of what it's like to teach in a Bahraini public school.'

He said that even some of his Bahraini colleagues had not worked in local schools and therefore through these programmes, more experience could be shared across the board.

'If you bring people from these schools, we can learn from them, and that helps us carry out research and move forward,' said Prof Haslam.

BTC employs 47 faculty members, and 70 staff in total.

Last year, 1,380 students registered at the college and 150 new teachers are due to graduate this September. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Training | Manama | Teaching | Bahrain University | Education system |

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