Bahrain’s high school time extension on way
Manama, February 1, 2012
Bahrain's high school day is likely to be extended by 45 minutes within the next two weeks, said a senior government official.
However, Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi agreed to consider postponing the changes until September, but told MPs all government secondary schools should begin implementing the new system at the start of the second academic term.
Despite some opposition to the plan, Dr Al Nuaimi said the timings had to be extended to bring them in line with international standards.
"We surveyed hundreds of secondary school teachers before implementation and 70 per cent believed that it would help improve the education presented," he said.
"After we started implementing it in selected schools, 89 per cent of the students and 79 per cent teachers were happy with it.
"Results in 29 subjects improved and students began excelling more in education because they were given more time and attention during the trial period.
"The ministry's indicators show that our educational input is 46 per cent satisfactory and this is not enough considering that only 3 per cent is excellent and we want that percentage to be 90 per cent good by 2014."
Dr Al Nuaimi said the change in timings had come about after consultation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and several international establishments.
"Currently we only give secondary students 635 hours of education during an academic year, but with this new time extension we will be providing students with 785 hours," he said.
"In other countries the average is around 920 hours and the Unesco requirement is 1,000 hours. So under Unesco standards we are losing three-and-half years of education within the 12 academic years and with the new timings it will decrease to three, which is still by far below standards."
Dr Al Nuaimi said education in Bahrain's private schools was between 900 and 1,400 hours.
"So a private school student gets education time more than his government counterpart that ranges between 265 and 765 hours," he said.
Dr Al Nuaimi spoke to MPs after being summoned to parliament to explain why the ministry wanted to extend school timings from 1.30pm to 2.15pm.
He revealed the ministry wanted to introduce the new system last September but did not have the 3,200 teachers required due to the unrest and other issues.
"The ministry spent millions on improving facilities at schools for the timings extension to provide students with the correct environment and we are already late and can't wait longer if we are to reform education," said the minister.
"We need time to assess the implementation of the extension and the ministry believes that the summer vacation gives us more time to look thoroughly into it rather than depend on assessment during the two-week spring break." – TradeArabia News Service