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Bahraini students may get monthly allowance

Manama, September 25, 2008

Nearly 33,000 Bahraini students at private and government universities, colleges and other institutes could soon receive a monthly allowance.

The proposal was initially approved by MPs in January, but has been kept on hold to draw up details, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.

It aims to help students meet expenses during their studies and encourage them to continue.

The proposal, submitted by Al Wefaq bloc, was recommended by parliament's services committee on Wednesday and will be now voted on after parliament resumes next month.

It is being fully supported by the Labour Ministry and the Bahrain Training Institute (BTI), and the Health Ministry and College of Health Sciences.

However, it is being seen as unnecessary by the Education Ministry and Bahrain University.

Committee chairman Dr Ali Ahmed said that the allowance wouldn't be given away easily.

'The student should be attending classes regularly, with a monthly attendance report being presented,' he said.

'The Grade Point Average (GPA) shouldn't be less than 2 out of 4, with students getting more allowances if they increase their grades or maintain excelling ones.

He, however, said certain criteria should be followed to ensure that applicants are carefully selected for education or training. 'Some would just come for the money, rather than to get a degree.'

He said that a separate authority would be set up to supervise the distribution of the allowance, which would not include those already sponsored by companies or establishments.

The Health Ministry said in a letter to the committee that clear criteria should be set up to ensure that students wishing to actually study benefit from it.

It said the College of Health Sciences hoped to attract more students through the scheme.

The Labour Ministry stated in another letter that the BTI was already giving BD125,000 ($332, 000) in aid to productive families training at the institute, in addition to BD20,000 spent on excelling trainees, but backing the scheme as it would provide more support.

The Education Ministry said in January that the scheme would cost more than BD30 million a year if it was given the go ahead.

It said that there were 11,000 students at private universities, 15,000 at Bahrain University and 3,550 abroad, among other students studying at various government colleges. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahraini students | Monthly allowance | Al Wefaq bloc |

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