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Part II Analytic aspects
2.1 Progress towards achieving the Education for All goals.
2.1.1 Early childhood card and development
The early childhood care and development programs and activities in the state of Bahrain cover different various meaningful fields, such as education, and teaching programs as well as health and social care addressed to all children since birth until pre-school age
Education and teaching programs addressed to children in pre primary education stage are available in nurseries ( for children from birth till less than three years) and in kindergartens ( for children from 3 years of age until the school age) these services are provided by the private sector under the control of the Ministry of Labor and social Affairs ( regarding nurseries ) and the Ministry of Education ( regarding kindergartens ) as we mentioned in the first Chapter of this report.
With regard to the interest of Bahrain society in children enrolment nurseries and kindergartens, opening increasing number such nurseries and kindergartens was encouraged in the 90s by the government in order to receive maximum percentage of children in this age-grade.
The nurseries and kindergartens number increased in the school year 1998/99 and reached 130 compared with 68 only in 1990/91, in other words the increase reached 48%. Furthermore, around 75% of private schools ensure pre- primary education programs both in nurseries and kindergartens. These nurseries and kindergartens cover the whole country (cities and villages) they are distributed according to the regions needs, and the target age set density in each region. All these institutions are mixed male and female)
this period witnessed Important changes in the number of children enrolled in pre primary educational, since the total registration rate reached 36% in the school year 1998/99 compared with 27,1 % in 1990/91, as illustrated in table n.(1). This increase is nothing but an evident proof that illustrates the growing knowledge and interest in the Bahrain families to this form of education in order to prepare their children for primary education
Table n. (1) illustrates also that the gender parity index in children enrolment in kindergartens is in favor of females in the school year 1990/91 and in favor of males in 1998/99. However we can confirm that enrolment opportunities in kindergartens are available for both genders without exception but enrolment depends mainly on the family financial situation since education in this stage is not free, in addition to the family awareness of this stage importance in preparing children for primary education
It is evident that all children who have attended kindergartens programs and have reached official primary education age (6 years ) enroll in public or private schools. An important increase has occurred in the 90s in the primary education children number who attended early childhood programs. Table n.(2) illustrates this development since the percentage of new children in the first primary grade, who attended kindergartens in the school year 1997/98 reached 43,1% (44,4% for males and 41,8% for females ) compared with 20% in 1990/91 21,2% for males and 18,7% for females ), which means that the number has doubled
We realize from this table that the gender parity index in the two school years is in favor of males, exactly as it is for the former table; which means that the female percentage in the first primary grade who have attended kindergartens programs is less than expected, although opportunities of enrolment in kindergartens are, as aforementioned, available for both genders
Former participation of children in kindergartens programs illustrated the positive attitude towards education and knowledge development, which fastens the knowledge process with regard to primary education basic competencies. It became clear to the Ministry that there is a number of children whose capacities surpass the first primary grade after finishing the Kindergartens stage, especially those whose ages have exceeded 6 years old by few months. A special system was set for each category to enroll directly in the second primary grade after testing children in basic skills kindergartens began to pay close attention to the teaching learning process and to adopt suitable curricula.
In order to enhance the kindergartens role in preparing children for primary education, the Ministry of Education set goals for the pre-school stage which can be presented as follows:
Among these new pilot projects in this field, is the kindergartens program project. In 1998 the Ministry began to study a unified program design for kindergartens in the country based upon the educational principles of the self learning program. It set up a related testing plan in some kindergartens, in order, to evaluate it and carry out necessary amendments before generalizing it in all kindergartens.
This program aims at preparing a generation of children ready educationally socially and morally to enroll in primary education, and at upgrading kindergartens level in Bahrain to enable them to offer pre-school children comprehensive education services.
In order to achieve the goals of re-school education, the Ministry put some rules and regulations which ensure a good education level at this stage. It stated that every kindergarten teaching personnel should have one of the following qualifications:
A training college license, a secondary school diploma with kindergartens teaching training diploma, a suitable education training diploma, or a kindergartens teaching diploma.
The Ministry reinforced these conditions through establishing a training entity addressed to kindergartens teachers which operates since 19991, by implementing self learning programs.
This entity is considered to be one of the main innovative projects in the field of kindergartens working staff upgrading and aims at establishing a small training center which will be in some way a permanent educational laboratory to train kindergartens teachers
The Ministry of labor and Social Affairs developed work in kindergartens through training programs elaborating for employees in cooperation with the Ministry of Health the general Institution for youth and sports and the University of Bahrain
Concerning taking care of children with special needs, especially in early childhood, the state gave close attention to this category of children. It encouraged civil community associations to establish centers and kindergartens and offered them all financial and moral support in order to help them continue their tasks.
Although the percentage of disabled to the population of Bahrain is low since it does not exceed 1% for all age grades and 0,3% for the 0-4 years age-grade ( according to the population survey of 1991 ), the state and the society offered special care to this category Many centers and kindergartens were established and are addressed to children with mental, physical or sensory disabilities. The Ministry of Labor and social Affairs alone established four care centers for people with disabilities, including the childs center for daily care which receives children aged between 4 an 12 years old and was established in 1993 to care for children suffering from multi handicaps or cerebral palsy. The other non governmental centers offer psychic and rehabilitation services to other categories of children with disabilities also as aforementioned in the first part of this report.
Parents and local communities involvement in implementing early childhood programs along with centers and kindergartens played an important role in enhancing their task. This made nurseries kindergartens and centers addressed to children with special needs work on strengthening their links with children families through some procedures among which:
Families have been involved in many early childhood programs and activities; kindergartens nurseries and other centers held regular meetings with parents to discuss children levels and to urge them to follow up work with children at home. Moreover, personal meetings take place with parents whose children suffer from behavioral, moral and social problems, in order to work on overcoming them. In addition opportunity was given to volunteers who desire to help in caring for children with disabilities. This process leads to offer the family services and social programs in its own social environment
Concerning the health care field, the State worked too on developing and promoting health services offered to children. This led to lower infantile mortality rate, to the developed countries levels, according to the World Health Organization reports. The recent years have known a decrease in new born mortality rate from (20) to 8.4 for every 1000 births, and in infantile mortality rate to (21,6) for every 1000 births. Hospitalization rates for epidemic disease reasons have enormously decreased due to increased vaccinations, since the rate of triple vaccinations ( Diphteria, Tetanos and whooping cough ) reached 98%, polio 98%, measles 100% Diarrhea, of the age-grade less than 5 years has decreased to 8,4%. As for mortality cases, they are rarely occurred.
2.1.2 Basic education
The progress review, towards implementing the Education for All project goals in Bahrain and spreading of primary education considers basically important qualitative and quantitative changes that occurred since 1990, as follows:
First: Quantitative indicators
Gross (apparent) and net registration rates in primary education Table (3) illustrates the gross percentage of new entrants to primary grade 1 to the official age group population (6 years ) which reached 1005% in the school year 1997/98 (99,2%) in 1990/91 ( 106,7 for males and 109,1% for females )
The same table shows the net ratio of new entrants to primary grade 1 to the official age group population in this level (6years ) which reached 84,2% in the school year 1997/98 (82,8% for males and 85,7% for females ) compared with 85% in 1990/91 (84,3% for males and 85,7% for females )
Although the education system either public or private opened opportunities of enrolment in grade 1 for children who are in the official primary school age, this decrease didnt affect Bahraini pupils. We can assert that the system is addressed to all Bahraine children except of a limited category of children with special needs who attend special education programs. This is confirmed by the expansion of establishing new public primary schools which cover the country in order to ensure education for all. Priority is given to high or medium population density regions in this process, along with ensuring means of transport for pupils who live far from their schools.
Since the number of population in official school enrolment age (6years) is an approximate number, opposite to the real number of pupils in this age, gross and net rates are likely to decrease. In addition, many pupils, who enroll directly in second primary grade, in virtue of a system that upgrade excellent pupils to the second primary grade, based on certain regulations, have not been included into the primary grade 1 figures; this has certainly affected the net enrolment rate.
Table (3) also shows the gender parity indexes to both gross and net intake rates are in favor of females in the two school years 1990/91 and 1997/98 and did not exceed (100)
The global registration rates in primary education refers to the number of registered people in primary stage, irrespective of age, represented by the percentage of the total population who are in the official primary school age (6-11 years ). This rate reached as mentioned in table (4) 104% in the school year 1997/98, (103,3% for males and 104,7% for females ) compared with 110% in 1990/91, (110% for males and 110,1% for females )
As for the net registration rate in primary education, it refers to the number of registered people in primary education, out of those who belong to the official primary school age-grade (6-11 years ). It is represented by a percentage of the total population who in the same age-grade (6-11-years ). In the school year 1997/98, this ratio reached, 96,7%, (95,6% for males and 97,8% for females), compared with the gross percentage of 99% in 1990/91, for both genders.
Although gross registration rate exceeded 100% in both years, which illustrates the systems capacity to receive all pupils in primary education, irrespective of age; the decrease is due to various reasons; with regard to the use of population estimates, against real figures in reckoning pupils.
This fact affected the ratio, as we mentioned in the former table. The net enrolment rate in school year 1997/98, which reached 97% is the most realistic percentage, since many children, who are in official primary school age, enroll in programs that operate out of the in the formal education system; such as special education and delinquent education programs.
In the light of both rates, we note that the gender parity index is in favor of females in the year school 1997/98 whereas both female and male ratios were equal in 1990/91. But as for the global enrolment level in schools or in one school in the whole country, there is an increase in the number of enrolling children of both genders; since the Bahraini society is now considering male and female education with equal importance, and views it as a social guarantee for the future of both males and females.
Table 5 illustrates that current public expenditure on public primary education as a percentage of GNP during the years 1990-98, varies, in an up and down movement, from one year to another,,( it varies between 1,16% and 1,41 % ). This is applied on the current public expenditure on primary education per pupil, as a percentage of gross National Product (GNP) per capita, since this percentage increases and decreases ( it varies between 10,80% and 12,46% ). This fact is clearly shown in the chart enclosed to the table.. This is due to the economic situation that fluctuates in this country, in exactly the same way as other countries in the world, Decrease began from 1991 until 1995, which is the period of economic recession, during which the Gulf war effect was felt on the countrys economic situation. Then the situation knew a slight improvement in 1996 and the recession took over again in 1998.
As for public expenditure on primary education, as percentage of total public expenditure on education, it did not change between 1990-1998. As illustrated in table 5, it was almost stable on 21,26%, except the slight change that occurred during the four years ranging between 1994 and 1997, since it reached 31,27% and regained it former number in 1998. However, a positive indicator can be firmly confirmed , through the fact that the proportion of the public funds, spent on primary education, exceeds the quarter of the total expenditure. This means that priority goes to primary education in the allocation of resources.
The Ministry of Education defined among the employment conditions applied by the education committee in public schools a clear provision stating that: the candidate for a teaching job in any educational level, must have an academic diploma, such as a degree or its equivalent in teaching specialization. Table 6 illustrates the percentage of primary school teachers having required academic qualifications which are no less than ( education ) degree as a minimum This number reached 65% in the school year 1997/98 (46% for males and 73% for females), after the implementation of the ministerial decree on the employment only of teachers having an education degree. The gender parity index shows that the percentage of teachers having academic qualifications is (education degree) is in favor of females.
It is worth noting that the Ministry of Education in the State Bahrain considers the concerned teachers who have a degree in another field or a teaching institute diploma and have attended educational rehabilitation seminars in the field of specialization ( before the issuance of the decree on the employment of teachers who have an education degree ), as qualified for teaching at schools. They represent 35% of the total number of primary school teachers (54% for males and 27% for females) The qualified teachers percentage is then 100%, according to the Ministrys criteria
As for the system of issuing permits for teaching it is not implemented in the State of Bahrain according to the internationally used term; according to the adopted system, the teacher continues to teach with no regard to the training he has received in formal seminars (during or before service ), but this matter is taken into consideration in the promotion system.
Pupil teacher ratio at public primary schools reached 18 pupils per teacher in the school year 97/98, as shown in table 7. This is true at schools for boys and girls in all the countrys regions. This rate seems low, when compared with those of the previous years (20to22 pupils per teacher ). This change is due to the creation of new schools, so as to remedy the density at schools and classes, whereby the class density at primary schools reaches 30 pupils in each class. This change is also due to the implementation of the class teacher system in the first 3 years of primary education, which has decreased the pupils-teacher ratio. This situation is a good indicator which comes in favor of the learning- teaching process
Table 7: Indicator 11
Pupil teacher ratio in public primary schools in the State of Bahrain 1997/98
Table 8 shows that there is a general decrease in the rates of failure in primary education at public schools between the school years of 90/91 and 97/98, as it is indicated by the average of failure (5-1) for it decreased from 5,6% 704,9%
These results reveal nothing but, that the public education system is endeavoring to increase the internal competence in primary education; they also show the attention paid to the teacher, so as to train him in order to increase his competence and the concern regarding the students acquirements, especially at this stage. But the problem appears in these rates, as for the boys failure starting from the third year of primary education in the school year 97/98, if compared with the year 90/91, and the increase, of course, regarding the years average (5-1). The gender parity indicator, which was in favor of the boys in the first year, became in favor of the girls in the last year. This is due to the social phenomenon, from suffers the educational system in the country; it is reflected through the fact that the boys dont desire to study, as strongly as the girls. The Ministry is working hard towards changing this situation
The number of pupils, who failed to reach the 5th primary grade at public schools, has reached 1% only in the school years 90/91 and 97/98, as shown in table (9). This means that the rates regarding the drop out are somehow very low in Bahrain, and if this drop out occurs, it is because the student moved to a private school or to another country or for sickness or death (which are uncontrollable reasons by the Ministry ).
This reflects, of course, the decreasing level of school drop out.. However, the educational authorities are still striving to renew and increase the efficiency of the educational process by adopting the perfectible strategy, instead of the success concept at school.
Concerning the efficiency coefficients in 5th primary grade in particular, and primary education in general, both are getting better for they reach 94% in the school year 97/98, compared with 90/91 ( 91,5% ).
Gender parity indicators show that the rate of staying at school until 5th grade and the capabilities coefficient ( in primary education or until the 5th class ), in the concerned school years, are in favor of the girls.
Second: quantitative Indicators
In the 90s, the State has made relentless efforts in order to improve the quality of basic education, especially at public schools.It achieved a number of pioneer educational projects which produced a deep impact on all fields including; educational system and curricula, teaching methods, evaluation and teachers training etc. The following is a summary of the main innovative projects which, how aimed to improve the teaching quality and level, so as to be more responsive to the students needs and the requirements of the social and economic development of the country.
The Ministry of Education has reinforced and supported the primary education, since it adopted the "teacher class" system in its first module ( the first 3 classes ) which is considered one of the pioneer innovative projects introduced in the school year 83/84, as its continuously expanded. This project is the class teacher formula, adopted as a prelude to develop the primary education in a comprehensive way; regarding its orientations, structure, content and means, so as to be able it to provide the child with integrative educational skills and to promote his personal comprehensive and balanced growth
The first experience with this system began in 10 classes of the 1st primary grade at 2 primary schools (one for girls and other for boys ). From this moment, the experience was progressively expanded. The number of schools, applying that system until the school year 98/99, was 109 (51 for boys schools and 58 for girls ). The total of classes, which apply this system reached 974 classes, whereby in each class one teacher is in charge of all the courses, except music and sports
The Ministry of Education trend towards developing the primary education curriculum was launched by stressing upon unifying expertise, and considering the curriculum subjects with an integrative view, practicing scientific ways of through, acquiring appropriate skills, paying attention to practical and empirical sides and making them an integral part of the curriculum, considering the functional side related to the students current and future life, and striving, when the books and courses are elaborated, in order to make the educational skills as integrative as possible, and to avoid fragmentation and scattering.
Moreover, the primary education was reformulated as a philosophy concerning basic education and its goals. This review is as comprehensive as it included all aspects of development, the link between knowledge and work cognitive function and the opportunity of life long learning. In order to fulfill these objectives, the Ministry of Education paid close attention to develop an adequate school environment on the material and educational levels. The following are the most important achievements towards developing and updating the educational curricula in basic education during the 90 to 99 period.
In order to reinforce the role of school curricula in the teaching and learning process, the ministry has developed learning centers for students following basic education. This procedure aims to achieve the school ambition to move from focusing on memorizing to learning, and this through providing various sources that facilitate self learning and make the learners acquire many skills like capacity, analysis, criticism creativity and problems resolving.
In December 1994, the ministry of Education approved an advanced system for basic education evaluation and tests. This system has been practiced during the school year 95/96 at 10 primary schools, chosen at random, among schools that apply the class teacher and the active learning system. Expanding the implementation of this system continued until it was focused upon during the school year 99/2000, by 90 primary schools for boys and girls and by 2 primary preparatory schools Its expected that, by the school year 2000/2001, this system will be followed at all schools. Here are the most important characteristics of the educational evaluation system for basic education:
This system improved the perfectibility of basic capabilities and led increase the rate of success in primary grades.
In 1992, the Ministry of Education has proceeded with integrating students with special needs into regular classes, to follow their studies in exactly the same way as their normal peers, rather than separation them from their original environment and society, which is the school and regular classes. This procedure covers people with physical disabilities; as well a those with hearing, speech or vision impairments.
This experience started with the regular classes at 2 primary public schools (one for boys ,the other for girls ).A number of executive steps were taken in order to apply the experience, whereby 27 teachers were chosen (15 men and 12 women ) in 28 classes.
The experience has been, progressively, expanded until the number of schools applying it reached 66 schools in the school year 98/99: it embraced almost 5500 students at 31 schools for girls and 7500 students at 35 schools for boys. It is expected that the experience will be generalized over all the public schools in Bahrain by 2006
Within the special educational programs, the ministry has considered a project for protecting brilliant and talented students in public schools by forming a committee, that emerged from r the special education committee in December 95.
The project aims to discover and identify the brilliant students in the 2nd module of the primary education, through a series of tests that includes an I.Q, a creativity probe, the grades and the teachers notes.
The ministry of Education has adopted, since the school year 90/91, the school system as an independent and basic educational entity. This system has been, gradually, applied to all the educational stages. In the year 94/95, the same system was generalized at all the schools. It is traced back to the philosophy of giving the school some sort of freedom to menage its own issues, determine the training needs and develop the institution functioning. The philosophy relies upon 2 main principles. According to the first one, education is the basic function of the school, and the administrative body is to perform a supportive task that enable students and teachers to practice the learning-teaching process.
As for the second principle, it concerns broadening the schools prerogatives, as a basic educational unit, in decision making process, as for its internal matters and its relations with the local community, under the umbrella of the global educational policies elaborated by the Ministry.
In the school year 96/97, the Ministry began to apply the self evaluation system for the school institution, which aspires to the improve the school acquirements quality and level, and to promote educational and administrative practices and increase efficiency.
In the school year 97/98, the Ministry has, also, executed the cooperative schools project in some of the countrys regions. This project aims to improve the competence of the schools employees and the students acquirements, and to increase the service exchange among schools.
Examples of cooperation fields include: carrying out acquirements survey tests, such as formative, collective and diagnostic tests; organizing joint seminars and workshops; exchanging on site visits, teaching and educational practices; organizing joint activities and events, such as conferences and exhibitions. This project is expected to be generalized by the school year 2000/2001.
In 1994, the Ministry of Education has followed a new method so as to meet the teaching needs. This method shows that all the graduates of all disciplines must sit for an exam so as to determine the graduates qualifications in the specialization subject. When it comes to nomination,. priority is given to people who get higher grades in the level exam
The Ministry has also taken measures in order to develop the teachers on the vocational level since the early 90s.
These measures included the elaboration of training programs during the service so as to raise the level of basic education teachers ( in Arabic and English languages, Sciences, mathematics ). Those programs were implemented, starting from the school year 94/95 until 98/99
In the school year 97/98, the Ministry started to execute a project concerning a vocational development program for administrative and teaching bodies at public schools. The objective is to meet the Ministrys trends toward improving education and its outcome, as well as meeting the workers effective needs in school field and resolve the problems they face at their work. The ministry endeavours to meet a great number of schools needs; like improving its teachers qualifications and providing them with updated skills and experiences, as well as increasing their outcome efficiency and making out of the school the needed place for spreading vocational development among their colleagues at work..
The educational changes and developments, which affected the basic education, produced a profound and direct impact on the school building. The "class-teacher" system requires school buildings to have designs and criteria that serve this systems philosophy and aims. They contain spacious rooms for activities, laboratories, rooms for family education, as well as learning source centers. In this connection, the Ministry has made some modifications to the "class teacher" school buildings, whereby new designs were drawn for these buildings, in a way that each ones capacity would becom 10 classes, in stead of 8.
2.1.3 Educational acquirements and outcome
In the State of Bahrain, there is no comprehensives central and national evaluation system at the end of each module. However the Ministry of Education has striven, in the recent few years, to elaborate some researches that aim to obtain some indicators related to the evaluation of the students educational acquirements at the end of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd modules.
In this connection, three studies were conducted in 1993:
These studies aimed to evaluate the pupils performance in Arabic and mathematics in the 3rd and 6th primary grads, and this very performance the in 3rd preparatory grade. This method shows what the students have acquired and what they have not
The sample covered various groups of pupils from various educational districts of the country. It represented 10% of the total number of pupils in the 3rd and the 6th primary grades and about 6% of those of the 3rd preparatory grade.
As for the nature of these tests, they evaluated how much the students have perfected the curriculums basic capabilities. It included questions on partial skills in language (reading and writing ) and in mathematics ( numbers and equations ). The 3 studies results unveiled the weaknesses of the students in Arabic language and mathematics and justified them by the modifications brought to the teaching process in class.
The ministry has also considered under the new educational trends plan, to canny a number of studies related to the evaluation of educational outcome. One of those studies is being applied since 1999 (a study about " the evaluation of the educational outcome in the 1st module of basic education").
This study aims to assess the level of educational acquirements at the end of the 1st module of basic education and to explain the inequality in acquirements level according to educational and social factors.
The studys tools include standard tests, which were elaborated on the basis of a detailed analysis on the capabilities designed to be acquired by the students, at the end of the 3rd class. The tests covered the entire projected capabilities. These tests were applied on the pupils of the 3rd primary grade at all the public and at a number of private national schools, at the end of the school year 98/99, in Arabic language and mathematics. The studys tools also included a form for the student, his family, the school director and the teachers of Arabic language and mathematics.
The Ministry plans to execute this study with the students of the 2nd module on the same subjects and afterwards with those of the 3rd module.
Methods followed in evaluating the students educational acquirements
Since early 90s, the evaluation tools and systems, as well as the students performance assessment, have been developed. Therefore, this evaluation covered multiple aspects of the learners personality. It also took into consideration the principle of the of basic capabilities perfection as a prelude. This method required a variety of evaluation tools and means; such as using evaluation applications and cards, so as to evaluate the students basic capabilities; trying to design educational briefcases in mathematics, to be used by the teacher, to evaluate the students performance and knowledge gains. In parallel, the "class teacher system" was introduced to primary education. The application form evaluation system led to the emergence of other formulas, such as, projects of level tests ( Arabic and mathematics) at the end of the 1st and 2nd modules. Later on, these became a prelude to national tests in both subjects, so as to evaluate outcome, whereas the tests were applied in June 1996.
In the light of the positive results obtained from this experience, applications and cards were made for other subjects in basic education, through various means of evaluation; like systematic observation, training, daily exercises, planned activities, activities proposed by the students, personal and collective projects and various tests
These were considered as essential tools of evaluation. However, the reality shows writing tests remain, in general, the predominant evaluation means, under mid and final semester examination, especially in the 2nd and 3rd modules of basic education. Nevertheless we see that evaluating students through the principle of the educational capabilities perfection and " the class teacher " system is very effective. In fact, this method helps creating a fertile ground and strong basis, to welcome a new formula in evaluating primary classes. This formula reconciles formative and perfectible evaluation, with performance evaluation. Moreover, it stresses on the above mentioned way.
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