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  1. Necessary methods to assess the basic knowledge, skills, attitudes and values.

The State of Bahrain relies on the basic capabilities of school subjects, as criteria enabling to evaluate student’s basic knowledge and skills regarding these subjects. In fact, the educational evaluation system, applied to basic education, which was published in December 1994, defines the word "capability" as being " the fulfillment of a specific work or the achievement of a stated goal with competence and efficiency, at a precise and development correct level of performance". Said system has set a philosophy, translated by:

  1. Underscoring perfection side of the basic capabilities and considering perfection as the basis for the evaluation of students.
  2. Raising the efficiency of the evaluation process within the school, by relying upon diagnosis rules, various instruments assessing basic theoretical and practical skills, files and other evaluation methods. Thus, these instruments will tend to replace the grading system, particularly during the first and second modules of basic education and the evaluation process will be carried out jointly, in a productive and participatory way, between the learner, the teacher and the parents. These instruments will unveil the high levels of education; such as solving problems, developing the ways of thinking and being able to understand the relation between the cause and the effect.
  3. Having resort, in the evaluation process, to more than a source, with regard to its forms, content and those who are responsible for it and the follows-up of the students’ records. There will be an internal evaluation carried out by the teacher and another internal one established by the school with the participation of a group of learners. Moreover, there would be an external evaluation accomplished, at the end of each module, by the technical body within the Ministry. This evaluation includes integrative methods and processes concerning the expression, the way of thinking and the resolution of the various problems. Thereby, said evaluation assess the basic capabilities of the entire module, and not only the capabilities of one of its classes. The external evaluation is not, necessarily, related to a specific subject already covered by the external assessment.
  4. Considering the end of each module as a bottle’s neck for the previous classes and the level’s evaluation at the end of each module as a basis revealing, to what extent, the student has perfected the basic capabilities, which enables him to join the next module. All this leads to enhance the quality of each module’s outcome, improving, therefore, the education quality in the next module.
  5. Viewing the school as responsible, to a great extent, for its students’ perfection of all the basic capabilities in the entire three modules of basic education. This perfection can be checked by assessing the outcome of each module, at different intervals, to be determined by the Ministry. The school must draw advantage from the evaluation results, as feed-back, in order to develop the educational process.
  6. Insisting on the education principle, which is based upon perfectibility, by making use of the evaluation relying on an oral reference basis in determining the acquisition level of the student, identifying this acquisition’s strengths and weaknesses, and directing him, accordingly, to the adequate educational type.
  7. Paying close attention to students with special needs and stressing on the principle of the constant and rapid support, the principle of therapeutic education; taking care of the brilliant students and of those with special aptitudes and adopting the system of moving to a higher class by overstepping the another.
  8. Reinforcing the principle of cooperation between the house and the school as regards the development process of the student, respecting the parents’ opinion when it comes to moving their children from one class to another, especially during the first and second modules and advising them on the adequate teaching materials to choose, in order to follow up their children and improve their educational acquirements.

The educational evaluation system also insists on the fact that the teacher has to make use of various evaluation methods and instruments, matching the nature of the subject and the teaching and learning positions, such as: systematic observation; planned activities and personal activities initiated by the students; personal and collective projects, whether guided or individual; reports and research papers; various aspects of examination, whether oral, written or practical.

However, when it comes to evaluating the educational achievements of the student and interpreting his results, there’s reliance, in the first symposium classes, on the permanent formative evaluation, according to diagnosis lists, determining the fulfillment, by the student, of the criteria set by the system. These criteria being the educational capabilities of each subject, the perfection level he attained, the weaknesses found in each achievement, accompanied by a descriptive explanation, which helps the teacher, the learner and the parents to identify the learner’s position within the growth scale, in order to guide him, properly, towards further growth and progress.

  1. The educational acquirements positions in the four pillars of the international committee for education for the 21 century within the Ministry’s curricula in the State of Bahrain
  2. The four pillars of the international committee for education for the 21 century are: learning to gain knowledge, learning to work, learning to live with the others and learning to be. Those pillars are close to the educational goals of the State of Bahrain, for they are basic needs and functional requirements, firmly linked, to the process of bringing to perfection the school subjects capabilities. They reflect, in their contents, a consistent dimension and a common horizontal and vertical factor between all courses and various levels. It is the curricula that gave a special weight to unify the crumbled knowledge and to build the integral personality out of the fragmented information. Those pillars were drawn as capabilities that represent a relative weight in every educational subject.

    The Ministry of Education took in charge the consolidation of these four pillars within the teaching and learning practices at schools.In this, it organized a educational conference for the administrative and teaching bodies at the primary schools in September 1999.This conference aimed to familiarize the participants with the notion of the four educational pillars and their pedagogic and educational contents, as specified in the report of the International Committee for Education for the 21 century. It aimed also to develop the participants’ awareness, by showing the importance of knowing the various international educational orientations and realizing their relations with the Bahrainee society reality and needs in growth and development. The participants got also acquainted with the educational practices carried out by the primary schools in the State Bahrain, and how to analyze and criticize them in the light of the international educational orientations. They were also introduced to how to develop these practices, in order to continue in improving education and educational outcome.

  3. Educational outcome
  4. Although there are no specific studies to follow up the educational outcome and levels in the labour market in a clear way, statistics show that most of children and adults, whose age-grade ranges between 10 and 24 years, posses reading and writing skills. This group gathers those who go to schools, where they have to perfect the basic unified and integral capabilities, to be able to attend a higher class, especially, in the Arabic language and mathematics, as specified in the evaluation system for basic education. The rate of those who posses reading and writing skills in this group, was 99,34%, in 1996 (99,63% for male and 98,93% for female ). This rate reflects the efforts extended by the State in the basic education process. AS for the low rate, that doesn’t go beyond 0.7%, out of the total number, it is made up of children and adults with special needs (especially the retarded that don’t posses any reading or writing skills ).

    2.1.4 Adult literacy training

  5. literacy situation
  6. The rate of the adolescents (+15) who possess reading and writing skills in the State of Bahrain, as shown in table 10, reached 79%, as 1991 census. The rate was 86,73% for the males and 71,25% for females. According to the population estimates of 1996, literacy average increased and attained 80.27% (80.40% for males and 73.12% for females). The rate of those who possess reading and writing skills in the 15-24 years age-set, was 99% (99.63% for males and 98.54% for females ), according to the population estimates of 1996.The gender parity index shows that the rating is in both situations in favor of males.

    These figures reflect that the highest rate, out of those who don’t possess any reading or writing skills, are grown–ups who hadn’t had the chance to learn in the past, which means that there would be a continuous decrease of illiterates, by providing opportunity of formal and informal education for all. Although a slight decrease in the illiteracy rate was achieved, it still very weak, compared with the efforts extended by the State, and the rate, it projected to reach, by the year 2000.

  7. Literacy training programs

Literacy training programs take six years of study divided into three levels:

  1. Literacy level: it is considered the basic one for those who don’t posses any reading or writing skills. It takes two years of study during which the learner is taught Islamic religion, Arabic language and Mathematics. This level is equal to the fourth grade primary of formal education.
  2. Follow-up level: It covers two years of study. Those who have finished the literacy level can attend it. This level aims at reinforcing the basic skills acquired by the learner during the previous one, as a guarantee to not return to illiteracy. The subjects taught in this during this phase are: Islamic religion, Arabic language, mathematics, English language, Sciences and History and Geography. Those are the same subjects of the fifth and sixth grade primary in formal education, after being adjusted, so that they match the adult needs. This phase is equal to the sixth grade of formal education. At its end, the learner gets his equal primary certificate.
  3. Capacity building level : it comes after the follow-up level and equals the preparatory stage of formal education. This level is attended by those who have finished the follow-up one and want to get on with their studies, or those who have interrupted their formal studies for some reason. Capacity building level’s program aims for providing an educational environment, through helping adult learners pursue their studies until the end of basic education , so that they can store the skills they have acquired on the two former levels, preventing, thus, any potential return to illiteracy, in case of school drop out . It also serves, as a basis for a life-long self-learning –if desired. Moreover, this program helps learners apply the acquired experiences and skills in the different personal, social and professional aspects of life and reinforce the functional effectiveness of practical daily life. On this stage, the same curriculum’s content, as the third module of formal basic education (the preparatory stage ) is taught, after rationalizing this content, so that the essential subjects can be taught in two instead of three years, according to the adult experiences, desires, occupations and given their lack of time . This stage includes the following 6 subjects : Islamic Religion , Arabic language, Mathematics , English language , Sciences, History and Geography .
  4. In order to promote consistency between children and adult education programs, the Ministry has made a comprehensive review of the program designed for those who have overcome illiteracy; an initiative that helped reformulate the adult education programs, both on the follow-up and capacity building levels . It, also, set regulations which pave the way for young people to rejoin formal education, attend its classes and obtain relevant certificate .

    As for the other programs, which include vital elements for literacy training and post-literacy steps, they embrace the following :

  5. Programs for workers’ literacy (civil servants and a company’s employees) at the work place. Those programs are applied since 1986 and were notified to the ministries and governmental bodies, during the school year 1994-1995, according to the State orientation toward a reinforcing and modifying literacy training plan in the country .
  6. Family education programs for women, within the post-literacy stage. Applied since 1990-1991, consolidate the women cognitive acquirements, so that they can use them achieving their goals and fulfilling their needs.
  1. Stressing women literacy

The State is deploying notable efforts, to help illiterate women, through programs and facilities it provides, overcome illiteracy. Besides the three literacy training levels’ programs, offered in the afternoon the State has elaborated a literacy training program for non-working women in the morning (for those who cannot attend the evening classes ). This program has contributed to a decease drop-out rate.

Since the school year 88/89 and with the cooperation of the Arab Gulf program to support the UN Development Program, the Ministry of Education has achieved a program to open kindergartens in the literacy training centers (13 centers in different regions of the country). They concern the children of women attending the evening and morning classes for the literacy training (from 3 to 5 years old ) . Their number varies between 350 and 400 children per year ( including males and females ) . In the school year 1998/99, 19 centers have a kindergarten. This human and civilized work solved one of the problems standing in the way of illiterate women who don’t want to leave their children alone at home –fearing some accidents . This situation had led to a high drop-out percentage and a decline in mothers’ knowledge acquirement, due to their frequent absences . It also increased the educational and financial squandering, which prevented the State from being totally involved in literacy training all over the country .

One of the programs that stresses women’s literacy training is the family education program, for the post-literacy level. It has been applied since the school year 1990/1991, given the need for informing the Bahrainee women, who have overcome illiteracy, through the family education program, on how to cope with the changing economic and social situation in the country .The program, also, helps transform women from consumer to productive groups, who depend on themselves; develop women’s abilities to handle the hardship of life and to employ free time in what can make good to their persons; their family and society. Finally, this program aims for structuring training programs for the family education, under the form of integrative educational units covering 3 fields (housing, maternity and childhood protection, food and nutrition). At the beginning, this program was applied in 5 centers, then it reached 10 centers in different Bahrainee regions.

Various State bodies; such as ministries, women and social associations health, social and cultural awareness raising programs to women in literacy training centers.

  1. Improving programs and storing literacy skills
  2. In order to improve literacy training programs, the Ministry of Education was deeply involved in choosing the teachers who enjoy special skills in adult education, given that those are the main element in teaching and learning process. Therefore, the Ministry has recently, intended to choose University graduated teachers, while keeping some of those who got a high-school certificate and have rich experience in literacy training work and providing them with the training programs, especially, in Arab language and mathematics . These literacy teachers training related programs include seminars in teaching practices, teaching tools functioning, education evaluation systems, questions’ structuring, as well as seminars in English language, for language teachers, in the curriculum’ skills applied on both follow-up and capacity building skills .

    Participatory learning strategy was, also, introduced to adult education centers. It is a very adequate method, given the different levels of learners in the same class. Literacy training centers have adopted an evaluation system, which relies on the perfection principle, whereby no learner can move to a higher level, unless he has, highly, perfected the basic skills. The grade record has been replaced by a follow-up application assessing the skills acquired under the three main subjects .

    The State has also made efforts, so as to store and promote reading and counting literacy, among the new learners , through letting them continue their studies, after having finished the literacy level, not only on the follow-up level, but also on the capacity building one . Moreover, they can have resort to learning sources at formal schools, which can lend the learners, reading materials, depending on their knowledge level and get the teachers help the learner reinforce his reading abilities .

    2.1.5 Basic skills training

    The Paid tangible attention to youth and adult training, on basic skills they may need in their daily and practical life. To this end, it elaborate life-long education, training and rehabilitation programs; before and during service so as all the Bahrainee labor force can be fully employed and human development aspects can be fulfilled .

    The private and public sectors have both contributed to the making of these programs, which varie according to the different social groups’ needs. Some of them were elaborated since the 60s and the 70s and had evolved; some others were innovate starting from the 90s . These programs can be divided into different categories:

  3. Life-long education program
  4. These programs are submitted by the ministries and the private sector, represented by special educational institutes located all around the country . The Ministry of Education is the competent authority as for providing life-long education programs for all the social groups. These programs contain language courses for adults (English, French , German, Japanese) In parallel, the Ministry provide a program for teaching Arabic language to those who don’t speak it, in order to diffuse Arabic among the foreigners, living in the country. Therefore, they could communicate with the natives and understand the Arabic culture and the Islamic civilization. There is also an accounting program and a computer program which was developed in the 90s, to cope with modern technology .

    In 1997/1998, training programs were, especially, created for women. They, also, include kindergartens related artistic and plastic skills, seminars for tutors dealing with children who attend teacher class system, on reading difficulties, how to deal with teenagers, as well as manual works for wedding .

    In general, life-long education seminars vary in length and type. Some are short, like educational, social and vocational seminars, which contribute to increase and broaden individual’s knowledge and horizons in such fields. Others are long, like language or computer seminars, which, essentially, serve those who are searching for a job, improve the workers’ level, contribute to their promotion and increase their productivity .

  5. Vocational training in different work fields in Bahrain
  6. there are different kinds of vocational development program :

    First, social development related training: it aims for developing women’s capacities and increasing their educational and economic level. It includes training on manual labor like; handicraft, ceramic and weddings works, children toys, flower drying, glass, mirror and pottery coloring and other activities that take palace in the social centers. The objective is to serve the local communities, so as to facilitate the women’s integration in society and provide a decent income for the families . Besides, there is special training for women’s careers like; dressmaking, sewing, hair-dressing and cosmetology, which are provided by the State and the social associations

    Second, human forces training and development : it is designed to develop basic skills which aim for providing trainee people with basic skills and knowledge, so as to double their job opportunities or to entitle to attend higher programs . For instance, t Training Institute of Bahrain organizes seminars of vocational development and others for training and rehabilitating those who are searching for a job .

  7. Training programs for people with special needs:
  8. in addition to the academic education for people with special needs, provided by public and private institutions , these latter provide various training programs like; vocational training for the blind ( caning , furniture making and stirilization instruments for boys; sewing and weaving for girls ) . The blind are also trained to switchboard operation .

    Moreover, vocational training programs are, also, designed for people with mental, hearing and physical disabilities. The objective is to develop their skills and help them get a job, according to their capacities. These training programs include several activities (handicrafts, dressmaking, cosmetology, hairdressing, carpentry and agriculture , etc.).

    Through the Ministry of Interior , the State provides a vocational training program for youth in the fields of electricity, carpentry, electronics and agriculture for boys; and dressmaking needlework , hairdressing and housekeeping for girls .

  9. Formal vocational training

The governmental and industrial high schools provide a two-years educational level, called formal vocational training, in many fields: carpentry, plumbing, car dying and health care. This program is designed students who fait to acquire enough capabilities to move to various secondary education levels and branches. they can move to the secondary level . This program gives an opportunity for going on with their studies and prepares them for entering the labor market, a sem-skilled workers, in the concerned specialization field.

2.2 Effectiveness of the Education for All strategy, action plan and programs

  1. Early child care and development

The plans and programs, set by the government, for early child care and development, have been, and still, are clear and ambitions. Through them the government tries to reach high and advanced levels, in order to fulfill the "Education for All" objectives and goals.

The contribution of the private sector, individuals and associations in this field has achieved some of the state’s ambitions, especially, concerning the expansion of the establishment of nurseries and kindergartens, a mentioned in the previous part, in addition to the care provided for disadvantaged children. Multiple measures, such as tax exemption and free meals and clothe provision, have been taken, either by the government or by women associations, to help needy families’ children. Nevertheless, a need for more nurseries and kindergartens, to receive more children below 6 years of age and prepare them for primary education. In fact, capacity rate is still less than 33%, which is a very low rate, because pre-school education is provided by the private sector, the family, therefore, is responsible for educational fees that surpass sometimes the means of low-income families. Consequently,, the private sector, seconded by the government, must be responsible for providing full or quasi-full capacity likely to reach all children of pre-school age, through taking appropriate measures and procedures that help cover this category of children.

The state’s ambitions to provide services for children with disabilities were very high. However, there are many groups that do not enjoy any service or receive some services that are not of the required quality.

In the nineties, the public sector stressed children related high quality programs; the most important achievements, since 1990, are:

First: educational area

  1. Establishing a Kindergarten Development Unit. It is concerned with the execution of special training programs for Kindergartens’ workers, with the help of national trainers cadre. Between 1993 and 1999, the Unit held 11 long seminars, in which participated 107 kindergarten teachers; and 11 short seminars, attended by 133 women trainees. The total number adds up to 22 seminars and 240 women trainees.
  2. Creating a committee elaborate the first national kindergarten curriculum in the State of Bahrain
  3. Second: Health area

  4. Declining infant and mother mortality rate and increasing vaccination rates
  5. Improving the level of health care agents in all children check-ups, through permanent training.
  6. Drawing up and modernizing children related special plans and strategies for health care workers.
  7. Developing child and mother health records
  8. Conducting researches to provide important data for the establishment of a database on child and mother.
  1. Basic education

The educational policy, stressing the main directives to develop education in the country, is a sign of the State ambition to achieve the provisions embodied in the Universal Declaration on Education for All. The Ministry of Education has reviewed its previous orientations, fixed the future challenge and expectations, then proposed development orientations’ priorities, that can be summarized, concerning, "Education for All", in the following:

  1. Identity and citizenship: this orientation insists upon providing the citizen with full, enriching hi personality, reinforcing his understanding of his role is society, deepening his respect to the heritage of his country and humanity as a whole, as well as the safeguarding of the environment in all its aspects and components and consolidation seriousness and engagement spirit within him.
  2. Improving educational acquirements’ level: This orientation consistency of the aforementioned goals and defines the acquirements’ level, by perfecting the main subjects ( Arabic, Mathematics, Sciences and English). It, also, insists upon opening development of teaching practices and learning process, amelioration curricula, so that they become effective and direct students to acquire a qualitative education, comparable with the best international levels
  3. Educational and school administration: The most important focus in this orientation is the improvement of performance level of both educational and school administration. The objective is to activate their role in improving the schools’ productive capacity, as well as, to activate the educational and administrative follow up supervising roles to orient and sustain all effective practices.
  4. The Home-school –society relation: This orientation stresses the interdependence and close relation among these three entities ‘roles. The objective is to promote and consolidate the teaching learning process and to make school become the center for raising awareness with the participation of society members.
  5. Life-long vocational training and development for workers:This orientation insists upon the apprenticeship, the application of life long teaching –learning strategy. It aims for encouraging in-school training, so that it comes from the of the school workers’ real needs.
  6. Educational researches: This orientation confirms the importance of educational researches, as a means for diagnosis and therapy and a way modernize and develop all educational process elements and aspects. This trend invites to benefit from and research results and recommendations, encourage researchers, and cooperate with research centers inside and outside of the country.
  7. Quantitative Expansion: This orientation is In conformity with the Universal Declaration on Education for All, because it invites to provide education opportunities for all school age children, reduce educational waste rates and eradicate illiteracy.

Therefor, all measures and procedures have been taken to achieve all these orientations through action plans and target priorities. Financial resources did not hinder the achievement of the stated goals, for these latter are both ambitious and realistic, facilitating, thus, the execution of ameliorative programs and projects, especially the diffusion of "class teacher " system expected to happen by school year 1999/2000 A.D. In fact, this system will be diffused, by the aforementioned year, to all primary schools, except one for the inadequacy of its building. Remain the primary and preparatory schools, having first module classes, which will only see this system applied by 2003/2004 A.D.

The Ministry ambition, to obtain better outcome from basic education, caused the concerned parties to develop the educational evaluation system that insists upon the perfection principle, work towards achieving the best level of capabilities assigned for each basic education class and module, with stress made on the outcome of the first module. This way, school drop-out rate will decline in primary education, as well as in other educational stages. This does not mean that the numbers of students who pass to the third module ( preparatory stage ) were low, during the last concerned years or before, but it is possible to say that the majority of primary students pass to the third basic education module, and the remaining numbers, represent a small percentage only of the global sum of school drop-out, representing less than 0,2% for 1997/1998 A.D. school year

Also among the state ambitious plans providing care and rehabilitation for children with special needs: special centers work, relentlessly, towards increasing children potentials, supplying them with knowledge and preparing those who possess appropriate abilities for enrolling in regular schools and classes. In fact, some of these children have entered regular schools. The state’s plan is to continue expanding the application of this integration experience of children with special in regular schools and classes.

The state has, constantly, worked for preparing staff and increasing their competence, through different training programs, as well as programs and seminars that are directed to fathers and mothers aiming for raising awareness and deepening methods to deal with disabled children

  1. Adult literacy
  2. The state’s plan was very ambitious, as for achieving literacy training in Bahrain by the year 2000 A.D. But, because of reluctance and drop-outs faced by literacy programs during the recent years, these ambitious were not fully achieved and illiteracy still attains 5% of age-grade ranging (between 10 and 44 years ). Literacy training plans were strongly supported by all parties. The State provided all implementation requirements; such as material and facilities for students, so that the programs succeed in achieving the desired target.Therefore, results were satisfying.

    The State represented, by the Ministry of Education, tried and still is trying to find new formulas for adult education, that go along with developments and changes that take place on both local and international levels. Concerning literacy level, the state was able to prepare special books: it reviews, constantly, its plans and always modifies other books, so that they meet the learners’ needs. For the follow up level, modifications, through additions or deletions, take place to cope with the learners’ possibilities and capacities on this level.Capacity building related books and courses are also subject to modifications.

    As to teachers’ training, the ministry insists on two kinds: first a training comprehending the new orientations, with new modifications on books and courses. A second training encompassing teaching and educational strategies that match with adult needs. These seminars vary in number and duration They are designed to meet the needs of all those who work in literacy field such as directors, supervisors and teachers.

    2.3 Major current or expected problems

    The levels reached by qualitative and quantitative educational indicators, as mentioned in the previous part, firmly confirms that the State of Bahrein pays close attention to the educational process, knowing that education is the basic pillar of the society and economy. Despite the achievements made during the 90s, to meet Education for All goals, the state still has lots of challenges to overcome with competence and efficiency. Among these challenges are the following:

  3. Early child care and development
  1. Services provided by private and civil community institutions in this field are not free of charge. Therefore, they do not cover all target group, especially children between 3 and 5 years, which hinders the process of preparing children for primary education. Furthermore, many kindergartens, having undertaken another role than that of preparing children for primary schools, have had a profound impact, in not achieving the high qualification required from kindergartens’ role.
  2. The majority of kindergarten teachers are secondary degree holders. The Ministry of Education has started to overcome this problem through organizing special on service seminars for teachers. The kindergarten diploma program, established at Bahrein University, contributed to, partly, resolve this problem. However, the problem, still, exists, because the annual number of trained teachers is still insufficient, due to limited available resources, compared with those required for receiving a greater number of trainees. But, it is expected to train all kindergarten teachers, especially until the issuance of private educational institutions related code and conditions for recruiting skilled kindergarten teachers.
  3. Lack in budget allocations has been and still is one of the enormous obstacles, preventing from expanding service provision for disabled children, As mentioned before, many of disabled children categories necessitate more services, of high quality, meeting their needs and enabling a disabled child to efficiently integrate in society. There is also a need for insuring specialized and trained staff, to provide services and rehabilitate disabled children according to the disability case.
  1. Basic education

The state of Bahrain faces major challenges in various fields concerning economic developments, accelerated demographic growth, as well as the relentless progress that occurs in modern technology, science, media and communications; not to mention the problems and challenges spread in the social and cultural fields. Therefore it is only natural that this situation brings about education related problems in Bahrain, and more specifically, on basic education level. Herein below a brief review of some problems the state faces in ensuring education for all:

  1. Population growth and its effects on education: According to the 1991 census in Bahrain, the number of people in the age-grade 6-11 years was 62436. Population growth was 2% according to the 1997 estimates, the number of people in the same age-grade was 712000. These figures undoubtedly reflect an education related growth, which inflicts clossal charges on the state. In spite of the difficult economic situation, which reigns all over the world, the state has to meet the educational requirements, such as building new schools, adding various equipments and employing qualified educational and administrative staff
  2. High cost of school buildings and the obstacles to ensuring adequate sites: During the last decade, the state of Bahrain witnessed a radical modernization, which affected all the educational system elements and stages. Such change required the school to modernize its buildings in order to meet modernization needs by adding various educational facilities (such as learning sources centers, laboratories and multidisciplinary halls) among other educational facilities that should answer the needs of each stage. The cost of all these modernizations was high. Therefore, the concerned governmental bodies gave great importance to examine appropriate alternatives, to reduce the school buildings cost and benefit from the international expertise and experience in this field.
  3. The state made many efforts in order to meet the educational needs; such as building large schools able to receive an increasing number of students, resulting from the population growth, to cope with the qualitative evolution of education and to meet it’s requirements. These efforts were undermined by a series of difficulties like finding suitable sites in old areas to build schools according to the school buildings standard size. Moreover some schools in the ancient areas lack sport playgrounds and rooms for educational activities because of their small space.

  4. Lack of finance: The lack of finance in the educational sector, is reflected in the basic education’s curricula, means and staff. This inefficiency causes also constant structural dysfunction in the educational situations.
  5. High labour allocations and its impact on education: 80% of the education budget which is a high percentage is allocated for the educational labor force. This percentage has many repercussions on the size and quality of educational programs susceptible to serve development. Therefore, the Ministry of Education is looking for appropriate alternatives to finance some educational programs
  6. Lack of comprehensive researches and studies that evaluate ameliorative programs and diagnose work cycle related problems: In spite of the efforts made to elaborate studies and researches in general, the educational system in Bahrain still lacks many studies and researches to evaluate educational programs in all educational stages These researches should diagnose the work cycle related problems in order to find appropriate solutions to the educational throttles, concretize ambitions and educational trends towards modernization and development and make sure the educational experiences and innovations are efficient. The lack of such studies is due to the limited human and financial resources.
  7. Educational waste: school failure and dropouts: the educational system in the State of Bahrain, faces a school failure and dropout related problem. But this phenomenon does not reach a significant rate, in comparison with other countries. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education endeavors to eliminate these two phenomena. In order to achieve this goal, the Ministry tries to identify, analyze, treat and solve the reasons leading to school failure and dropout. To this end, the Ministry began, in 1995, to apply an ameliorative system for Educational evaluation in basic education. Moreover, in 1999, new materials were introduced to examination and evaluation system. These improvements aim for putting an end to the educational waste problem and thereby ensuring "education for all. The following are the most important elements of the above mentioned articles:
  1. Providing part time lessons at schools, for the students who fail one subject after having repeated the year for the second time. These lessons will be given at school at a specific time of the morning hours, with the cooperation of parents
  2. Allowing the student, who repeats the sixth primary year for the next time or any of the preparatory stage classes, and who fails only one subject, to follow the part time system classes at school, according to a special timetable, in coordination with his tutor
  3. The student who repeats any of the preparatory stage years, for the next time and fails two or three subjects, should follow morning or evening lessons, under the supervision of the Adult Education Department. A special program of study, that concentrates on support and treatment, will be elaborated, to enable the student to study the subjects he has failed. Such students have the right to present the examination the school holds for the first and second classes and to present the examination the ministry holds for the third preparatory class in the subjects he has failed. The student who passes those examinations can attend regular classes at school and obtain the preparatory certificate, if he is in school age.
  4. Allowing each student of the above categories to join one of the following programs: Capacity building level for adult education, in order to obtain the equivalence of the preparatory stage certificate; Vocational training program in order to obtain the vocational training certificate; Long distance learning in order to obtain the preparatory stage certificate through the Examination Body.
  5. Giving the student who fails more than three subjects in one of the preparatory stage years, for the second time, the right to join the capacity building level of adult education, or the long distance learning through the Examination Body
  1. Adult Literacy:
  2. The recent years have witnessed a problem related to dropout of Adult Education Centers, especially, among women learners also refrained from joining literacy training, in spite of the availability of centers able to receive all learners, meet all the learning requirements and provide facilities. The size and percentage of illiteracy in Bahrain is not worrying at all. On the contrary, illiteracy has known a tangible decline, as shown in a previous part of this report. Yet, the low illiteracy rate still affects social and economic life in the country and the illiterate are deprived from vital services as well as jobs that the literate can enjoy.

    Another problem is the decline of the State revenues all over region. This decline produced a negative effect on the application of some plans, especially that, some of these issues could last for a long time.

    One of the new problems, that could hinder both efforts and expected goals, is the replacement of experienced teachers in adult education fields by new teachers. This direction aims for employing the largest number of unemployed educators, searching for a job. In fact, this category of teachers needs several and various training courses. Two main themes of these courses are how to deal with adult learners and to identify their needs. Job insecurity of teachers, due to temporary and part time jobs, is also one of the problems that could affect adult education in the concerned centers. In consequence, the usefulness as well as the output of the training programs will be limited and their utility disproportionate to the extended efforts.

    Both reluctance to join the educational centers and dropouts may be due to the traditional and academic curricula and lessons taught to the adult learners. This way of teaching does not meet the adult needs and requirements nor correspond to their tendencies.

    2.4 Public awareness, political will and national capacities:

  3. Early childhood: care and development:
  4. Many authorities in the State of Bahrain such as ministries and associations are concerned with early childhood care. These authorities participate in providing help and support for early childhood care programs. Yet goals need to be unified while services and the level of services provided, according to the concerned kind of childhood care, are to be coordinated.

    As for ensuring organized systematic programs to early childhood development, through kindergartens, the global demand of individuals associations and children’s families for opening new kindergartens, as shown in the previous part of this report, has risen. In response to this increasing demand, the state fully supports and encourages individuals and civil community associations to open more kindergartens in order to receive all those in the concerned age-grade.

    The women associations’ kindergartens and nurseries are distinguished by a financial resources advantage, which are the principal motor of their role. However, since 1996, the financial support, provided for this role, such as main spending on electricity, maintenance, among other services, have been suspended. Currently, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs issued new criteria, defining the kind of support to associations’ projects. These associations include kindergartens, nurseries and children’s institutions.

    As for providing care for children with special needs, both support and global demand for such care are constantly increasing. The society is increasingly carrying financial and moral support to this category of children. The financial support takes place through individuals and private sector funds which go to the services and specialized centers that take care of children with special needs. Moral support includes accepting and increasing awareness of the rights of people with special needs, as a category for whom services should be provided, in order to enable its members to play an efficient role in society. The society should also admit that the disabled people have the right to work and to enter several work fields.

    The government is extending huge efforts to broaden the scope of necessary care and service provision for those with special needs by: improving the services provided by its sub-institutions; encouraging the private sector to participate in ensuring such services to this category of people’ opening specialized centers run by the government; encouraging the private sector to participate in financing service provision; issuing special laws designed to protect those with special needs.

    In fact, this field was reinforced by the voluntary action of the private sector and its increasing role in providing services for children with special needs. This participation enhances and guarantees the continuity of such services. It is worth mentioning that the private sector is playing a more important role in this field, because its awareness of the necessity of financing special projects meeting the needs of this category has risen. Yet, financing and permanent training problems are considered to be, as mentioned before a weakness that hinders wor in this area.

  5. Basic education
  6. Bahrainee citizens are highly aware of the necessity of education; the demands on registration, in due time, only prove this awareness. In fact, enrolment rate in the first primary class was 95% in 1997/98, which is internationally, recognized as a high percentage. The State commitment towards attaining basic education national goals was translated by encouraging investment in private education, answering all the needs of the private educational institutions, in addition to granting regular and increasing financial aid to education in general, and, in particular, basic education at public schools.

    In addition to this financial aid, the government declared and still declares, in many occasions, that education is the key to human development and the foundation of the State future. This point of view reflects the State awareness, interest and commitment to promote basic education, for it is the cornerstone of all the following educational stages.

  7. Adult literacy

The cooperation between the Ministry of Education and the public and private institutions was crowned by a decision to form a Mational Committee for Literacy. This cooperation took many forms: financial institutions and companies supported the National Fund for Literacy and different parties information media and awareness campaigns. The new directives, adopted by the Ministry of Education, in order to ensure education for all, enhanced the participation of numerous public and private institutions in the efforts aiming for achieving literacy during the target period, by the National Committee for Literacy. Many public and private institutions reacted and plan to give its employees literacy training classes, relying on themselves or on the resources coming from the Ministry of Education or on the National Committee for Literacy. Voluntary associations and clubs actively participated in this field.

Literacy Fund, that receives contributions to support literacy training programs, is the concrete example of a trend to mobilize additional resources in order to ensure education for all and improve its quality. Nevertheless the above mentioned problems (dropouts –reluctance) persist. In fact, there is a pressing need for women’s associations and regular schools to launch a serious awareness raising campaign, by carrying out field studies in the school areas. Such studies aim for determining the educational level, reckoning illiterates, convincing them to overcome illiteracy and cooperating with governmental bodies in organizing the process of literacy process.

2.5 General evaluation of progress

The results of both internal and external evaluation of progress in education for all, in the state of Bahrain, show the need for:

  1. Finding new ways to finance education; investing in the different human sectors; encouraging the private sector; making use of the available resources in a rational way, in order to ensure basic education for children and adults.
  2. Paying close attention to basic education quality, which calls for reform the educational systems, curricula, goals and performance; improving the teaching practices and the learning process; enhancing the interest in solving problems; enabling the students to comprehend learning ways and to profit from the information sources.
  3. Creating systems, based on efficient indicators, to assess teaching performance and quality; evaluate the school achievement; elaborate comparative studies and researches on teaching achievement in basic qualifications and life skills.
  4. Realizing an optimal profit of the communication and information techniques, enhancing educational quality and quantity and expanding the educational process to the largest scale.
  5. Giving priority to literacy and a special attention to women; modernizing; literacy and adult education programs, in order to make them a key element in both professional and social life.

A 1997 report proposed replacing the present curricula and changing the literacy programs into functional education ones. These programs are more stimulating and attractive to adult learners and are supposed to increase the interest of the concerned people in literacy training In the light of this evaluation, the Ministry of Education started to consider new teaching methods to adopt by the adult education centers and elaborated many programs that suit the age-grade of those who, usually, join the centers in the afternoon. These plans were structured in a way to meet specified requirements and goals of the registered learners. Some of them were applied, while others are still waiting for a decision from the decision makers.

Several amendments were made to curricula and subjects, some themes were replaced by others that seem more beneficial. Furthermore, subjects, courses and curricula were adapted to the real teaching days of each semester, in order to give all the subjects in a balanced way. As for teachers’ training program, it is one of the annual programs, designed to meet teachers’ needs and to acquaint them with the most information concerning the adult learners, amended and developed subjects, teaching practices used with adults, among other questions related to teaching and learning process.

One of the most beneficial programs to the learners, is the family education program designed for mothers. This program essentially, based on employees education, attained several aims and was adapted to the adult cultural, practical and educational needs. Moreover, it contributed, especially, to reinforcing the acquirements of the mothers, who have finished the literacy level, on one hand, and preventing any potential return to illiteracy on the other hand.

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