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Social Trends - Education
Skills around the World: Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain has paid particular attention to the education sector, which is one of the country’s most important areas of development. Bahrain introduced government-sponsored education in 1919, the first country in the Gulf Cooperation Council to do so. The Kingdom has provided every possible support to the sector in order to promote standards and develop its range, including the eradication of illiteracy. Read more.

History of schools in Bahrain

The first public school for boys opened in 1919. The first Committee of Education consisted of several leading merchants, and was presided over by the late Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al-Khalifa - who was popularly known as 'the Minister of Education'. He was also responsible for managing the school.

In 1926, the Education Committee opened the second public school for boys and, two years later, the first public school for girls was opened.

Due to financial and administrative difficulties faced by the Committee of Education, the schools came under direct government control in 1930.

Today, Bahrain is proud of its public schools, where students enjoy a free education, which is compulsory. There are also a number of top-rate, fee-based private schools, offering studies that follow American, British, French, Indian, Urdu and Japanese traditions. From 1995-2000, Bahrain enjoyed the highest literacy rate among Arab countries, according to the United Nations Human Development Report (2001).

Study in the UK

There has been a steady increase in students seeking undergraduate places at UK education institutions. Bahrainis greatly value British qualifications and, as a consequence, the UK is their first choice for study. Changed to The British Council received over 3000 enquiries in 2008/2009 and signed 60 contracts for undergraduate study in the UK.

At present, many Bahraini students require a foundation programme to prepare them for higher education in the UK. The demand for foundation programmes is expected to increase as a result of the growing population and the rise in the number of secondary school graduates seeking an internationally recognised qualification as a route to employment.

Education Statistics

Number of schools: 259:
public: 203
private: 56.
Number of Universities: 16:
public: 2
private: 14.
Number of students in schools: 163,488:
public: 129,110
private: 34,378
male: 83,078
female: 80,410.
Students per thousand population - (Age 6-17): 1,048:
Student per teacher ratio:
public: 11.9
private: 15 - (2006 est.).
Illiteracy rates (Age 10-44) in 2001:
males: 1.36%
females: 4.03%
all: 2.69%.

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