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(This entry on Bahrain incorporates the Re.ViCa/VISCED page on Bahrain.)

Original Re.ViCa entry by Paul Bacsich; updated to VISCED level by Nikos Zygouritsas

The report on Open Educational Resources in Bahrain, by Manal Al Marwani, is currently on a separate page - OER in Bahrain - which updates and expands the report below

>> full PDF version of this report is at Media:OER_in_Bahrain.pdf

Policies Survey notes:

Bahrain has a digital learning repository hosting OER that encourages content-sharing and collaboration and reports on using CC licences.

Partners and experts in Bahrain


Bahrain in a nutshell

(sourced from the Wikipedia page)

Bahrain, in full the Kingdom of Bahrain (in Arabic: مملكة البحرين ‎, transliteration: Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn, literally Kingdom of the Two Seas) is an island country in the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway. Qatar is to the south across the Gulf of Bahrain. The planned Qatar–Bahrain Friendship Bridge will link Bahrain to Qatar as the longest fixed link in the world.

Bahrain has an estimated population of 1,200,000 and its capital is Manama. Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy headed by the King, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; the head of government is the Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalīfa bin Salman al Khalifa, who presides over a cabinet of twenty-three members. In a region experiencing an oil boom, Bahrain has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world. Bahrain also has the freest economy in the Middle East according to the 2006 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal, and is twenty-fifth freest overall in the world. In Bahrain, petroleum production and processing account for about 60% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of both oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems. In 2008, the jobless figure was a 3.8%, but women are over represented at 85% of the total. Bahrain in 2007 became the first Arab country to institute unemployment benefits as part of a series of labour reforms instigated under Minister of Labour, Dr. Majeed Al Alawi.

The official religion of Bahrain is Islam, which the majority of the population practices. However, due to an influx of immigrants and guest workers from non-Muslim countries, such as India, Philippines and Sri Lanka, the overall percentage of Muslims in the country has declined in recent years. According to the 2001 census, 80% of Bahrain's population was Muslim, 10% were Christian, and 10% practiced other religions.

Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, though English is widely used. Another language spoken by some of the local inhabitants of Bahrain is a dialect of Persian which has been heavily influenced by Arabic. Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, Tamil and Tagalog are occasionally spoken amongst the domestic workers, housemaids and construction workers.

Bahrain has transformed into a cosmopolitan society with mixed communities; two thirds of Bahrain's population consists of Arabs. A large contingent of people of Iranian descent as well as immigrants and guest workers from South Asia and Southeast Asia are present. A Financial Times article published on 31 May 1983 found that "Bahrain is a polyglot state, both religiously and racially. Leaving aside the temporary immigrants of the past ten years, there are at least eight or nine communities on the island".

Bahrain is split into five governorates. These governorates are:

  1. Capital
  2. Central
  3. Muharraq
  4. Northern
  5. Southern

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Bahrain.

Education in Bahrain

For a general description of education in Bahrain see Education:Bahrain.

Education in Bahrain is compulsory, and all the school age children attend either in public or private schools. Severely retarded children attend special institutions as mentioned in Special Education. The Ministry of education in Bahrain provides free education for all Bahraini and non-Bahraini students in public schools. Education in public schools is not coeducation; i.e. there are separated schools for boys and others for girls comprise students, teaching and administrative staff of same sex. But there are some public boys primary schools where the teaching and administrative staff are females.

Coeducation is applied in private schools, although few of them have separated schools for boys and girls. Coeducation is also applied at the university level in Bahrain. The Directorate of Curricula at the Ministry of Education provides textbooks in every subject for all students in public schools free of charge at the beginning of each academic year. Textbooks are generally written locally by curricula specialists and university faculties in Bahrain. They are printed and produced locally at the government, commercial or Educational Technology Center press. The textbooks for private education are determined by each private school that complies with the Ministry's criteria.

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Bahrain.

Schools in Bahrain

(sourced from

1919 marked the beginning of the modern public school system in Bahrain when Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifia School for boys was opened in Muharraq. In 1926, the Education Committee opened the second public school for boys in Manama, and in 1928 the first public school for girls was opened in Muharraq.

In addition to British intermediate schools, the island is served by the Bahrain School (BS). The BS is a United States Department of Defense school that provides a K-12 curriculum including International Baccalaureate offerings. There are also private schools that offer either the IB Diploma Programme or UK A-Levels. In 2007, St. Christopher's School Bahrain became the first school in Bahrain to offer a choice of IB or A-Levels for students.

Institutes have also been opened which educate Asian students, such as the Pakistan Urdu School, the Indian School, Bahrain, The Asian School, Bahrain and the New Indian School, Bahrain.

Bahrain has the oldest public education system in the Arabian Peninsula. The system was established in 1932 when the government assumed responsibility for operating two preexisting primary schools for boys. Subsequently, separate facilities for girls and various secondary programs were established. Since the 1970s, education has been one of the largest current government expenditures. Despite the intensity of government efforts, however, the literacy rate for adult citizens was only about 75 percent as recently as 1985. The literacy rate for 1990 was estimated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to be 77 percent for adults (82 percent for males and 69 percent for females). Nevertheless, literacy levels among Bahrainis born since independence in 1971 were high because an estimated 70 percent of primary and secondary school-age children attended school.

In the 1986-87 academic year, 88,152 students attended 139 public schools. Education in the public system, which included six-year primary schools, three-year intermediate schools, and three-year secular secondary schools, is free. Students receive supplies, uniforms, meals, and transportation to and from school at no charge. Almost all children in the six- to eleven-year-old age-group attend primary school, and about two-thirds of all twelve- to fourteen-year-olds are enrolled in intermediate schools. However, there was a significant drop-out rate, especially for girls, after the completion of intermediate school. In the 1986-87 academic year, only 41 percent of fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds attended secondary schools.

In addition to the public education system, there are forty-eight private and religious schools, including the United States operated and accredited Bahrain International School, which offers classes from primary school through secondary school. There were 5,000 teachers in 1988, of whom 65 percent were native Bahrainis. Egyptians constituted the largest group of foreign teachers.

Basic Education

Primary Level 
 This level represents the first rungs of the formal educational ladder. It includes the (6-11) years old age group, and lasts for six years. This level is divided into the following two cycles:

  • The first cycle combines the first three grades of primary education. Class-Teacher system is applied in all schools of this cycle. Under this system one teacher teaches all subjects – except English Language, Design and Technology, Music and Physical Education
  • The second cycle combines the upper three grades. A subject-teacher system is applied in this cycle, as a specialized teacher teaches each subject.

The syllabi for the first and second cycles of basic education include the following compulsory core subjects: Islamic education, Arabic language, English language, mathematics, science and technology, social studies, family-life education, physical education, fine arts, songs and music; as shown in the Study Plans in Government Schools. For the evaluation system, the formative evaluation system is applied in the first cycle aiming at reaching the student to master specific competencies of the subjects through a continuous teaching, diagnosis and correction process. The teacher bases on a variety of instruments and methods for evaluation, such as continuous systematic observation, daily training and practicing, planned activities, individual and group projects, and diagnostic and cumulative tests. The percentage of success is 60% of the total mark in each subject In the second cycle all schools apply the above system, the percentage of success in the basic subjects (Arabic and Mathematics) is 60% of the total mark ,while the other subjects is 40%.The students in the first or second cycles have the opportunity to be re-evaluated in case of failure in the basic subject.

Intermediate Level

It is the third cycle of basic education. It is for the students of (12-14) years old, and lasts for three years. The student is admitted to this level upon completion of the sixth grade of primary education. A subject-teacher system is applied in this level; an educationally qualified teacher teaches each subject. The syllabi for the third cycle of basic education include the following compulsory core subjects: Islamic education, Arabic language, English language, mathematics, science and technology, social studies, practical studies, and physical education as shown in the Study Plans in Government Schools.

For the evaluation system, the students are evaluated through systematic observation, daily training and practicing, planned activities, individual and group projects, mid-semester test, and final examination at the end of each semester. Students must attain an overall score at least 50% in each subject matter. If a student fails a subject matter he/she has the right to re-set the examination in accordance with the terms and conditions stated in the evaluation and examination system. If a student fails more than one subject, he/she will have the right to repeat that grade for one time only, with the provision of remedial lessons for him/her. Failures in the intermediate level are allowed to set the examination as external students. Those who pass the examination are awarded Intermediate Education Certificate.
As from the academic year 1999/2000, the above mentioned student evaluation system has been implemented in some of the third cycle grades. The Ministry of Education intends to develop the Intermediate Education comprehensively. An integrated plan is designed in order to achieve the Ministry's vision concerning education for all.

Secondary Education

This level is considered as a continuous to the basic education and a new phase for the student as it prepares him/her for higher education or labour market. It lasts for three years divided into six semesters of three levels. Entry is conditional on obtaining the Intermediate School certificate or its equivalent. 
The credit-hours system is applied in this level that provide broad choices of subjects and courses. It permits students to tailor programs that suit their future goals. In this system, the student has a choice to pursue a science curriculum, a literary curriculum, a commercial curriculum, a technical curriculum, textile and clothing track. The last track is for girls only. Students are able to change tracks depending on the common courses among more than one specialization. The study plan of the secondary level (credit hours system) is based on the total credit hours required to complete secondary education, that are (156) credit hours for scientific, literary, commercial, textile track; and (210) credit hours for technical track. The credit hours are divided into four groups of courses as follows:

  1. Core Courses: They are characterized by the variety, integration, and ensuring a minimum of general knowledge studied by all students. They include a sufficient amount of information, skills, and attitudes that helps the students to continue their study and self-learning. The percentage of core courses out of all the study requirements is 45% for scientific, literary, commercial, textile track and 23.8% for technical track.
  2. Specialized Courses: They are a group of courses that the students must study in one track (as major course). The percentage of specialized courses out of all the study requirements is 39% for scientific, literary and commercial tracks; 64.8% for textile and printed advertisement tracks; and 57.2% for technical track.
  3. Elective Specialized Courses: These courses are directed towards thorough study of a specialized, or that linked to a field of knowledge. The percentage of these courses out of all study requirement is 8% for scientific, literary and commercial tracks; 11.4% for textile track; and 19% for technical track.
  4. Free Elective Courses: The objectives of these courses are to enrich the curriculum, satisfy the students' interests and talent, and achieve the balance and integration between all other core and specialized courses. The percentage of these courses out of all the study requirements is 8% for scientific, literary and commercial tracks.

The daily timetable consists of six periods each of 50 minutes at all secondary schools. The Study Plans in Government Schools show the distribution of the credit hours for each course group required completing secondary education in each track.

Religious Education Religious education takes place at a specialized institute that follows the Ministry of Education. It is for boys only. The system of this type of education is the same as that of general Basic Education and Secondary Education in terms of duration of study and admission age, but it emphasizes on Islamic studies aiming at the preparation of men with an appropriate background in religious affairs. In the light of the development of religious education, a Jafari Religious Institute has been inaugurated in 2002/2003. The curriculum in this institute is similar to the one applied in public schools, except for the Islamic Education, where an Islamic Law (Sharia), according to the Jafari Doctrine has been added. See also

Further and Higher education

In 1927 the first group of Bahrainis to receive a university education enrolled at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. The first institution of higher education in Bahrain, the Gulf Polytechnic, was established in 1968 as the Gulf Technical College. In 1984 Gulf Polytechnic merged with the University College of Art, Science, and Education (UCB), founded in 1979, to create a national university offering bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. During the 1991-92 academic year, more than 4,000 students, half of whom were women, studied at the two campuses of UCB/Polytechnic.

Bahrain had three additional institutions of higher education in 1993. The College of Health Services, established in 1976, offers various medical technology and nurses' training programs. The Hotel and Catering Training Center offers postsecondary vocational courses in management and culinary arts. The newest institution, the Arabian Gulf University (AGU), was established outside Ar Rifaa in 1984 and funded by the six member countries of the GCC. Construction of AGU facilities, however, was delayed by the decline in oil revenues experienced by all GCC states in the mid-1980s. The first faculty, the College of Medicine, opened in the fall of 1989 and provided medical education for fifty-eight aspiring physicians. The projected completion date for the AGU campus is 2006; officials anticipate that AGU will accommodate 5,000 students annually, once the university becomes fully operational.

Numerous international educational institutions and schools have established links to Bahrain. A few prominent institutions are DePaul University, Bentley College, NYIT and Birla Institute of Technology International Centre.

Bahrain also encourages institutions of higher learning, drawing on expatriate talent and the increasing pool of Bahrain Nationals returning from abroad with advanced degrees. The University of Bahrain has been established for standard undergraduate and graduate study, and the College of Health Sciences; operating under the direction of the Ministry of Health, trains physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and paramedics.

The national action charter, passed in 2001, paved the way for the formation of private universities. The first private university was Ahlia University, situated in Manama. The University of London External has appointed MCG as the regional representative office in Bahrain for distance learning programs. MCG is one of the oldest private institutes in the country.

Universities in Bahrain

(sourced from

Public universities and higher education institutions are:

  1. Arabian Gulf University
  2. College of Health Sciences
  3. University of Bahrain

Private universities and higher education institutions include:

  1. Bahrain Polytechnic
  2. Ahlia University
  3. AMA International University
  4. Applied Science University
  5. Arab Open University
  6. Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance
  7. Bentley University (taught by professors from the home campus in Waltham, MA, USA)
  8. University of Wales, Bangor (2 years of study in Bahrain, final year in Bangor, Wales)
  9. Birla Institute of Technology International Centre
  10. Delmon University for Science & Technology
  11. DePaul University (taught by flying faculty)
  12. Gulf University
  13. New York Institute of Technology, Bahrain branch
  14. RCSI-Medical University of Bahrain
  15. Royal University for Women
  16. The Kingdom University
  17. University College of Bahrain

Polytechnics in Bahrain

No information available.

Colleges in Bahrain

No information available.

Education reform

The Bologna Process

No information available.

Administration and finance

Quality assurance, inspection and accreditation

No information available.

Information Society

Internet in Bahrain

Internet in Education

Copyright law in Bahrain

Copyright law in Education

ICT in education initiatives

Virtual initiatives in schools

OER Initiatives in schools

Virtual initiatives in post-secondary education

University of Bahrain

Under the patronage of H.E. Minister of Cabinet Affairs Shaikh Ahmed bin Atiyat Allah Al-Khalifa, the University of Bahrain organised an exclusive international symposium on “the Future of ICT and its Role in Shaping Modern Societies”, on the 3 December 2008. For more see

See also for the Zain eLearning Centre at the University of Bahrain.

Arab Open University

Bahrain has an important regional centre for the Arab Open University.

OER Initiatives in post-secondary education

Lessons learned

General lessons

Notable practices



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