“Investing in people is very important to the future of Bahrain” - His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain, First Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB)
Almost 100 years ago, Bahrain was the first among the current member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to introduce formal education. In 2001, the National Action Charter introduced compulsory basic schooling for children, imposing fines on parents whose children failed to attend. In terms of higher education, the number of students at the eight universities and higher education institutions in Bahrain has increased threefold in the last decade.
The quality of education in Bahrain has been repeatedly recognised in international rankings. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 ranks Bahrain 40th in the world for health and primary education and 55th for higher education and training. Overall the report ranks Bahrain 44th out of 148 countries worldwide1.
The Kingdom also ranked 44th out of 187 countries in the world in the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index. This put Bahrain in the top 25% of countries in the world in the report which assesses health, education and income2.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 20133 noted Bahrain’s vast investments in increasing women’s education levels in the last decades, stating that “the tertiary education enrolment rates for women are higher than those of men4.” The 2014 report also emphasised the high level of political empowerment reached by women in Bahrain, ranking the Kingdom 2nd in the GCC region.
The government is committed to an ongoing programme of developing the system of education in the Kingdom. Recent key initiatives include teacher training programmes, a polytechnic college, the improvement of upper-secondary vocational programmes and a national quality assurance initiative to review and raise the accreditation standards on a continuous basis.
● Bahrain was the first amongst the GCC members to introduce a public education system in 1919
● Compulsory, state-funded education was introduced in 2005
● 11% of total government expenditure is dedicated to education
● Adult literacy rate in Bahrain is 94.6%, among the highest in the region5
● The number of students enrolled at the University of Bahrain has increased threefold in the last decade, with Bahraini women accounting for approximately 70% of students6
● 78% of secondary school graduates go on to earn a bachelor degree7
Educational institutes active in Bahrain include:
|University of Bahrain
|Arabian Gulf University
||Royal University for Women|
||Bahrain Training Institute|
|Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)-Medical University of Bahrain
||Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance - with links to Bangor University, UK|
|Bahrain Teachers College
||Bahrain Institute of Hospitality and Retail|
1World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015
2UNDP, Human Development Report 2014
3World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014
4World Economic Forum, Geder Gap Report 2013
5UNDP, Human Development Report 2014
6World Bank, MENA Gender Report 2007
7Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bahrain Economic Quarterly May 2014