Towards a knowledge-based nation
The fact that Bahrain exports its workforce is a clear sign of a healthy and
education system that has been around from sometime now and clearly earlier than in neighbouring countries. The first university of the region was established in Bahrain in the first half of the
20th Century. The literacy rate of Bahrain stands at almost 100 percent. In
the state's 2-years public budget
for fiscal years 2012-2013 that totalled around BHD 7
billion, 10,6 percent (BHD 114,8M) was allocated to cover housing, health, education, training, social welfare and
cultural services' projects.
Education in Bahrain is free and compulsory for all Bahraini and non-Bahraini students in public schools. There are separated schools for boys and girls with administrative staff of the same sex. But there are some public boys primary schools where the teaching and administrative staff are females. Coeducation is applied in private schools and at the university levels. The number of Bahraini students until secondary level in government institutions stood at around 130 thousand in 2012 with more than half of the teachers being Bahrainis. Bahrain is home to one of the best private schools in the Middle East, St. Christopher’s School and the country has pioneered the introduction of information technology at schools.
Creating a new age of students
In 2004 King Hamad Schools of Future project was launched by King Hamad bin Khalifa Al Khalifa aiming to improve the K-12 education with the introduction of new technologies and connecting all schools in the kingdom.
Following the guidelines of the Economic Vision 2030, the education system has been under review for the last five years and enhanced at different levels with the common objective of creating a knowledge-based economy by 2030. The Economic Vision 2030 is a long-term strategy plan for the future development of Bahrain created with the contributions of both private and public sector. It envisages the enhancement of the education sector and encourages growth in research and development, vital to reach the goals set by the vision. Without a very good education system, there is no vision. Education has to reward ability and merit and has to comply with the highest possible quality standards. It has to be able to identify the needs of the local industries and deliver professionals to grow them and at the same time provide quality training to increase global competitiveness and attract new industries to Bahrain.
As a result, to strengthen the sector the government of Bahrain has adopted a number of initiatives that include the enhancement of the teaching profession; the improvement of Secondary Vocational Education closer to the requirements of the Bahraini economy; the improvement of women education -women today form the majority of university students in Bahrain-; the establishment of the Bahrain Polytechnic to develop practical skills directly applicable to the job market and the creation of an Independent Quality Assurance Authority which is responsible for conducting inspections in all educational institutions and assuring its high level educational standards and for running school level examinations.
Building human capital resources: Tamkeen
In 2006 the state created Tamkeen, Bahrain´s labour fund, to improve the qualifications of the workforce by implementing a series of initiatives such as financing training within the private and public sector and offering different human capital development initiatives. Only in 2012 Tamkeen enabled more than 3,000 Bahrainis to obtain accredited certifications in different sectors. That year alone the number of Bahrainis that benefited from Tamkeen´s human capital programmes increased by 43 percent to 24,000 people.
Tamkeen was established as part of Bahrain’s national reform initiatives and Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, and is tasked with supporting Bahrain’s private sector and positioning it as the key driver of economic development. Tamkeen’s two primary objectives are fostering the creation and development of enterprises, and providing support to enhance the productivity and growth of enterprises and individuals.
A business oriented system
The main programs run by Tamkeen are related to education and include the Tamkeen Professional Certification Scheme which is a BD 2,244,000 professional certification fund created to support Bahrainis in obtaining internationally accredited professional certifications; inJAz and Tamkeen agreement doted with BD362, 000 plans to introduce 1,800 secondary school students over a 3-year period to economic principles and business environment including lectures on the stock Exchange and the Talent Management Programme. Operating since December 2011 and targeting 2,400 employees over a four-year period it is a training programme created to improve the managerial skills of the Bahraini work force with lessons on corporate management, marketing, problem solving or strategic planning at a BHD2, 9M.
Since its inception and particularly in the last few years Tamkeen has become a clear leader in education and training within the younger generation of Bahrainis those which will form tomorrow human resources capital.
In Bahrain population is projected to grow to over 1.5 million by 2020 with 46 percent being Bahraini. The ratio between those outside the labour force to the number in the labour force is expected to decrease from 88 percent in 2008 to 76 percent in 2020 with the Bahraini working age population growing 41 percent by 2020 to cover over 400,000. Almost 80,000 additional Bahrainis will be in the workforce by 2020 in a country that would experience a 19 percent growth in GDP over the coming decade.
Following the above assumptions and reviewing the current status of the higher education in Bahrain, the Higher Education Council launched an investigation in 2012 to inquire on the future needs in Bahrain and concluded that business related programmes and student uptake have saturated higher education in Bahrain and to create a more balanced education biological sciences, dentistry, languages, social sciences, visual arts and communications, music, fashion and textiles, performance and new media, broadcasting and journalism need to be developed and integrated into university offerings.
Our latest investment report on Kuwait was recently published in one of the leading Spanish dailies, ABC. FindMe in Kuwait explores the economic perspectives of Kuwait and the country´s future plans to compete with its fast developing neighbours. Once the leading country of the Gulf, Kuwait has remained silent for the past decade. And although many would like to see faster changes, Kuwait is moving, at its pace, to them. Inexorably. Learn about who is who in Kuwait and read what the leaders say about their own future in our upcoming release: FindMe in Kuwait Mobile app.
Stay tuned - Stay Ahead
Global Gulf Consulting has concluded its latest production on Bahrain, FindMe in Bahrain giving the country a fresh approach after a couple of difficult years of local demonstrations that matched the global recession. Bahrain is a small island in the Arabian Gulf with an incredible potential for logistics, industries and tourism. FindMe in Bahrain was supported by both the public and private sector of Bahrain. Banagas, Nass Corporation, BBK and DHL were GGC strategic partners in the development of the series among others.
FindMe in Bahrain is available at the local bookstores Jashamal and online as well as in the Apple Store. It is a full business leisure and business guide for any investor or visitor interested in traveling to Bahrain or for those that already live there.
FindMe in Saudi offers a multi-faceted overview combining business and leisure, economy and heritage. The book aims to capture the current development of Saudi Arabia in the words of the people who live and work there. It is an authoritative source of information for investors, businessmen and travellers produced to firmly position KSA as an attractive investment destination.
In contains general information about the country´ economic performance and who is who as a sectorial overview and a leisure guide.
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