The island country of Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, is known primarily for its small size and successful finance industry. However, Bahrain also has a progressive and highly valued education system. Here at 10 facts about education in Bahrain:
- Bahrain’s public school system was founded in 1932 and is the oldest in the Arabian Peninsula. The average person in Bahrain will receive 6.1 years of education.
- While Bahrain has a number of private schools, public education in Bahrain is free until secondary school for both boys and girls. Education is also compulsory for kids aged 6-14.
- The majority of the country, 95.7 percent, is literate. Bahrain also has the highest female literacy rate, 93.5 percent, in the Arabian Peninsula.
- Bahrain does not spend much on education relative to other countries. Approximately 2.6 percent of the country’s GDP goes toward education costs, meaning Bahrain ranks 153 out of 173 countries on education spending.
- Prior to the 20th century, Quranic schools, which were dedicated primarily to Qur’an studies, were the only type of school in Bahrain.
- Education in Bahrain is changing in order to better prepare students for careers. The country is splitting secondary education into two tracks, unified and vocational. The unified track is aimed more at university preparation while the vocational track is meant to prepare students for technical careers directly after finishing school.
- In Bahrain, girls are educated at roughly the same rate as boys. Approximately 97 percent of girls and 98 percent of boys are enrolled in primary school, while 91 percent of girls and 87 percent of boys attend secondary school.
- Approximately 25.2 percent of Bahrainis will go on to post-secondary education. Of these students, the majority are women, as Bahrain has one of the highest university gender parity indexes at 2.52.
- Despite women receiving roughly equal education to men in Bahrain, the number of women in the workforce is low. Only 32 percent of women aged 15 and above are in the workforce, compared to 85 percent of men. This is significantly lower than the rest of the world, as globally 52 percent of women are active in the workforce.
- Many Bahraini students participate in exchange programs, such as the U.S. government’s Student Leaders Program, a summer program where Bahraini university students study at U.S. universities.
Despite Bahrain’s small size, high literacy rates, mandatory schooling and a push for higher education reveal how education in Bahrain is continuing to strengthen and grow.
– Alexi Worley