Nurseries and kindergartens will now fall under the jurisdiction of the Education Ministry following a majority vote approving the move by Bahrain’s upper chamber of the National Assembly yesterday.Amendments to the 2012 Child Law aims to elevate early learning in the kingdom, increase monitoring of nurseries and kindergartens as well as further developing the sector.

This shifts the responsibility from Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan and his ministry to Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi and his ministry.The Shura Council’s Woman and Child Committee chairwoman Dr Ibtisam Al Dallal said that the royal decree amending the law aims to strategically enhance early learning policies.“These amendments will unify the framework of early learning establishments while also providing a comprehensive guide for curricula in addition to increasing the quality of services provided,” she said during the council’s weekly session yesterday.“It will also encourage investment in the field while also bolstering the sector in Bahrain on a local, regional and international level in addition to preserving the rights of children for free and mandatory education.

”Dr Al Dallal also added that amendments will enhance the qualifications of early-learning professionals while also preventing an overlapping of duties between the two ministries.Shura Council second vice-chairwoman Jameela Nusaif, who backed the amendments, said it was critical to keep various education services under the jurisdiction of one body to ensure proper implementation, governance, monitoring and accountability.“The monitoring of early learning establishments by the Education Ministry will further enhance the overall quality of education in Bahrain starting with children at early learning,” said Shura Council member Dr Mansoor Sarhan.“It will also facilitate a smooth transition for young children from nursery to primary school while ensuring the tranquility of the transition as well as further elevating the educational field.”Shura Council member Mona Almoayyed, who also backed the amendments, stated that it will encourage investment in the field.Meanwhile, Shura Council member Ahmad Al Haddad also stressed the importance of ensuring that the salaries of women working in the field are readjusted to enhance their living conditions.Council member Fatima Al Kooheji, who highlighted that there are currently 91 nurseries, said that the amendments will also aid in increasing investment and the number of early learning establishments in Bahrain.

Meanwhile, the chamber also unanimously approved amendments to the 2012 Private Sector Employment Law aimed at enhancing gender equality in the workplace while also closing the income gap.The Labour and Social Development Ministry had previously issued three edicts to enhance gender equality at workplaces – banning wage discrimination between male and female workers with the same jobs and similar work conditions, allowing women to work in all industries without restrictions and their employment in all professions that require night shifts.

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