More than 250,000 students will be back in schools across Bahrain by next Wednesday.
A total of 147,000 students – 73,932 girls and 73,068 boys – return to 210 government schools while their teachers will be back today, after a two-month summer break.
Government school students are each set to receive a BD25 voucher to help them cover back-to-school expenses during induction days at their schools from Sunday to Tuesday.
Around 84,000 students have already started the new academic year in 79 private schools.
Meanwhile, 19,887 children – 16,475 in kindergartens and 3,412 in nurseries, will also start at 250 independent institutions.
The new statistics were revealed by schools affairs director general Dr Mohammed Mubarak Juma at a Press conference in the Education Ministry’s headquarters in Isa Town yesterday.
“We have been closely following up all preparations for the new academic year to ensure that students return swiftly to their classrooms following more than two years of remote education and suspension of numerous in-school activities,” he said.
“The 147,000 government school students will be using 4,893 classrooms – 2,462 for girls and 2,431 for boys, in the 210 schools with each classroom being assigned a teacher.
“There are 84,000 private students who have started the school year at 40 national schools, 38 foreign schools and one community school.
“Also 19,887 children will start education at 158 kindergartens and 92 nurseries.”
Dr Juma added that 3,167 government school teachers have been promoted, 12 new headmasters selected, and nine teachers assigned as acting assistant headmasters.
“For the first time, 11 headmasters have been appointed as regional co-ordinators to help organise and arrange joint educational needs, practices and events.
“There are also 274 new fresh recruits from the Bahrain Teachers’ College who will join us for the first time alongside 11,262 students entering grade one.”
He added that clear instructions have been given not hand out homework to students again this year as students return to school.
“Students will only do assignments and essays in class and home time is for hobbies, relaxation and enjoyment.
“This year we will have the secondary schools’ football league, chess tournament, musical and theatrical competitions, amongst other activities and programmes and students need time to excel in them too.”
Dr Juma pointed out that Covid-19 isolation rooms have now been cancelled and sick teachers or students will get normal days off as in the case of any illness.
“Parents who have already bought stationery can use the coupons for other needs; we have informed the participating stores.”
Meanwhile, under-secretary for policies, strategies and performance Nawal Al Khater said students can either opt to access electronic books from the portal or get a hard copy.
“We need to make education and classrooms fully electronic at some point, but it will take time as studies have shown that children in grade one and two need to be taught how to hold pencils, write and interact with paper,” she added.
“Arguments against the move is that we need to provide electronic equipment and electronic pens for students, which are expensive, and require a huge budget; for now we have printed two million books.
Ms Al Khater added that continuous assessment will be held instead of conducting mid and final year exams.
“There will be quizzes and tests on a monthly basis to ensure that a clear understanding of students’ capabilities, knowledge and skills is reached.
Forty schools received full maintenance and 160 schools received partial maintenance during the summer, in co-ordination with the Works Ministry.
“We have 700 buses for 41,000 students, eight for students with physical disabilities and three for mental disabilities with caretakers,” explained Ms Al Khater.
“There are 18 cleaning firms contracted to clean schools throughout the day.
“We have completed revamp on the first girls school in Bahrain, carried out major maintenance on two dilapidated schools and will open a new one in Hamad Town.”
The issue of developing early education will be reviewed by a consultancy firm, said Ms Al Khater.
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