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Education and Schools

Bahrain - Education and Schools

As well as the public education system offered in Bahrain, there are forty-eight private and religious schools. Among these is the Bahrain International School, operated and accredited by the United States. It offers classes from primary through to secondary school. Bahrain is home to St. Christopher's which is claimed to be one of the world's eight best international schools.

If parents decide to educate their child in the state system, they should be aware that they must visit the Ministry of Education offices for all the information about availability, procedures and qualifications. You may wish to send your children to a state school, to help teach them the local culture however, parents should be aware that if you are a non-Muslim family, you might not be allowed to access state schools in Bahrain. Even for those who are Muslim, local Arab children will likely have priority over foreigners.

The state school curriculum is entirely Arabic-based which might prove to be an obstacle. The English language is only taught as a foreign language. Although it is relatively easy for very young children to learn new languages, parents should consider how much they will be able to assist their children, in view of the language barrier.

Due to the large communities of expatriates, private schools are common in Bahrain. Most of them are run and managed for English-speaking western expatriates, however many local families decide to send their children to these private schools. This could be due to the common belief that the standard of education might be better and also because of the international importance of the English language.

The educational standards in private schools are generally quite high, as they are comprised of smaller class sizes and held in modern facilities. Most private schools offer tuition to children from pre-school groups all the way through to university entrance examinations such as British A levels or the international Baccalaureate. Applications to private schools should be made as early as possible as some have waiting lists. Parents may also have to provide recent school reports or a letter of appraisal from a former head teacher.

There are also many voluntary operated infant schools, kindergartens and play groups which allow mothers who are not working the opportunity to socialise.

Because there are many different types of schools in Bahrain, offering different curricula to children, school hours and holidays may vary although typically school days run from Sunday to Thursday. The cost of private schools can be high - however, in some cases the fees will be paid by your employer as part of your contract. It is essential to be aware of the cost of private schooling to ensure that what might start off as a manageable expense does not escalate into a major financial strain.

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