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The public education system in the Kingdom of Bahrain was established in 1930 when the government took over the operations of two pre-existing primary schools for boys, establishing separate facilities for girls soon afterwards.

Prior to the 1900s, Koranic schools, or madrasas, were the only form of education in Bahrain. Ther first academic school in the country was an elementary school established by the American Dutch Reformed Church in 1892. Bahraini merchants enrolled their students in the school, where they learned English, mathematics, and Christianity, until it closed in 1933, reopening the following year as the Al Raja School, which is still in operation.

After World War II, public schools were opened on Bahrain, the first being Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifa Boys School, on the island of Muharraq. A second public boys school was opened in Manama in 1926, and the first public school for girls was established in 1928. Originally funded primarily by merchants, the government took over the functions of the schools in 1930.

Today, school supplies, books, uniforms, meals, and transportation to and from school are paid for by the Bahraini government, and there is no tuition for primary, intermediate, or secondary schools. In practice, nearly all children attend primary school, and about two-thirds of Bahraini children enroll in intermediate school, but there is a high drop-out rate in secondary school, particularly among girls.

Nevertheless, Bahrain has a literacy rate approaching 95%.

In addition to Bahrain's public schools, there are several private, international, and religious schools in Bahrain, some of which primarily serve the children of foreign workers, executives, diplomats, and military personnel residing in Bahrain. Other schools are operated by foreign governments, such as the United States Department of Defense.

The first institution of higher learning in Bahrain was the Gulf Polytechnic, which opened in 1968 as the Gulf Technical College, and merged with the University College of Art, Science, and Education in 1979 to create UCB/Polytechnic. Today, there are other choices as well, such as the University of Bahrain, Bahrain Polytechnic, the College of Health Sciences, the Arabian Gulf University, and some private universities.

Primary, intermediate, and secondary education in Bahrain are regulated by the Bahrain Ministry of Education, while institutions of higher learning are overseen by the Quality Assurance Authority for Education and Training.



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