In 2004 King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa introduced a project that uses Information Communication Technology (ICT) to support K-12 education in Bahrain. This project is named King Hamad Schools of Future. The objective of this project is to connect and link all schools within the kingdom with the internet.
Bahrain also encourages institutions of higher learning, drawing on expatriate talent and the increasing pool of Bahrain Nationals returning from abroad with advanced degrees. The University of Bahrain has been established for standard undergraduate and graduate study, and the King Abdul Aziz University College of Health Sciences; operating under the direction of the Ministry of Health, trains physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and paramedics. The national action charter, passed in 2001, paved the way for the formation of private universities. The first few private universities were Ahlia University situated in Manama and University College of Bahrain, Saar. In 2005, The Royal University for Women (RUW) was established. RUW is the first private, purpose-built, international University in the Kingdom of Bahrain dedicated solely to educating women. The University of London External has appointed MCG as the regional representative office in Bahrain for distance learning programs. MCG is one of the oldest private institutes in the country. Institutes have also been opened which educate Asian students, such as the Pakistan Urdu School, Bahrain, the Indian School, Bahrain.
In 2008 a new Bahrain Polytechnic opened on the University of Bahrain's old campus location at Madinat Isa.
Bahrain had three additional institutions of higher education in 1993. The College of Health Services, established in 1976, offers various medical technology and nurses' training programs. The Hotel and Catering Training Centre offers post-secondary vocational courses in management and culinary arts. The newest institution, the Arabian Gulf University (AGU), was established outside Ar Rifaa in 1984 and funded by the six member countries of the GCC. Construction of AGU facilities, however, was delayed by the decline in oil revenues experienced by all GCC states in the mid-1980s. The first faculty, the College of Medicine, opened in the fall of 1989 and provided medical education for fifty-eight aspiring physicians. The projected completion date for the AGU campus is 2006; officials anticipate that AGU will accommodate 5,000 students annually, once the university becomes fully operational.
The AGU campus has been completed to contain a faculty of medicine, faculty of agriculture and recently, Princess Jawhara of Saudia Arabia donated a centre for molecular biology & inherited disorders, which was built right across the street from the campus to encourage the development of regional research in this issue.
Further liberalisation of the education sector has occurred in Bahrain. New private universities are sprouting up by the day, which has led to a low standard of education in some of these private establishments. This low standard has led to the establishment of a quality assurance body that places under scrutiny all the programs offered by each university and currently there are 10 private universities that are warned to adjust their situation or face being shut down.
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