Quality Assurance related to secondary education in the Kingdom of Bahrain

  • Khaled Ahmed Almadani

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Quality assurance in schools and in higher education has been a growth industry for many years, with all kinds of agencies being funded. With apparently endless growth in education at all levels, with insistent demands on more resources, the political pressures in ensuring value for money have increased. This study explores the perceptions of teachers, students and senior administrators of
    quality assurance in secondary schools (ages about 15-18 in Bahrain) in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Here, there is an established system of quality assurance but there is a general feeling of unrest that all is not well in the way quality assurance has developed.The overall aim is to enhance quality assurance in Bahrain, based on sound pedagogical evidence. This study provides an overview of quality assurance in secondary schools in Bahrain with the teachers, students and senior staff. This aims to look at the way secondary education is offered in Bahrain, to explore possible ways to enhance educational provision and, where possible, to look for any evidence that Quality Assurance has improved quality.This study has aimed to gain an overall view of what is happening in secondary education in Bahrain and to identify areas which need further attention. The approach has been very much focussed on the learner.
    The first experiment seeks to find out how some key stakeholders see present provision in secondary education (ages 15-18) in Bahrain. The aim is to gain an overview of perceptions and to identify areas where there are issues to be addressed. This study describes two surveys which were conducted with 793 students and 793 teachers related particularly to their perceptions. 23 senior staff in the Ministry of Education and Quality Assurance Authority in Kingdom of Bahrain were also interviewed individually in order to gain more information about their perceptions of quality assurance in the Kingdom. It is very evident that the pictures painted by the students, their teachers and those in educational leadership are very different. In particular, the educational leadership stand
    out in offering very different perspectives. It is, therefore, obvious that there is little shared agenda other than an overall wish for educational quality, but what is meant by this is not even clear. There is a clear message that the educational leadership needs to consult and listen more to teachers and students if any shared agenda is to be reached. Perhaps, the teachers have a better insight into reality while the students must take a central role in that the schools are there for their benefit. Several issues stood out from the surveys but two were followed up in this study. The first is that there is considerable disquiet about national assessment (which controls inschool assessment practices). The second is that the students want to move away form the teacher-centred lecture approach to have opportunities to work in groups and discuss.
    In the light findings of these findings, the examination marks for a sample of 7022
    students in their final year of school was gained. The data were considered descriptively as well as being analysed using Factor Analysis. It was readily apparent that there are major issues to be addressed and that was perhaps what the students were drawing attention to in the surveys. Firstly, the examination papers are far too easy, with little opportunity for students to show their abilities. Secondly, the factor analyses showed that all the subject examinations merely tested one skill, a scrutiny of papers showing
    that was recall. In order to explore the potential role of group working in schools, a sample of 817 students in three age-groups in secondary school undertook a short series of short group-work problem solving exercises in one subject discipline. Student performance as well as their reactions were measured. It was found that there were some advantages in understanding arising from the use of such units but the effects were not universally beneficial for all of the units used. Student reactions tended to be positive but not overwhelmingly so.
    The main findings revealed that there is a major lack of consistency and shared
    understanding between those who take the decisions in education (and the
    documentation they generate) and the realities of what goes on in schools (as reflected by teachers and learners). There is a need to focus on the learners, their experiences, their achievements and their needs as they move out into higher education or the workplace. There is a need to widen the range of skills being assessed and to develop resources to enable these skills to grow. Above all, the role of quality assurance in Bahrain has to be one that empowers the teachers rather that inspects them and criticises, often on matters over which teachers have no control.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsMinistry of Education, Kingdom of Bahrain
    SupervisorNorman Reid (Supervisor)


    • Quality Assurance
    • Education
    • Kingdom of Bahrain

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