The 2014 Information Technology Crime Law No. 60 defines “Information Technology” as “all forms of technology used to create, process, store, share, use and display information in various formats”.
The MOE Digital Educational Content Guide refers to “e-learning” and defines the following terms:
Digital Educational Content: e-learning content delivered through digital means such as the internet or hard disk drives and can be presented in pictures, videos, or audio.
Digital Learning Object: e-learning content designed to educate a certain subject.
Educational Video: a group of short clips intended for educational purposes.
Educational Website: a group of web pages with educational content available through computers, laptops, and phones.
The 2022 School Reviews Handbook defines “Technological literacy” as “Students’ ability to use technology and technological tools effectively to create, access, manage, refute, critique and disseminate information, with full knowledge of the impact of technological contents on the individual and society.”
Constitution and laws: Article 7 of the 2002 Constitution states that “Education is compulsory and free in the early stages as specified and provided by the law”. Article 2 of the 2005 Education Law No. 27 guarantees that education is a basic right as a confirmation of the constitution.
Policies, plans and strategies: Launched in 2008, the 2030 Economic Vision sets the principles for Bahrain to develop into a world-class nation that can provide its residents with enhanced living standards through “A first-rate education system [which] enables all Bahrainis to fulfil their ambitions” through “adopting the latest technologies”.
The 2015-2018 Government Programme of Action Plan aims to achieve sustainable development in the education sector by fully integrating ICT in learning in the curriculum, developing online educational content, and providing virtual laboratories. It also stressed the importance of training teachers.
The 2018 First Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development Goals demonstrated that the 2005 initiatives: "King Hamad’s Schools of the Future Project"(KHSFP) and the “Digital Empowerment in Education Programme” were an extension of the (KHSFP) initiative. They were aimed to advance the educational system's use of information and communication technology in learning and education, specifically e-learning, in order to expand digital technologies and achieve a knowledge-based society. “The success of HM King Hamad’s Schools of the Future project, completed in 2015, significantly contributed to digital empowerment in Education at schools. Students, teachers, and administrators were trained to use ICT and work with digital educational content and tools”.
The 2019-2022 Government Action Plan builds on prior achievements of the previous action plan and emphasizes the development of the education sector and the adoption of technology in different government bodies.
The 2020 Guide to Introducing Open Educational Resources (OER) is aimed to increase awareness of the OER, emphasizing its division into digital and non-digital content, while simultaneously spreading knowledge of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA). Additionally, the guide sought to encourage the use of CC licenses, fostering sustainable education and promoting global citizenship.
One of the main objectives of the 2019-2022 Ministry of Education Strategy is to increase the number of young people and adults with skills in ICT.
The 2020 Fifth National Telecommunications Plan aims to diversify the economy by expanding its digital economy through all sectors including education “The telecommunications and ICT sector remains an important social enabler, as it provides means of communication with each other and means of access to different social and public services such as health or education”.
Digital competency frameworks: The Education and Training Quality Authority (BQA), established under the Royal Decree No. (32) of (2008), developed the 2021 Handbook for Evaluating the Quality of School Practices During Exceptional Circumstances- Second Edition, a framework that evaluates the use of suitable teaching strategies, educational technology and learning resources.
The 2015 Digital Educational Content Framework and Production Standards Manual was developed to provide technical and content management in digital education.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The MOE announced the closure of all public and private schools starting 26 February 2020, adopting online learning modalities. By 11 October 2020, schools reopened for in-person learning but were suspended again by February 2021. Then it became optional by March 2021.
On September 27 2021, schools reopened fully and an alert system on risk related to different levels of safe school protocols (green, yellow, orange, and red) was put in place as part of an operational plan for in-person, hybrid, or online learning. The UNESCO map on school closures demonstrates that full attendance was in place since March 2022.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The 2019-2022 Government Action Plan aims to install projects that enhance energy infrastructure readiness, efficiency and sustainability of services provided in all public institutions. Though there is no specific mention on schools.
Computers and devices: The 2015-2018 Government Programme of Action Plan includes the provision of technology devices and systems in schools to support students’ learning.
Internet connectivity: The Bahrain government portal states that by 2004 “all schools went online, with Internet provided free of use for students and teachers.”
The Unified Framework for Government Priorities aims to develop schools infrastructure and invest in digital-related schools, equipping teachers to move their educational practices to a digital platform in line with 21st-century teaching methods
Article 1 of the Legislative Decree No. 48 of 2002 promulgating the Telecommunications Law defines “Universal Service” as “the basic public telephone services described in Article 64(c) of this Law of specified quality and at suitable prices which are available to all Users independent of their geographical location”. Article 64 then states, “A Public Telecommunications Operator with Significant Market Power shall be subject to the Universal Service obligations set forth in this Law”. The Universal Access Policy is further explored and addressed in the national telecommunication plans, as the law stipulates. The 2020 Fifth National Telecommunications Plan states that it aims to improve internet connectivity in all sectors.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
The educational portal “EduNET”, which was launched in conjunction with the digital empowerment in Education initiative prior to COVID-19, provides administrative and educational services for all levels of school and acts as a communication tool between educational and administrative bodies, students, teachers and parents. In the portal, the curriculum is found to be fully digitalized and students have access to their lessons and learning resources materials. The all-encompassing digital educational portal now offers all forms of education, including online tests, assignments, and distance learning, without requiring students to visit public institutions to promote "Education from Anywhere”.
The 2018 First Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development Goals states that the Digital Empowerment in Education program includes several initiatives such as: the Safe Use of Technology Project, the Education Portal (eduNET); the Digital Education Content; the Specialized and Qualitative Training , and the Digital educational Tools”.
The 2022 School Reviews Framework sets out the evaluation requirements to be used in the review of all schools in different aspects including technological literacy and innovation “reviewers assess students’ acquisition of technological skills in all educational modes and situations, activities and educational programmes”.
The Ministry of Education includes ICT as a main subject at all school levels. Each grade has its textbook for the subject. At the high school level, ICT is provided in four different courses: Tech 105, Tech211, Tech 931, 932. In these upper courses, students can access model lessons, learning units, examinations, and textbooks. Example topics at this level include basic programming, CSS, HTML, and algorithms. Bahrain also adheres to the 2016 ISTE Standards framework for students.
The Ministry of Education enables all educational staff and students to use the Minecraft application on school or home devices through a special account on the Office365 website. Teachers undergo several training programs on the application of the educational game in the curricula and the educational process.
Teachers integrate the Minecraft educational game and invest its ready-made lessons in applying various STEM concepts, especially in the field of science. The Minecraft educational tool includes resources such as lesson plans, educational programs, and student projects to support educators in integrating the tool into educational curricula and applying the STEM concept. Here are some examples of projects, activities, and lessons:
- STEM Experiments
- Powering Up STEM with Minecraft
- Girls Who Game: Empowering Female Students to pursue STEM with Minecraft
- Teaching STEM with Minecraft at DigiGirlz Austin
- STEMPATHY with Minecraft Education Edition
The 2022 School Reviews Framework assesses teachers’ educational and technological resources used and their effectiveness “Teachers’ demonstration of positive attitudes towards the use of interactive technology and utilising educational resources through using modern technological methods. Such methods might include making use of the internet, digital tools and applications, the different educational platforms in educational situations’ planning, delivery, and activating enrichment activities as well as educational assessment and learning activities.”
Initial training for teachers is provided through Bahrain Teachers College (BTC) which is responsible for teacher preparation and development with the support of the MOE and one of its objectives is to “Orient students towards the use of modern information and communication technology in the teaching and learning process and equipping them with the information and communication technology skills appropriate for the classroom setting”.
The 2017 ICT Training Programmes Policy at the Regional Centre for Information and Communication Technology (RCICT) was developed to support civil employees, including teachers, training on technology and digital skills.
The 2017 Borrowing devices - RCC policy was created to support the training of teachers by providing them with the necessary devices.
The 2021 Online Training Programs Guide provides a catalogue of the in-service training available to all those interested within or outside the Ministry of Education, provided by RCICT.
On the Ministry of Education’s official website, each grade level has an ICT course which includes a Teacher’s Guide at each level of education.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2018 Personal Data Protection Law No.30 is the main data protection regulation in Bahrain applicable to all public and private institutions. The Law aims to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals and their data by a legal framework that defines the methods and means of processing data in a way that gives individuals confidence in all matters concerning their data handled by various entities. “Personal data may not be obtained nor processed without seeking the data subject’s written and explicit consent”. Though no law specifically targeting schools is in place.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The 2014 Information Technology Crime Law No. 60 lists offences considered as cybercrimes including illegal access, data interference, illegal interception and misuse of devices, as well as content-related offences of threats, fraud and child pornography, which are forms of online abuse and cyberbullying. Though no law specifically targeting schools is in place.
The Ministry of Education ensures the provision of high-quality education in schools. It collaborates with the Bahrain Teachers College (BTC) and the Regional Centre for Information and Communication Technology (RCICT) for training in ICT skills. RCICT also supports teachers and students to get professional certificates in cooperation with Microsoft.
Legislative Decree No. 48 of 2002 promulgating the Telecommunications Law states that the Telecommunication and ICT sector aims to support the Kingdom’s digital economy and the development of digital transformation across all sectors including education.
The Education and Training Quality Authority (BQA) was established under Royal Decree No. (32) of (2008) as an independent national authority governed and supervised by the Cabinet of Ministers in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Its role is to “‘review the quality of the performance of education and training institutions in light of the guiding indicators it developed” including the use of technology in schools.
The 2016 Administration Handbook for Schools states that mobile phones are not permitted during examinations.
This profile was reviewed with the support of the Permanent Delegation of Bahrain to UNESCO.