Monitoring Quality in Arab Higher Education
The Higher Education Council reviews potential licenses to public and private universities. The licenses are formally approved by the Council of Ministers, a presidential-level cabinet.
To get a license, the university has to meet requirements related to financial guarantees, organizational structure, academic programs, faculty and staff, members of the university’s board of trustees, facilities and equipment, the number of students and scientific research. (For details of the regulations, click here.)
The Higher Education Council can cancel licenses anytime if a university does not continue to meet legal requirements. The council has a committee to follow up on universities’ performance.
A separate organization, the Education and Training Quality Authority, is charged with monitoring the quality of education after a license is granted. The authority is an independent agency that carries out its mandate with the guidance of its board of directors. It reports to the Council of Ministers.
The authority was established as part of the National Education Reform Project, and is included in a plan for “Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030.”
Established in 2008, the authority has embarked on a number of quality-assurance activities, including setting performance standards and reviewing all education and training institutions licensed to operate in the kingdom.
No clear mechanism has been established to prevent conflicts of interest and corruption in regulating education, an Al-Fanar Media examination of laws and regulations and consultations with experts found.
Three public universities and 12 private universities operate in the country, according to the statistics issued by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in 2016. In addition, there are 113 public technical, vocational institutes and public community colleges.