Bahrain set to endorse “controversial” private university degrees in an exceptional case

April 5, 2010

The woes of Bahrain private university students whose graduation degrees have been withheld for alleged irregularities may end soon after Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa has ordered the accreditation of their diplomas “in an exceptional case.”

Hundreds of graduation diplomas have been held by the Higher Education Council pending the results of a probe into alleged administrative irregularities by private universities.

The investigation was carried out by an ad-hoc committee formed to look into all the diplomas given by the 17 private universities in Bahrain.

Some of the universities have been suspected of handing the degrees in unlawfully short times or without the students completing their courses or attending classes.

The council said that its initial probe found that many of the graduates failed to meet the requirements to obtain their diplomas and referred 360 cases to the public prosecutor despite intense pressure from students, parents and the media. However, the prosecutor said they had doubts about only 30 of the diplomas.

Several MPs said urged the council “not to prolong the agony of the students” and to award them their degrees.

“The council has reacted too quickly and too strongly to allegations about abuses and this is not right,” MP Ibrahim Bu Sandal said. “We are afraid of seeing some of form of discrimination and personal standoffs between the council and some universities and this is bad for Bahrain’s reputation and especially for the students’ morale,” he said.

On Sunday, Shaikh Khalifa, chairing the weekly cabinet meeting, praised the Higher Education Council for its efforts to “preserve education standards in Bahrain”, but called for the awarding of the diplomas in “exceptional cases.”

Most of the students who could not receive their degrees are Kuwaiti nationals who have been studying in Bahrain where private universities mushroomed to cater mainly to Gulf nationals.

The decision by Kuwait’s education ministry last year to not recognize some of the private universities and colleges led the Bahraini authorities to investigate all private learning institutions.

Several colleges were in September reprimanded for failing to meet standards and the council ordered some of them to drop some of their courses or not to accept students until they improved their levels.




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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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