Bahrain’s decision to reinstate scholarships wades into controversy

May 26, 2011

MP Abdul Halim Murad

Bahrain’s education ministry has come under fire from a lawmaker after it decided to reinstate the 100 student scholarships it cancelled in March as a punitive measure.

State-sponsored students who took part in demonstrations, mainly in London, calling for the downfall of the regime were told that they would no longer benefit from the scholarship granted by the state.

Behaviour violated spirit of scholarships

The ministry then argued that the students’ behaviour violated the spirit of the scholarships.

However, on Wednesday, the ministry reversed its stance and said that it would reinstate the scholarships for students who would pledge not to get involved again in “anti-Bahrain activities.”

“We have been receiving letters from students and parents in which they said that they would uphold the law and regulations governing scholarships,” Majed Al Nuaimi, the education minister, said. “Some of the students had been obviously tricked into getting implicated in negative activities.”


However, MP Abdul Halim Murad blasted the decision, saying that it was “provocative and unacceptable”.

“The move to reinstate scholarships of students who were clearly against the state is a clear indication of weakness and impotence,” he said. “The decision is provocative and unacceptable and has come as a shock to most of the people. We are now concerned that we will be seeing a series of concessions that will undermine the status of the state, laws and institutions.”

Bahrain has been bitterly divided along sectarian faults following four weeks of demonstrations.

The mainly Shiite opposition called in February for far-reaching constitutional and political changes before its demands waded into controversy after radicals in March moved to topple the regime and set up a republic. The move was later condemned by some of the opposition figures as a “hijack” of their protests.

Sunnis, traditionally shunning political activism, reacted to the developments by uniting their forces and emerged as a major political player under the umbrella of the National Unity Rally.

The Rally has been insisting that, as a representative of dozens of thousands of people, it was an indispensable element in any political equation and that no deal could be reached without it.



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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