Higher Education in Bahrain

In 1927 the first group of Bahrainis to receive a university education enrolled at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. The first institution of higher education in Bahrain, the Gulf Polytechnic, was established in 1968 as the Gulf Technical College. In 1984 Gulf Polytechnic merged with the University College of Art, Science, and Education (UCB), founded in 1979, to create a national university offering bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. During the 1991-92 academic year, more than 4,000 students, half of whom were women, studied at the two campuses of UCB/Polytechnic.

In 2008 a new Bahrain Polytechnic opened on the University of Bahrain's old campus location at Isa Town.

Bahrain had three additional institutions of higher education in 1993. The College of Health Sciences, established in 1959, offers various medical technology and nurses' training programs. The Hotel and Catering Training Center offers postsecondary vocational courses in management and culinary arts. The newest institution, the Arabian Gulf University (AGU), was established outside Riffa in 1984 and funded by the six member countries of the GCC. Construction of AGU facilities, however, was delayed by the decline in oil revenues experienced by all GCC states in the mid-1980s. The first faculty, the College of Medicine, opened in the fall of 1989 and provided medical education for fifty-eight aspiring physicians. The projected completion date for the AGU campus is 2006; officials anticipate that AGU will accommodate 5,000 students annually, once the university becomes fully operational.

The AGU campus has been completed to contain a faculty of medicine, faculty of agriculture and Princess Jawhara of Saudi Arabia donated a centre for molecular biology & inherited disorders. Built right across the street from the campus to encourage the development of regional research in this issue.

Further liberalisation of the education sector has occurred in Bahrain. New private universities are sprouting up by the day, which has led to a low standard of education in some of these private establishments. This low standard has led to the establishment of the Quality Assurance Authority for Education and Training, which primarily focuses on scrutinising all the programs offered by each university.