Bahrain: Proposal to Suspend Second Semester at Schools Rejected

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The Council of Representatives, on March 11, rejected an urgent proposal to suspend the second semester for the ongoing academic year 2019-2020.

This came during the regular weekly meeting of the Council, where 18 of the 34 attending MPs voted against the proposal. The proposal stipulates the suspension of classes until the end of the semester for all school stages except the 12th grade, in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in schools.

Three MPs suggested only approving the results of the first semester in order for the students to pass the year. They said the proposal comes “due to considerations of public interest and the sensitive situation Bahrain is going through at the present time”. They also mentioned in their proposal: “The proposal comes due to the lack of a basic environment that contributes to the success of distance learning, as it needs a solid infrastructure, in terms of the availability of computers and high-speed Internet, making the application of this method very costly and difficult for everyone.”

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During the discussion, MP Al Kooheji stated: “It’s true that education is important, but, health is more important. We are compelled to present this urgent proposal to save the lives of our children; the students.”

Defending the proposal, he added: “Parents are very unpleased about this matter. They are afraid because of the carelessness of some people, especially after we recently heard how a doctor was advised to quarantine himself at home, but instead, he practiced his work and legal procedures were taken against him.”

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For her part, MP Abdulameer said: “The electronic portal of the ministry is highly pressurised and it can’t be easily accessed. It’s flooded with schedules that are filled with activities, videos, and electronic quiz.”

“Parents are today experiencing high pressure. Is it possible that we spend our entire day surfing the portal,” Ms. Abdulameer questioned.

Mr. Al Abbasi commented: “We need to activate future schools and distant learning. The state has been spending millions of dinars for around 15 years, so we would be prepared in such situations that we are experiencing today. What is happening now is that homework is being merely uploaded to the website and students download it, while poor parents are the actual ones teaching at home.”

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