Looking Back on 10 Years of the BTC: The College’s Beginning

October 14, 2018
 
As the Bahrain Teachers College celebrates its tenth year, it has had the opportunity to reflect on its foundations. This article tells a piece of that story.
 
In October 2008, Bahrain’s comprehensive Economic Vision 2030 was launched by his Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, setting out the road for Bahrain’s economic development strategy. As part of this strategy, Bahrain established three four projects:
  1. Economic Development Board (EDB): supporting the development of the economy of Bahrain.
  2. Bahrain Polytechnic: higher education institution.
  3. Quality Assurance Authority (BQA): quality assurance regulation for all education and training institutions in Bahrain.
  4. Bahrain Teachers College (BTC): serving as the sole teacher preparation and educational specialists’ College in Bahrain.
 
BTC was established in 2008 in coordination with the Ministry of Education (MOE) with teacher education programs designed by the National Institute of Education (NIE) of Singapore, and it continues its operations by offering preparatory and specialized educational programs such as: Bachelor of Education, Post Graduate Diploma in Education, and Education Leadership Program.
 
The Governing Council of BTC was first chaired by Ministry of Education Undersecretary of Resources and Services, His Excellency Shaikh Hisham bin Abdulaziz Al Khalifa. In 2016, he followed by his successor Dr. Mohamed Mubarak Jumaa.
 
The College’s first batch of graduates were in 2010, under the patronage of Deputy Prime Minister his Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Supreme Council for the Development of Education and Training, with 250 graduates from all four Divisions: Arabic & Islamic, Math & Science, English Language, and Education Studies.
 
Singapore’s National Institute of Education (NIE) partnership with the Bahrain Teachers College (BTC) started at its establishment in 2008 as part of Bahrain’s 2030 Vision for Educational Reform. The College was modeled to mirror the NIE and was developed with its guidance. The College’s relationship with Bahrain’s Ministry of Education is replicated on the relationship between Singapore’s Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education.
 
At the Ministry’s request, the National Institute of Education supported the BTC’s establishment with the following principles:
  1. Holistic development of teacher candidates
  2. Purpose-driven programs
  3. Theory-practice link
  4. Reflective community of practice
  5. Community partnerships
  6. Benchmarking of teacher standards
  7. Authentic and formative assessment
  8. Advancement of the teaching profession
 
The partnership between the BTC and NIE continued with on-going assistance and guidance. In 2012, the College completed a thorough review by the NIE, authorized by Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, to evaluate College progress since its establishment and offer recommendations for future development. The aim of the review was to evaluate the effective contributions of BTC to Bahrain’s educational development, including:
  1. Progress made by BTC since its establishment.
  2. Progress made by BTC in improving teacher recruitment processes and professional development.
  3. Issues inhibiting the expected progress after four years of BTC’s establishment.
  4. Recommendations to the EDB to ensure the College achieves its initial ambitions.
 
The NIE Review Team visited BTC in October 2012 and conducted the review, which included meetings with leaders from the Ministry of Education and the University of Bahrain, as well as focus group interviews with BTC’s academic staff. A strongly positive review report was issued in 2013 detailing the findings and recommendations of NIE. The review was followed by several follow up visits over the subsequent few years to focus on research and pedagogical innovations.
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