Education has always played a crucial role in the development and progress of nations. Bahrain, a small island kingdom in the Arabian Gulf, boasts a rich history of education that spans centuries. From traditional Islamic schools to modern educational institutions, Bahrain has made significant strides in promoting learning and knowledge. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of education in Bahrain, highlighting key milestones and the evolution of the education system.

Early Islamic Education:

The roots of education in Bahrain can be traced back to the early days of Islam. During this time, Islamic teachings and the Quran were the primary sources of education. Mosques served as centers for learning, where scholars taught subjects such as Arabic grammar, Islamic law, and theology. These religious schools, known as Madrasas, played a pivotal role in imparting knowledge to the local population.

The Influence of Persia:

In the 17th century, Bahrain came under Persian influence during the Safavid dynasty. This led to the establishment of Persian schools in the region, where subjects like Persian literature, poetry, and calligraphy were taught. Persian scholars and intellectuals brought with them a wealth of knowledge, enriching the educational landscape in Bahrain.

Modern Education System:

The modern education system in Bahrain began to take shape in the late 19th century during the British colonial era. In 1919, the first formal school, Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifa School, was established, marking the beginning of a more structured approach to education in Bahrain. The British introduced a curriculum that included subjects such as mathematics, science, and the English language.

Expansion of Education:

In the 20th century, Bahrain witnessed significant developments in its education sector. The government invested in building more schools and improving access to education for all Bahraini citizens. Education became compulsory for both boys and girls, and efforts were made to promote gender equality in schools. The number of schools increased, and the curriculum expanded to include subjects like social studies, physical education, and vocational training.

Higher Education:

Bahrain has also made significant progress in higher education. In 1986, the University of Bahrain was established, offering a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Since its inception, the university has grown and diversified, with several colleges and research centers catering to various fields of study. Additionally, private universities and institutions have emerged, providing further opportunities for higher education in Bahrain.

Expatriate Education:

Bahrain is home to a diverse expatriate population, and education for expatriate families is a vital aspect of the education system. International schools in Bahrain cater to the needs of expatriate students, offering curricula from different countries such as British, American, Indian, and International Baccalaureate programs. These schools provide a multicultural learning environment and ensure that expatriate students receive a quality education.


The rich history of education in Bahrain reflects the country’s commitment to nurturing knowledge and fostering learning. From its early Islamic roots to the modern education system, Bahrain has come a long way in providing accessible and high-quality education to its citizens. The government’s investment in education and the growth of higher education institutions have contributed to Bahrain’s progress in various fields. As Bahrain continues to advance, education remains a cornerstone of its development and a tool for shaping a bright future for its people.