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A test of patience

By S R Charles

I’ve previously described how students in Bahrain who aren’t working to designated, age related averages are not gaining access to the schools best suited to helping them because they are sitting tests that are designed to measure cognitive ability and, consequently, said schools are setting the bar just high enough for these students to fail so they don’t get in. Because they can, they are brazen and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.

This ‘revelation’ about the private education system in Bahrain got a lot of people interested, but if you’re still not convinced I’m going to share a story with you of one family’s recent experiences. I will name no names but the people involved all know who they are.

Part one

A child who is working just below average expectations applies to a private school.

Before he does, the parents inform the appropriate head teacher of his moderate issues, however he still sits the same test as other children. He is very nervous.

The secretary in the admissions department informs the parents that he has not passed and that his scores in maths are remarkably low.

The same secretary tells them he will not get a retest.

The parents wonder how the secretary was qualified to know when scores are low, remarkably or not, and equally when she became both judge and jury.

Part two

The parents set up an entrance exam at another school in Bahrain.

The same information is given to the admissions team regarding average age related abilities, etcetera.

The day before the entrance exam, in fact on the way there, again the secretary phones the parents to tell them that the head teacher does not want to meet their child because he has learning difficulties and the school will not be able to help him. Rejected without being met, classy.

Part three

The parents book an entrance exam with another school.

The school is informed of the same issues, but once again the child is tested using the same test as everyone else.

The child, jaded by his experiences so far, enters the exam and doesn’t think he will be accepted.

He doesn’t pass, but he is invited for a taster day so he can be assessed in a different way.

The parents speak to the head of learning support at the school who is very warm, welcoming and supportive. He advises them about procedures at the school.

The visit is booked for the following two days. The parents and the boy feel a lot better about things.

The following morning before the family are about to set off they get a call from the school to say that the visit has been cancelled as the Education Ministry say they are not allowed to take any new admissions for children who need learning support.

The child cries. The parents are angry.

To be continued...

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