Scrolling through yesterday’s Alwasat newspaper, I came across this shocking piece of news concerning the latest government scholarships for this year’s secondary school graduates.
Just a quick background on how things are done,
Every year more and more Bahraini teenagers graduate from secondary schools around Bahrain, and as you would expect, the more students graduate, the more honour students graduate. Every end of school year, the Ministry of Education announces the scholarships plan, which to many new graduates (those of 95% or higher GPA) is the holy grail and what everyone aspires to. To many of Bahrain’s political societies and average Mohammed on the street, it’s a sign of what the govenment plans for the country’s future and is always a playground of controversy (unfair distrubution of scholarships, sectarian discrimination,etc..) but that is for another day..
This week PM Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa handed out certificates to over 450 of this year’s honour students, those 450 odd students will share 1864 scholarships with their fellow private school Bahraini honour students.
The number of scholarships are impressive but the quality is by far substandard
كشفت خطة البعثا ت والمنح لهذا العام التي اعتمدها وزير التربية والتعليم ماجد النعيمي مؤخراً عن عدم وجود بعثات ومنح للدراسة في جامعات أميركية وأوروبية بخلاف العام الماضي الذي تضمن 32 بعثة توزعت بين أميركا، فرنسا، ماليزيا، سنغافورة، وأستراليا. واقتصرت بعثات العام 2009 على جامعات مملكة البحرين ودول الخليج والمملكة الأردنية الهاشمية وجمهورية مصر العربية فقط.
This year’s scholarship didn’t include any scholarships to the UK, USA, France, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. The scholarships are instead within Bahrain’s universities, GCC countries, Jordan and Egypt.
Well I’m not knocking these universities as calling them terrible but the inconsistency of the quality of scholarships is terrible and these kids futures are subjected by if the MoE decides they can send them to these good universities or not. But this isn’t the worst or most shocking thing about this year’s scholarship.
في ذلك حاولت «الوسط» الحصول على رد رسمي بشأن ذلك من الوزارة دون جدوى، في الوقت الذي علق فيه النائب عبدالله العالي خلال حديثه لـ «الوسط» يوم أمس (الثلثاء) عن وجود 21 بعثة للإرشاد المدرسي في الأردن في الوقت الذي تتعذر فيه الوزارة بعدم وجود الشواغر لعاطلي الخدمة الاجتماعية.
وأضاف أن خطة البعثات لهذا العام خلت من بعض التخصصات المهمة كهندسة الطيران وصيانة الأجهزة الدقيقة وعلوم البيئة وعلوم الطاقة وتحلية مياه البحر والطب، فضلاً عن العلوم النووية، كما وخلت من بعثات للجامعات العريقة في أميركا وأوروبا لطلبة التعليم الصناعي والعلمي، لافتاً إلى أن بعثاتها للجامعات غير الخليجية ركزت على تخصصات الخزف والنجارة والموسيقى والخزف وحالات قليلة تجاوزت ذلك لتخصص لدراسة الشريعة والتربية والإرشاد.
According to MP Abdulla Al-Aali, this year’s scholarships included 21 scholarships to Jordan to study school counselling where at the same time, the MoE have failed to find openings for previous years graduates.
In addition, many other important majors were missing such as aviation engineering, enviromental science, micro-technology, medicine, water technology and energy sciences. At the same time, most of the foriegn scholarships were for artistic majors such as Music, Sculpture, Pottery and Carpentry.
In one point we understand that the MoE wants more honour students to become jobless by paying them to study majors they will not find jobs at neither in the MoE or anywhere else for that matter, plus we see that it doesn’t really care about what the COUNTRY needs. Finally we can see that majors which need more talent and passion than brains are only given to the highest scoring students.
This is absolute hogwash.
Apparently we have a thingie called the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030 [En] [Ar] which envisions that Bahrain needs to give its citizens the best education and training possible in order to increase productivity and build a knowledge based economy. I think the MoE kinda snoozed during those meetings..
And when they snooze..WE LOSE!
Well the suspension only lasted 12 hours, and the dust has cleared so we can now see the reason for the suspension and how it was lifted so quickly..
The reason for the suspension, making many peoples speculations correct, was Shura MP Ms. Samira Rajab’s article blasting the Iran regime and hinting of Ahmedinajad’s apparent “Jewish” descent.
AAK Newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Anwar Abdulrahman has stood by the article citing that what Ms. Rajab wrote was true, frank and honest.
الأستاذ أنور عبدالرحمن: لم يسحب وانما حجب.. يوم أمس الأول وأنا في زيارة للخارج ويوجد فارق بيني وبين البحرين 4 ساعات، وفي الرابعة فجرا اتصل بي القائمون على إدارة التحرير وأخبروني أن المسئولين بوزارة الإعلام قرروا إيقاف “أخبار الخليج”، فدار حديث بيني وبين مسئولين في وزارة الإعلام وكذلك معالي الشيخة مي آل خليفة وزيرة الإعلام والثقافة وكان حديثا حضاري لا أننا كنا نعرف السبب وهو نشر مقال بقلم الأستاذة سميرة رجب بشأن إيران وظروف إيران وحقائق إيران ونتائج الفكر الثوري الإيراني..
Akhbar Al-Khaleej 24/6/2009
“I was on a visit outside the country where the time difference was four hours, where I recieved a phone call from the editorial staff at 4 a.m (midnight Bahrain time) telling that officials from the Ministry of Culture and Information ordered the suspension of the newspaper. I spoke with those officials and with the Minister Shaikha Mai bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa in a quiet and civil manner. When then knew that the reason for the suspension was Ms. Samira Rajab’s article about Iran, its situation and the aftermath of its Islamic revolutionary idealogy”.
Now we know how it got suspended, but how did it get back on the shelves so quickly?
قال صاحب السمو الشيخ خليفة بن سلمان آل خليفة رئيس الوزراء على هامش الاحتفال بتكريم المتفوقين أمس: ان مؤازرتنا للصحافة البحرينية في أي شيء تتعرض له واجب.. وواجبنا نحو جريدة “أخبار الخليج” أكبر بمقدار طول دربها الطويل الذي قطعته في خدمة الوطن.
وأضاف سموه: لا يمكن ان نسمح بأن يمس الصحافة والصحفيين أي سوء
We must stand by the Bahrain press, and it is my duty to do so, and that is even more so in the case of Akhbar Al-Khaleej because of its long history in Bahrain.
So basically PM Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa lifted the suspension,because AAK is after all his “favourite newspaper” (can’t find the source in AAK archives..Damn!)
and of course, the newspaper doesn’t fail to lavish praise to the PM for this swift lift of the suspension.
سمو الرئيس لا يسعني إلا أن أتوجه باسم كل الزملاء في الجريدة بالشكر الجزيل لسموكم الكريم على وقفتكم الرائعة الى جانب “أخبار الخليج” عندما حُجبت عن قرائها، فمهما نفعل فإننا لن نوفيك حقك.
أفضالكم علينا لن ننساها ما حيينا.. وسنظل نرددها زادا لنا على طريق العطاء للوطن.
Same link as above..
“Everyone at AAK newspaper would like to thank you for your gracious support for the newspaper during this suspension, we are forever indebted to you.
We will never forget this for the rest of our lives, and we will carry it with pride as we continue giving to this country”.
Although I am happy that this problem was solved and that the newspaper is back up and running but what disheartens me is the way things are done in Bahrain,
Every problem starts off with an unfair and OTT punishment/obstacle and if you ever want to get ‘justice’ you need to find someone high up and ask for their help or better known as a ‘was6a’ to fix your problem either with a word or a swipe of a pen. After getting what you want, being the good mannered society we are, you have to praise the person who helped you and massage their ego.
We claim that we have laws and that we all abide to them..We claim that we can settle matters with logic and within courtroom walls.. Using our Sharia, our constitution, our laws and good judges..but the ugly reality is that the only law is survival to the persons with the most ‘Was6a’s!
Will we ever learn? Will we ever break these shackles and actually become a good country?
Today marks the 8th anniversary of the ‘Meethaq’ or National Action Charter where 98.4% of ‘Bahrainis’ voted in a referendum for democratic reform and making Bahrain into a constitutional monarchy with a two council system (Representatives and Shuraa)
Columns of praise and satisfaction came flooding from all directions, local and international organisations were full of hope that reform have finally hit these tiny shores…
That we gain the right to vote…
That we can protest, express our opinions without fear and fight for our rights peacefully…
Find and punish those who are corrupted and wish to ruin our beloved country through greed and inciting hatred…
Help spread the wealth fairly to all the people of Bahrain…
To help build an educated, motivated and bright society whose only aim is to make Bahrain a better place draw foreign investment in like paperclips to a magnet…
… and basically live happily ever after…
Eight years on, and it seems that rather than taking a few steps forward we’ve backflipped backwards several times!
People vote… only to get their votes drowned out by illegal balloting, political nationalising and well… candidates who are basically dimwits!
People protest and express their opinions… only to be left unheard by the government, and be called un-Bahraini and greeted by tear gas and being clubbed by foreign ‘Bahrainis’… and in the case of websites, get blocked by a swipe of a pen.
Corruption and proof by the hundreds of pages were discovered… but only to be buried and banned to be called by name and instead journalists,bloggers and people in general use other words which translate into English as ‘sexy’ (مثير) and ‘beet’ (شمندر)
The wealth grew in strides,leaps and bounds but the people only received BD600 trickled over 12 months in one year (where thousands had to cue and beg) while hundreds of square kilometres of land were reclaimed, depriving fisherman from all four corners of Bahrain of their source of food and income, and ‘gifted’ to an exclusive few…
The children of Bahrain all complete their Basic education (100%) and all aspire to enter university and get jobs.. only for the government to help these bright Bahrainis after graduating, get jobs outside Bahrain and ship in foreign and incompetent ‘Bahrainis’ to fill in hundreds of government jobs in ministries and in both the BDF (Bahrain Defense Force) and Interior ministries…
This is not what Bahrain voted for.. This is not what we pictured our lives be in a ‘democratic’ country where the law is fair and is abided by all as equals..
Wake up and smell the roses! And don’t think of putting down that rose on the tombstone that reads ‘Here lies Democracy in Bahrain- Passed before birth’
Our silence will keep this democracy in its coma and eventually pulls it plug!
I never knew that St. Valentine’s Day could be such a bitch and heartbreaking!
Today is Japan’s National Foundation Day which is celebrated every year and is a one day holiday..
Which I realized only when I went to university to polish off my presentation for my entrance exam, only to find the whole university closed!
Also as part of my entrance exam, I have to sit a English exam (in Japanese!) which I need to bring an English/Japanese dictionary and since i only have a handy dandy electronic dictionary which I’m not allowed to use, I had to shed some cash and help the Japanese economy.
So in doing so, I went to one of the bookshops downtown in search of a dictionary..
The first thing I noticed were hundreds of photos of President Barack Obama, and hundreds more in the form of CD and DVD books!
Each book is basically a compilation of President Obama’s speeches from his Democratic Nomination till his inauguration all translated word-by-word into Japanese all as a way to help improve Japanese people’s English (especially advanced learners). It is a far cry from George W. Bush’s butchering of the English language through his memorable Bushisms.
But President Obama isn’t the only political figure helping books fly off the shelves!
Japanese Prime Minister, Taro Aso, is renowned for two things: His love for Manga comics (whenever I mention that Aso has a typical Manga villian mouth and grin, my Japanese friends burst out laughing) and his many misreadings of Kanji.
After quite a few public blotchings of Kanji by PM Aso during speeches, many Japanese have turned to bookstores to buy books on how to read complex Kanjis to avoid such embaressing situations. Two women who were standing in front of me in line were buying such books, at the same time making me feel better than I’m not the only one struggling with reading Kanjis with each one at least two or three readings, some even reaching 12 and 13!
As for our politicians, the only time we see them reading is when the Book Fair is in town and all they do is collect books to fill their shelves (mostly religious books) to make them look ‘smart’ and ‘knowledgable’ whilst on the other hand, we have ministers whose job is to encourage people to read and learn about the world around them and write and express themselves, goes and attempts to block the internet…tsk tsk!
Once again please sign the petition against Internet censorship in Bahrain
Continuing with the school yard politics of this country..
Today’s lesson is about our ministries!
Now, to the untrained eye, all of our ministries are simply incompetent (the same could be said with all Arab countries) or like we say “Maashiya ala ilbaraka” meaning that they’re winging it most of the time and only plan to fill newspaper columns with ‘innovative projects’ and ‘reform’ rather than actually improve their services!
But if you look deeper into each ministry you’ll find out that each one has their own classroom characteristic
Firstly we’ve got the ‘Bully’ ministry, a ministry that basically cannot do any wrong although all evidence is against them yet react (some times aggressively) when receiving a finger pointed at them (no not that finger) in accusation. A fellow blogger has written a bit about two ministries which fall into this category : The Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health
But what I want to write about today is a characteristic which many ministries are, The Excuse-less Daft Ones
Like the kids who used to sit on the middle left side of the class, where everyone in the class has to turn around to witness their stupidity and daftness.
Although there are way too many examples, I just want to show one example in the newspaper a couple of days ago in particular, The Ministry of Municipality Affairs and Agriculture
This is from today’s Al-Wasat Newspaper:
قالت وزارة شئون البلديات والزراعة إن اختصاص الوزارة بشأن فشتي العظم والجارم «ينحصر في ناحية الملكية العامة لهذين الفشتين وغيرهما من الفشوت إلى جانب الحدود الجغرافية والمساحة الكلية للفشوت»، نافية مسئوليتها عن «المشاريع الموجودة من ناحية التحديث والمحافظة».
جاء ذلك في مذكرة الرد على السؤال المقدم من النائب السيدعبدالله مجيد العالي بشأن الفشوت عامة وفشتي العظم والجارم خاصة، الذي ورد في نصه: «ما الخطوات التي اتخذتها وزارة شئون البلديات والزراعة فيما يخصها بشأن الفشوت عامة وفشتي العظم والجارم خاصة؟ وما دور الوزارة في تنفيذ توصيات لجنة التحقيق بشأنها؟ وما برامج وخطط الوزارة للمحافظة على الفشوت وضمان عدم التعدي عليها؟ وما الإجراءات التي اتخذتها الوزارة فيما تعرض له فشت الجارم من تخريب وتدمير متعمد للمنشآت الموجودة فيه؟».
وفيما يتعلق بما تعرضت له بعض المنشآت التي تم إنشاؤها في الفترة السابقة والكائنة في الجزر الصناعية في الفشوت بينت الوزارة أنها «ليست مسئولة عن المنشآت الموجودة في الفشت وتطويرها أو الحفاظ عليها، إذ إن هذه الموجودات بنيت في الفترة السابقة من قبل شركة خاصة من غير معرفة الوزارة».
Now MP S.Abdulla Al-Aali from Al-Wefaq bloc recently asked about the coral reefs around Bahrain and who are responsible for them after discovering that some construction and reclamation have been done to coral reefs in recent times.
Now everyone would expect that being the Ministry of Municipalities and Agriculture, that they would be responsible for every inch of land, coral reef and sea but no, we are all mistaken!
Apparently, they are not responisble according to the article and all the construction happened BEFORE!
Yes, ministers in the country are changed in the same frequency Justin Timberlake changes his underwear in a day
but one must think, will all the ministry changes, we barely see any development because the employees further down the ladder are not changing nor improving, and maybe in most cases getting even worse!
When will this ‘blame it on someone else’ mentality end?? It’s ruining what we can be and won’t realize it until we fall face down in the mud then we can’t find anyone to blame but ourselves..