The idea of establishing a WCCI chapter in Bahrain began after I attended the Thirteenth International WCCI conference in Antalya, Turkey in 2008. Very enthused about WCCI and its mission and encouraged by Carole Caparros and others at WCCI, I returned to Bahrain and started talking to educators who were interested in doing NGO work. The response to working in Curriculum, hidden or otherwise, was very positive. Later, attending the WCCI North American Conference in 2009 and presenting a paper with
Dr. Samia Costandi further confirmed the need to establish a chapter in Bahrain. The affirmative response from educators and members of the industry sector about WCCI was sufficient to begin work on WCCI, Bahrain. As a first step, Dr. Samia Costandi, Dr Laurence Wall, Johanna Visser and I wrote the Constitution and it was approved by the Board of the World Council of Curriculum and Instruction early in 2009.
Ten members registered with the WCCI Bahrain chapter within a matter of days after the Constitution was approved. Through active promotion of the mission of WCCI the membership has now grown to 28 with several other expressions of interest.
Today the membership is a diverse mix of academics and professionals from banks and other industry sectors. The nationalities of the members are also wide-ranging because Bahrain has a very large expatriate working population. The WCCI membership includes Bahrainis, Australians, Brazilians, Canadians, Irish, Indians, New Zealanders and Palestinians, many of whom have travelled widely, and have worked in many different cultures. This brings very rich and interesting perspectives to our discussions and activities. Extending membership to students and to other Gulf countries is being considered.
The WCCI Bahrain Chapter is housed in Bahrain Polytechnic .The Chapter meets once a month, alternating the venue between Bahrain Polytechnic and Ahlia University with both institutions committing support to the Chapter.
Elections were held in May 2010 and the following office bearers were elected.
President Kamala Louvelle (Bahrain Polytechnic)
Vice-President Thaira Al Shirawi (Ahlia University)
Treasurer Siragan Makdissian (Financial Services Industry)
Secretary Karen Ralph (Bahrain Polytechnic)
As the membership continues to increase, other office bearers will be elected.
The WCCI meets every month. At the inaugural meeting in May the objectives of the organisation were outlined. It was decided that broadly, the Chapter would work on the following areas:
· Hosting a conference in 2011 or 2012
· Developing projects for Bahraini youth and women.
· Developing a project focusing on developing teaching methodology with current and future teachers in Bahrain.
· Sourcing other partnerships to help support social responsibility commitments
· Two Steering Committees were established to work on the conference and projects.
· The Projects Committee has proposed a project that would focus on developing teaching methodologies for teachers in Bahrain. This is to be tabled at the next WCCI meeting with the provisional title: “Building Contemporary Teaching Skills”.
Conference Steering Committee
WCCI Bahrain is planning to host a conference in late 2011 – 2012 aimed at the GCC with the possibility of having a wider appeal to neighbouring countries and the Sub-continent.
Projects Steering Committee
Proposed Project Plan
· Developing a proposal within the year to go to the Government of Bahrain (Ministry of Education)
· This proposal will set out a 5 year plan to develop and deliver workshops to nominated teachers/trainee teachers. These teachers would be trained to deliver the training to other teachers.
· The focus groups would be teachers in High schools (final years), Universities, Vocational institutions, Private educational institutions and College of Teachers trainees.
· The initial focus group may be High School teachers since there are major High School to University transition issues.
· Future project possibilities include conducting workshops delivered in English and Arabic.
This Project Plan will create the initial contacts needed with Government agencies and Bahraini teaching staff who will be introduced to the WCCI mission and activities.
Enthusiasm for the objectives of WCCI has been high and commitment is encouraging for a start-up and much has been accomplished in under a year of operation. Both Steering Committees intend to have their initial proposals in place and ready to action within the month. We at the WCCI Bahrain Chapter are very optimistic about the future of this initiative.