Endorsement of Certificates eServices
Ministry of Education

The Problem

The previous process in-place for accreditation of academic qualifications was a fairly stand-alone one and relied heavily on manual printouts of education qualification for archiving purposes and accreditation. Additionally, Directorate workload was being tracked manually via spreadsheets and periodical decisions were documented using word processing tools as minutes of meetings. The problems which stemmed were two-fold. First, citizens had no method of tracking their applications – nor did the Ministry in terms of application retrieval or status enquiry. Second, the citizens’ potential employers did not have a way of validating the authenticity of the accreditation (i.e. for cases of forgery…etc).

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The Endorsement, Accreditation and Validation of Academic Qualifications eService provided by the Ministry of Education allows university graduates (Bahrainis and expatriates) to raise a request for the accreditation and validation of their certificates issued by higher education institutions, inside or outside the Kingdom, through the eGovernment portal.
In addition, this service enables Human Resources Departments at various ministries, government authorities, and businesses to verify the accreditation and Validation of, or the ministerial decision related to, the academic qualifications of job applicants.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The program was proposed and approved by the Ministry of Education while its implementation was carried out primarily by the eGovernment Authority. Stakeholders included the Ministry of Education, all relevant employers (e.g. Government, Businesses, Individuals) across the kingdom of Bahrain, and the Higher Educational Institutions of Bahrain.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
• In line with Bahrain’s Vision 2030 strategy and the National Education Strategy, the provision of more efficient and transparent government services has been key in developing the following service in order to enhance the quality of its citizens life. In terms of progress of Public services geared towards the fields of Education and Employment, the mentioned service was conceptualized and expanded on to include the following:
- To develop an eService on eGovernment Portal to enable university graduates (Bahrainis and expatriates) to raise a request for the endorsement of their certificates issued by higher education institutions, inside or outside the Kingdom, through the eGovernment portal.
- To develop an administration system to enable Evaluation and Follow-up Directorate to manage the requests.
- To develop an administration system to enable university representatives to manage the requests.
- To develop a web service and the associated temporary database that capture the online requests, and store these requests in a temporarily database communicates with Evaluation and Follow-up Directorate developed administration system to fetch the inquired data.
- To facilitate SMS and email notifications to send the status and any additional requirement for the applications.
- In addition, it provides the facility for Human Resources departments in various authorities, government entities and businesses to check endorsement of the academic qualification of job applicants.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
In December of 2008, a meeting between the Ministry of Education and the eGovernment Authority was conducted to discuss what would eventually become the “Endorsement of Certificates” eService. In line with eGA’s strategy for 2006-2009, a study of the Ministry’s existing processes was undertaken in early 2009 by the eGovernment Authority and shortly afterwards a proposed re-engineering of those processes was approved, setting the way for the development of the new service. By November 2011, the full service was launched which enabled applicable citizens and business to utilize the system. In parallel, an administrative user interface was created to enable efficient and systemic processing of student applications.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Of the many obstacles faced, resistance to change was the most evident amongst Public servants. Upon displaying the added benefits of the proposed system and the increase in efficiency – this issue was quickly overcome. Another problem was the non-existence of a back-end system at the Ministry for processing requests, which resulted in continuous changes to the scale of the back-end user interface. This could have derailed the project’s timeline. However, the team responsible at eGA concentrated on aligning the deliverables with the mentioned strategy in order to maximize the return for citizens within the scope of the service.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
• A Matrix-style project structure – composed of both Ministry of Education and eGovernment Authority personnel, was implemented to reduce overhead costs and boost the efficiency due to the specialization of its respective members.
• All the administrators of the certificate accreditation process and their departmental managers provided their knowledge and recommendations for the new service.
• All business analysts, project managers, developers, and auditors for the eGovernment Authority lent their expertise for the completion of the initiative within the constraints provided.
• Benefits include reduction in the cost and time required for the Ministry to deliver its new service. Additionally, there is an increase in customer/citizen satisfaction due to faster accreditation turnover.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
In no more than 500 words, describe how the initiative is being sustained (for example in terms of financial, social and economic, cultural, environmental, institutional and regulatory sustainability). Describe whether the initiative is being replicated or disseminated throughout the public service at the national and/or international levels and/or how it could be replicated.

The initiative is sustained by the cyclical nature of employers’ needs in verifying the qualifications of position applicants. As the benefits and practicality of the service get disseminated via eGA efforts and marketing campaigns to increase awareness, more employers will rely on the service to increase the success rate of hiring the right candidate with a strong academic background. Additionally, the number of graduates from Institutes of Higher Education is incrementally rising within the Kingdom and thus the initiative will cater to a growing base as fresh graduates enter the workforce in the coming years.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Today, the service involves all stakeholders in a fully automated service which saves them time, minimizes cost on commuting to-and-from the ministry for students, and decreases the impact on the environment through reduction of hard copy requirements. This project has also benefited the Ministry and the members of the decision committee as they can gain insight from the digitally archived requests to assist them in the decision making related to newer requests. One of the lessons learned is that eGA should always manage the expectations of its stakeholders to ensure timely delivery of a much beneficial service. Also, it is always better to integrate additional requirements into the project if the gain is reciprocal between the customer-facing interface and the user-facing interface.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Education
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Soha Al Kohiji
Title:   Head of Accredtation Dept.  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   maziz@ega.gov.bh  
Postal Code:  
Country:   Bahrain

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