Education Ministry’s Undersecretary for Educational Affairs and Curriculum Dr. Abdulla Youssef AL-Mutawa has affirmed that the Ministry is committed to specific, accurate and fair criteria in granting scholarships for top-achieving students in order to ensure they choose the academic specialties that appeal to them and are appropriate for their abilities. Speaking during a press conference held this morning at the ministry’s headquarters, he said the scholarships are awarded according to the available disciplines and in light of the needs of the state and labour. On his part, Director of Scholarships and Attaches at the Ministry Isa Al-Kohaji he dismissed claims disseminated through media outlets regarding the scholarships plan as political and sectarian ones and therefore should not be taken seriously, stressing that the “Education Ministry deals with citizens and not sects”. He added that blaming the ministry in such a way and making such inaccurate allegations aim to serve political aims. He explained that student\'s cumulative grade-point average (CPA) is the basic criterion for granting scholarships, while personal interviews and aptitude tests aim to determine the students’ professional trends and mastery of academic skills, noting that no student with 90% or more cumulative average has been deprived of his right to get a scholarship. He pointed out that personal interviews are applied in many western and GCC countries and in some cases students who fail to pass them are deprived from scholarships whatever be their cumulative average, which, he said, is not the case in Bahrain. “In Bahrain, the rights of outstanding students to get scholarships are maintained, and the personal interviews and aptitude tests aim only to help them choose the right disciplines,” he explained. He added that the Education Ministry adopted such mechanisms because many students choose disciplines they like but fail, drop out or change them, which results in losses for them and the ministry’s resources. He noted that follow-up over the past two years have proved that personal interviews and aptitude tests have improved the students’ academic performance. He underlined that the ministry created such mechanisms for the aim of striking a balance between the students’ desires and the labour market’s needs, reduce the students’ change of disciplines requests and preserve the resources of the kingdom and those of the ministry.