Bridging the Gap - On Easing the Transition from Arab Secondary to Western Third Level Learning.

Learning and achievement issues among Foundation Year (FY) students at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) Bahrain have been responded to by the Language and Culture Unit to address the educational problems that have arisen as a direct consequence of the differences in skills students have on leaving secondary school and the skills that are required at third level institutions. The findings of the study assess the extent to which an integration of sustainable development into course objectives and learning outcomes takes place and how the content of the course responds to specific students’ needs. The research consists of an in-depth quantitative and qualitative case study that evaluates the extent to which the course enables the transition from a secondary to a third level institution and teaches the students the skills required to ‘survive’ at a westerntype university. In support of our claim, the results from this case study will be presented and implications of a more general relevance will be suggested. Our model of an academic skills intervention programme can be applied to other higher education institutions where issues of transition from secondary to third level learning may be problematic.