In the field of basic education, the Government
has established a solid basic infrastructure.
The education system has adequate capacity to
accommodate all school-age children, and claims
to provide universal access to basic education.
Yet in 1997/98, over 35,000 primary school-age
children (6–11 years) and over 51,000 basic
school-age children (6–14 years) were outside
the formal education system.
Evidently, the Ministry makes provisions for
schooling all those who are willing to attend
schools, but the reality at ground level is that
a substantial number of school-age children do
not enter schools, and/or drop out before completing
their primary or basic education. In the absence
of appropriate legislation for compulsory education,
free education alone will fall short of achieving
the goal of universal primary or basic education.
Sustained concerted effort is needed to raise
the primary and preparatory net enrolment rates,
and the net intake rate in Grade 1.
Oman’s sixth and seventh five-year plans
aim to eradicate adult illiteracy, teaching Oman’s
estimated 108,000 illiterate adults to read and
write. Adult education started in 1974/5. By 2001/2
there were 346 literacy centres in Oman, with
418 male and 5,214 female students, 2, 214 adult
education centres had enrolled 8,696 students,
and a further 18,540 students signed up for free
Oman celebrates annual Arab Literacy Day every
January. Government campaigns highlight the consequences
of illiteracy for both the individual and society.
During World Literacy Year in 1990, incentives
were offered to Omani teachers, supervisors and
Students who graduate from literacy programmes
to university are honoured by the government,
together with ordinary citizens who promote literacy.
In 2000/1, Omani high school graduates were recruited
to promote adult literacy in remote areas. The
2001/2 school year saw 127 students – mostly
women – trained to promote literacy programmes.
In 1970, there were three schools in Oman, with
30 teachers and just over 900 pupils. Today, there
are over a thousand schools. In 1998/9, Oman introduced
a new education system, comprising Basic Education
over ten years, and Secondary education for two
years. After completing their secondary education,
successful students can study at specialist colleges,
or at Sultan Qaboos University. In future, students
will be streamed at secondary level, to focus
on careers that will require technical and vocational
Education, once confined to the governorates
of Muscat and Dhofar in 1970, has expanded nationwide.
In the 1990s, primary school education spread
quickly: by 1995/6, there were 1,046 schools in
Oman, including special education schools and
private schools. More than half a million young
Omanis – 506,543 students – were enrolled
in these schools.
The new Basic Education System
consists of two phases: basic education in two
cycles i.e. from 5-10 years and from 11-15 years,
and secondary education, which extends over two
years. It aims to teach communication and learning
skills, critical thinking, science and modern
technology. 288 schools will follow the Basic
Education System in the 2002/3 academic year.
The second phase of Basic Education
was implemented during 2001/2 in 59 schools (30
for boys and 29 for girls), and in five schools
open to students who have completed grade four
in basic education. The first basic education
group will graduate at the end of the 2006/7 school
year. Education reform places new importance on
information technology training, even at basic
level, and the government has decreed that each
course will be assigned to a single teacher in
Oman encourages private investors
to launch schools supervised by the state, but
help to reduce government investment in schools.
By 2002/3, there were 134 private schools.
Length of program in years: 6
Age level from: 6 to 12 years old
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 12 to 15 years old
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 15 to 18 years old
Certificate/Diploma awarded: Thanawiya Amma (Secondary
School Leaving Certificate)
Curriculum The secondary cycle covers three years
with specialization in the Arts or the Sciences
in the second and third years. The course leads
to the Thanawiya amma (secondary-school-leaving-certificate).
The Secondary Islamic Institute accepts those
who have completed their preparatory study in
the mosque. It teaches the same subjects as secondary
schools with emphasis on Islam and the Arabic
All Schools are under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.
Higher education is provided
by one university, several specialized institutes,
technical and vocational colleges and six teacher
training colleges. The university is an autonomous
institution. Its governing bodies are the university
council and the academic council.
All higher education
institutions are under the supervision of the
Ministry of Higher Education.
Ministry of Higher Education in Oman
Ministry of Higher Education
P.O. Box 82
Postal Code 112
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Non-University Level Higher technical education is mainly
provided by the Technical Industrial Colleges
which offer a two-year course plus a foundation
year to Thanawiya Amma holders leading to a British
Advanced General National Vocational Qualification
(GNVQ). They offer courses in Mechanical and Electrical
Engineering, Construction, Laboratory Science,
Computing and Business Studies. This system was
replaced in July 2000 by the Oman National Diploma.
The Institute of Health Sciences, under the responsibility
of the Ministry of Health, offers three-year courses
in Nursing, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Radiography
and Physiotherapy. Students must have a pass in
the Science track of the Thanawiya amma except
in Nursing where either Science or Arts is acceptable.
The course includes practical training in the
hospital. There is also the Omani Banking Institute
and the Engineering Training Centre. The Omani
Banking Institute confers a Certificate at the
end of a one-year course.
University Level Studies
University Level First Stage: Bachelor's
For the first eighteen months, students in the
Faculties of Agriculture, Medicine, Engineering
and Science follow a foundation course in Science
and English language before beginning their degree
studies. A Bachelor Degree is conferred after
four years in Islamic Sciences, Education, Agriculture,
Medical Science, and after five years in Agricultural
Engineering, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry,
Earth Sciences, Mathematics or Physics.
University level second stage: Bachelor's Degree
in Medicine and Surgery, Diploma, Master's Degree:
A three-year postgraduate programme of study in
Clinical Medicine following upon the Bachelor
of Medical Science leads to the Bachelor's Degree
in Medicine and Surgery, followed by a one-year
internship. A one-year Diploma programme in Islamic
Sciences is offered to graduates in Islamic Sciences
who wish to specialize.Master's degrees are conferred
after two years' study following upon the Bachelor's
Admission to non-university higher education studies.
Name of secondary school credential required:
Minimum score/requirement: 50%
For entry to: For all non-university post-secondary
Admission to University-Level Studies:
Name of secondary school credential required:
Minimum score/requirement: 65% but 80% is normally
required to enter undergraduate study, whilst
90-95% may be required to enter the Faculty of
For entry to: Universities
Special attention is given to
the needs of the disabled, particularly young
people, for whom the Ministry provides a specially
equipped training centre at al-Khoudh, opened
in 1987, where skills such as typing, sewing,
domestic science and carpentry are taught. The
centre cares for the severely disabled between
14-25 years of age. The Ministry helps to find
suitable employment for the newly qualified individuals
and provides wheelchairs and any other special
equipment that may assist them in their lives.
Since the centre opened, 428 young people have
been trained. New legislation is being prepared
to ensure that facilities, such as access to public
buildings and transport, will be provided for
all those with special needs.
Since 1993, 11 centres have opened in different
parts of the Sultanate for the care and rehabilitation
of disabled children. These centres are funded
by the Ministry and run by 161 female voluntary
staff who care for some 700 disabled children.
In 1997, a home for disabled children between
the ages of 3-14 was opened. It currently houses
Since 1990, the work of the Ministry has been
supplemented by the Association for the Welfare
of Handicapped Children, a charitable organisation
which opened its first centre al-Qurum. The Association
also has centres at al-Khoudh, Quriyat and Bilad
Banu Bu Hassan, caring for 240 disabled children.
In 1998 the foundation stone was laid for a new
centre at al-Azaiba on land donated by an Omani
Sport is an important part of the disabled welfare
programme. The Ministry ensures that Oman is represented
at Gulf, Arab, Asian and International sporting
events. The disabled sports team won gold, silver
and bronze medals at the International Sports
Championship for the Disabled at Stoke Mandeville
in England in 1994. Preparations have been made
for a disabled sports team to compete in the Sydney
Olympiad in the year 2000.