Education of Oman

Education of Oman Last updated on Wednesday 14th April 2010

Since the time of the accession of Sultan Qaboos in July 1970, providing education to both young people and adults has been given a top priority in the development of the Sultanate of Oman. The task of establishing an education system in those days was indeed enormous. There were only three boys’ schools in the whole Sultanate, in Muscat, Muttrah and Salalah, with 909 pupils and 909. According to recent statistics, there are now 947 schools for both boys and girls, with 247,006 male and 227,282 female students as well as more than 20000 teachers.

In the early stages of process of developing the Sultanate’s educational systems, the number of Omani teachers was much less than expatriate Arab teachers, most of whom are Egyptians. The last quarter of a century saw a significant development and achievement in the field of education; as a result young Omani have all been offered education from the elementary school through to University within the country.

Adult education had also been paid special attention during the same period. The government established than 245 literacy centres with over 8,500 adult students, as well as 176 adult centres with about 10000 students; moreover, there are over 9,000 individuals who are learning from home.

In addition to the state schools, there is a number of private schools in the country and the private sector is actively participating in the country’s educational development.

Sultan Qaboos University

Sultan Qaboos University was inaugurated in 1980 and the construction process was completed in 1986; the first group of students enrolled in September of the same year. When studies started at the first national Omani university, there were five faculties: Faculty of Education and Islamic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Science and Agriculture. Then the Faculty of Arts was established in the following in 1987 and later the Faculty of Commerce and Economics in 1993. The Ministry is also involved with the establishment of a College of Marine Sciences and Fisheries, Colleges of Islamic Sharia and Law and an Institute of Islamic Legal Studies.

It was first expected that the university would take about 3,000 students across the faculties and fields of specializations, but there are more than 3,600 students ate present 3,600, 65 per cent of whom are girls. Separate residential accommodation for young men and women is provided in the form of small communities instead of hostels, each accommodating about 150 students drawn from all the colleges, with a supervisor acting as a counselor in social, religious and moral matters. A 500-bed Teaching Hospital was opened in 1989 with over 200 academic medical staff and 800 nursing support staff. Admission to the hospital is referral-based. This remarkable medical institution has advanced diagnostic equipment as well as specialized sections for pediatrics, psychiatry, internal diseases, surgery, gynaecology and obstetrics, cardiac diseases in addition to an outpatients clinic. It serves as a centre for training Omani doctors in some specializations in the field of medicine.

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