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Study in Oman - Education System





General Information

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.

Literacy: 80%

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 education.

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 directors.

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 training.

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.

Educational System

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 future.

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)

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 language.

All Schools are under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.


Ministry of Education in Oman

Ministry of Education

Muscat, Sultanate of Oman



Oman Ministry of Education Website
Higher 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

Telephone: +968 2 434 0999   
Fax: +968 2 434 0172


Oman Ministry of Higher Education Website

Sultan Qaboos University

Sultan Qaboos University

P.O. Box 50
Postal Code 123
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Telephone: +968 2 414 1111  
Fax: +968 2 441 3391


Sultan Qaboos University Information Sheet
Sultan Qaboos University - Video

An Informative and interesting Video About the Sultan Qaboos University (Video in English)

Very Nice Video about Sultan Qaboos University, Produced by Center for Educational Technology, SQU, Copyrights 2012


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Stages of Studies

Post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

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 Degree:
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 degree.


Admissions to Higher Education

Admission Requirements: Admission to non-university higher education studies.
Name of secondary school credential required: Thanawiya Amma
Minimum score/requirement: 50%
For entry to: For all non-university post-secondary colleges

Admission to University-Level Studies: Name of secondary school credential required: Thanawiya Amma
Minimum score/requirement: 65% but 80% is normally required to enter undergraduate study, whilst 90-95% may be required to enter the Faculty of Medicine
For entry to: Universities


Children with Special Needs

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 72 children.

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 businessman.

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.

Sources: Ministry of Information
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