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EDUCATION

In his first address to his countrymen on his accession, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said assured them that education and health would be given priority in the development of the country, a priority that has been maintained throughout. In the early stages so great was the demand for education - not only for children, but also for adults - that in some cases classes had to be held in tents and in shifts. Teachers were in short supply and had to be recruited from other Arab countries. Over the succeeding years an education system was established with remarkable speed. The state system now consists of primary education, followed by a preparatory stage for those between the ages of 12 and 14, and the secondary stage, for those who pass the necessary examinations, starting between the ages of 15 and 17 years.

Successful students can then progress to advanced training and qualifications at the Sultan Qaboos University which opened in 1986 and consists of six faculties: Faculty of Education and Islamic Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, Science, Agriculture and Arts.

A feature of the educational system is the importance given to the teaching of the English language in school and at University, where the medium of education is Arabic, but English is used for science-based courses. A visitor to Oman will now find that all young Omanis speak good English.

There are nine colleges in the Sultanate which offer two-year couses for the training of Omani teachers. The Omanisation of teaching posts is proceeding steadily and in 1995, 78.4% of the teachers in primary school are Omani. There are now 947 schools for boys and girls in the state sector, with 247,000 male students and 227,280 female students. In addition there is an increasing number of private school which are encouraged by the government. At present there are 69 private schools with 17,1753 pupils and 881 teachers.

Adult education has in no way been neglected, and currently there are 176 adult education centers with 9,800 students and 250 literacy center with 8,400 adult students. In 1994 a new Ministry of Higher Educatin was created with responsibilities for the University, all aspects of higher education and for students studying abroad.

INDEX COMMUNICATION DEVELOPMENT

 HEALTH YOUTH   TELECOMMUNICATIONS

HOUSING AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY

 


(C) 9/1997 Abdulkarim K. Sonya AL-Zadjali karim@omantel.co.om