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1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Economy
a. Figures
4. Health
5. Education
a. Universities
6. Demographics
7. Religions
a. Freedom
8. Peoples
9. Languages
10. History
11. Cities and Towns

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Index / Education
Open map of OmanFlag of OmanOman /

Key figures
81% (women 74%, men 87%).
MENA rank: 10 of 22.
Basic education access
World rank: 119.
MENA rank: 13 of 22.
Density: 1:570,000.
Internationally ranked: 17%.
0.6% of total population.
MENA rank: 20 of 22.
$800/capita, 4.0%/GDP.
MENA rank: 6 of 20.
MENA rank
among 22 countries.

MENA = Middle East and North Africa.

Sultan Qaboos University, Musqat, Oman
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Sultan Qaboos University.

Dhofar University, Salalah, Oman

Dhofar University, Salalah.

Education in Oman is free up to the age of 18 or 19, depending on school. Attendance is not mandatory.
Education in Oman has largely been developed since the 1970's; in 1970 there were only 3 schools with less than 1,000 pupils.
Education is good, but sometimes difficult to access for people in the countryside. There are also serious programs that shall help the large groups of illiterate adults to read and write.
Oman is presently reforming its pre-university education system. Since 1997, there has been a gradual transition from 3 levels (primary, preparatory, secondary) aiming at a more unified system. Basic education is with this divided into two parts, 4 years followed by 6 years. Secondary education then becomes a 2 year course. Some schools have introduced this, but yet, the system presented below is the most common across Oman.
Expenditure on education was estimated at 4.0% of GDP in 2006, which by 2008 would mean $800/capita.

Literacy rate has increased tremendously over the recent decades. In 1990, literacy rate was 55%, growing to 72% in 2000, reaching 81% as of 2008. The most significant improvement has been among women. From 2000 until 2008, the rates for women grew by 12%, for men by 7% (from 62% and 80% respectively).
In 1993, there were 252 literacy centers and 176 adult education centers.

Pre-Primary education
Kindergarten is offered in most larger towns and cities, about 1 in 7 children attend. These offer the children a pedagogical program. New programs are in the making, focusing on teaching children self-learning.

Primary education
Six years of primary schooling are followed by preparatory school. Academic results of the preparatory exams determine the type of secondary education the student will receive.
In 1998, there were 411 primary schools with 313,516 students and 12,052 teachers. Student-to-teacher ratio stood at 26 to 1.
As of 1999, 65% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school.

Preparatory education
Six years of primary schooling are followed by preparatory school. Academic results of the preparatory exams determine the type of secondary education the student will receive.

Secondary education
Six years of primary schooling are followed by preparatory school. Academic results of the preparatory exams determine the type of secondary education the student will receive.
In secondary schools in 1998, there were 12,436 teachers and 217,246 students. 59% of those eligible attended secondary school.

Higher education
Oman with its unique history of anti-modernism and cultural isolation, naturally has a late start with Western-style higher institutions. The first university, Sultan Qaboos University, opened first in 1986 in the capital, Musqat. It is today a university of quite some size, with 13,500 students in 2006.
Before the opening of the first higher institutions, Oman's talented young men were sent to study in other Arab countries, like the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt, and a few received scholarships to study in the USA and United Kingdom.
The next university came in the late 1990's, the next ones in the 2000's, making the total count 6 now, together with many other institutions at university level. An attempt in 2003 to allow 5 private colleges to merge and form the Muscat University has failed.
Institutions of long importance are the higher colleges of technology in Musqat, Al-Mussana, Ibra, Nizwa, Salalah and Shinas. The Institute of Agriculture at Nizwa became a full college by 1985.
Oman has many institutions offering higher education. Among these, are the Colleges of Applied Sciences, which in 2005 were upgraded the former Education Colleges at its locations in Ibri, Nizwa, Salalah, Sohar, Sur and Rustaq, and offer courses in International Business Administration; Communication; Design; IT. There are also colleges dedicated to Banking and Financial studies, to technology and medical specializations.
Oman has over recent years challenged with the strong increase in secondary graduates and the limited capacity of the higher institutions. This made the government permit the establishment of private institutions, but this reform does not come through fast enough, many fail to gain one of the seats, and Oman again sees many go abroad to study.
In the private institutions with foreign affiliation, the language of instruction is mainly English.
A unified national online system of admission into higher education has been launched, making it easy for students select his or her choices in order of preference.
Oman has the Western-style degree system of Bachelor followed by Master and topped with a PhD. Students usually have to study English the first year, before beginning the Bachelor's study, which depending on specialization are 3 or 4 year programs. The study of Medicine has its own structure being a complete 6 year program. Colleges usually only offer Bachelor's programs. Universities offer both Bachelor's and Master's degrees. There is a limited selection of PhD studies, it remains a situation in which Omanis have to travel abroad to obtain the highest possible degree in many specializations.

By Tore Kjeilen