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Education in Oman


Education in Oman is provided free of charge up to the end of secondary education, though attendance is not mandatory at any level. In 1970 there were only three formal schools with 900 students in the whole country. Oman's national educational program expanded rapidly during the 1970s and the 1980s. Sultan Qaboos University, the only national university near Muscat, was founded in 1986, and in 2006 it had 13,500 students. The 2006 Human Development Report found the literacy rate to be 81.4% in adults (older than 15), up from 54.7% in 1990. For the same period, the youth (15-24) literacy rate increased from 85.6 to 97.3%. Public expenditure on education was reported to be 4.6% of GDP and 26.1% of total government spending.

Pre School

Pre school education is offered by the private sector and some public organisations. Supervision is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Affairs. Nursery enrolment is very limited and estimated to be only 1%. Kindergarten is available mostly in large cities and enrolment is estimated to be 15%. The Ministry of Education is in the process of finalising the advanced curriculum for the kindergarten level, based on self-learning as a method and centred on the Omani child and on his/her environment, cultural heritage and civilisation.

Primary Education

In 1997, the ministry began development work on a Basic Education programme to gradually replace the three level General Education system. The aim of the reform is to create a unified system covering the first ten years of schooling. Basic Education is organised into two cycles: the first cycle covers grades 1 to 4 and the second cycle covers grades 5 to 10. These two cycle are followed by two years of post-Basic Education system (secondary education). The first schools started to introduce the new system in the academic year 1998/1999.

Secondary Education

Oman retains a number of grammar schools of international renown and a majority of which are private educational establishments offering Classics beyond Latin and Greek to include the ancient literary studies of Sanskrit, Hebrew and Arabic. Notable ones include the Indian School Muscat, American British Academy, the British School Muscat, the Indian School Al Ghubra and The Sultan's School.

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