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Education and Schools

Oman - Education and Schools

After many years of only a basic educational system, the Omani government has in recent times vastly improved the quality of education. Having said that, while primary school level education is of a high standard, secondary education still remains lacking in certain areas and it is thought that expat students would be better served by studying in their home countries.

State schools are only usually attended by local Arab and Muslim children due to the curriculum being mainly Islamic. Normally non Muslim children and foreign children would not be allowed to attend any state school. Expat Muslim children stand a better chance of being accepted but priority goes to local children and places are scarce. In addition to this, lessons are not taught in English and older children may struggle to adapt. There are many private schools available in Oman but before deciding whether to send your child to a private Omani school or to a boarding school in their home country there are a few issues that will need to be addressed.

If you child has gone through the Omani primary school system and then it is decided that the secondary education would be better back in the home country there is the possibility that they would not be at the same educational levels as their classmates at home. There is also that possibility that achievements at an Omani school may not be recognised in the home country. And of course parents must assess the academic levels between the chosen schools.

Most private schools are co-educational compared to state schools which are strictly single sex. Also most private schools limit their intake solely to the relevant nationality, for example an American government funded school may only allow American nationals to enrol. Enrolment into private schools often means passing an entrance exam. One downside to private schooling is a high turnover of staff, meaning the children may not get continuity in their education.

Schooling structure is similar to other countries, whereby nursery and infant schools take children aged between 3 and 6. Primary school education is from ages 6 to 11 while secondary schooling is from ages 12 to 14 and high school is ages 15 to 18. School hours tend to run from 8am to 2.30pm Saturday to Wednesday (weekends in Oman are Thursday and Friday) although some schools operate two shifts, morning and evening. Private school costs usually run high but many companies offer schooling as part of their relocation package for expat workers.

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