Oman Observer

MUSCAT: The Ministry of Education is readying to launch the experimental stage for classification of the private schools for the current academic year. The move stems from the important role played by the private schools in delivering the educational message and achieving its desired goals.

The ministry was keen to activate the role of the private schools in the best way in order to realise the tasks attached to the ministry through the issue of ministerial decision No 211/2017 which establishes an office for the classification of private schools. The office will undertake the responsibility of classifying the private schools into groups based on the quality of the educational services they deliver. The classification process will be conducted by independent teams to ensure neutrality of assessment.

In this context, Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed al Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education, said the process of classifying the private schools will be conducted with complete neutrality and in accordance to the standardised scientific and educational criteria which determine the quality of education at schools. She noted that the classification project aims primarily to upgrade education quality at the private schools, improve the educational services delivered by private schools, draw a roadmap for continuous improvement and self-development to reach the highest level possible, hence accomplishing positive competition on both the local and international levels. Besides, the classification enables parents to identify the quality and classification of each school.

The minister affirmed that the ministry is striving to create genuine partnership with the private sector in the education field. This trend was manifested through meetings with private school owners, supervisors, heads of education committees at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the aim of acquainting them with scopes and objectives of the project.

The classification project will initially be implemented in a phased manner during which the targeted schools will be briefed on the evaluation tools that will be applied prior to the process so that these schools be able to provide the documents and evidences required by the evaluation teams as well as acquainting them with the evaluation indicators and criteria.

The schools can also conduct self-evaluation by applying the evaluation tools and the classification office will offer assistance in this regard, the minister said.

Sulaiman bin Hamood al Harrasi, adviser to the minister of education for research and studies in-charge of the Private Schools Classification Office, said the classification of private schools will contribute to the improvement of the private schools, noting that the office held three meetings in which it reviewed the stages of the project and the procedural steps that were taken by the ministry to prepare the classification document. The office also reviewed the mechanisms for implementing the project during the upcoming period.

The office members will visit the directorates of education in the coming days to meet with the inspectors and representatives of private schools to brief them on the project.

Al Harrasi said the evaluation process will cover the following scopes: leadership and governance, school environment, education, health, safety and security, values and citizenship, social partnership and the financial capacity of the school.