MUSCAT: The need for expatriate teachers in the Sultanate cannot be attributed to the closure of education colleges but rather to natural developments in society and the educational system, said Saud bin Salim al Balushi, Under-Secretary, Educational Planning and Human Resources Development, Ministry of Education.
In an interview, Al Balushi said there is still a need for teachers, Omanis or non-Omanis. He, however, said the “closure of education colleges was justified”. It took ten years to absorb the available education graduates, following which the need arose for graduates in certain specifications.
Al Balushi, who is also the chairman of a committee tasked with the administrative procedures for the preparation and qualification of teachers, said previously there were seven educational colleges. A total of 1,400 graduates passed out of these colleges every year.
This number met the needs of schools and in case of any shortage, the ministry recruited teachers from other countries. Consequently, the number of educational graduates surpassed the need for teachers.
In 2007, 20,000 education graduates were awaiting appointment at the government schools. Hence, these six colleges were turned into colleges of applied sciences.
Al Balushi said the Ministry of Education is working to develop the education profession in accordance with the national framework, which seeks to “make education a profession rather than a job”.
The ministry accords special attention to the provision of educational cadre in Oman’s schools from educational colleges and institutions inside and outside of the Sultanate. He dwelt on the ministry’s plans for preparation/ qualification of teachers and the actual need for teachers and programmes being implemented for training Omani teachers.