Education plays a central role in the growth and development of all human societies. It is through education that individuals are able to gain the knowledge and skills they require to make rational decisions related to their present and future life choices. As a result, education is widely recognized as the starting point for all human activities and a requirement for the promotion of human interconnection. This concept is the substance and essence of iqra, the first word in the Quran revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him), which means to read or seek knowledge.
The care paid by the Sultanate of Oman to education is apparent throughout its history and in the achievements of its modern renaissance. It is further confirmed in the general objectives of the Basic Statute of the State which stipulates that education is a main pillar in the quest to progress Omani society and a guaranteed right for all Omani citizens. This has prompted the Omani government to work towards making education accessible to all Omanis all over the country. It has also endeavoured to provide the resources required to improve the quality of its systems, curricula and outcomes. The late Sultan Qaboos bin Said, may his soul rest in peace, paid paramount attention to the education sector, making it a top priority of his wise leadership. His Majesty believed that education is the basis for the sound upbringing of successive generations and for the progress and development of Omani society. He recognised that education is the main pillar for the development of national human resources as it helps to provide people with the capacities they require to contribute to the realization of the comprehensive development of the state.
In his inaugural address on 11th January 2020, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik Al Said pointed out that the late Sultan, may his soul rest in peace, “Built sturdy and constant frameworks for education, at all its levels and specialisations, that are tapped by generations of citizens who relished knowledge and expertise”. In addition, in a speech delivered on 23rd February 2020, His Majesty Sultan Haitham stressed the importance of education as one of the top national priorities in the future when he said “On top of our national priorities is the education sector, with all its types and levels. It will receive full attention, and it will be provided with the supporting environment which motivates research and innovation. We will also provide it with all means of empowerment, since it is the base upon which our children will be able to participate in meeting the requirements of the coming phase of development"
Based on this sound approach, the education development process continues with vigour to incorporate all types and levels of education and is led by specialized institutions, councils, authorities, working within an integrated system to provide first class education managed by the best practices in the field. Meanwhile, work on the improvement of educational programmes, plans, curricula and courses is on-going, as is the diversification of the methods and approaches related to educational assessment and evaluation. Efforts are also being made to promote services and approaches which support the teaching-learning process in a way that incorporates up-to-date technological and knowledge development in all fields, and allows interacting with scientific, cultural and social changes.
In 2012, the Sultanate of Oman’s efforts to develop and upgrade the education sector culminated in the establishment of the Education Council. The Education Council succeeded the Higher Education Council, which had served with distinction since its creation in 1998, thus becoming the umbrella under which all educational institutions operate. The Council is responsible for drawing up educational policies at all levels as well as directing, following-up and evaluating its plans and pathways in a way that matches the general policy of the State, meets the requirements of development and achieves the scientific, cultural, economic and social objectives of the country.
In the period since its establishment, the Education Council has made many achievements and embarked on a number of initiatives. At present, the Council is working on several projects aimed at making significant qualitative shifts across different education pathways, upgrading the practice of educators and promoting a culture of quality and improved performance.
It is generally accepted that the progress of all societies and the future wellbeing of all nations can only be achieved through the development of their human resources to enable their citizens to carry out their national responsibilities. Such a task requires significant investments and dedicated efforts in the field of capacity building and training by all parties and at all levels of education. This is rightly so as education has to be regarded as a national concern and a collective responsibility of individuals and families as well as of public institutions and private establishments. This calls upon us to work hard and cooperate in order to upgrade all types and levels of the educational system for the benefit of all citizens and the country as a whole in the quest to consolidate Oman’s international position and reputation.
Therefore, and through the Education Council website, we implore all to accept the responsibility to join in this endeavour in order to raise the level of educational outcomes to the desired standards.
Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud Al Busaidi
Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court
Chairman of the Education Council