Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world.
Oman has had a special political and military relationship with Britain since the late 18th century, but it was never a colony. In fact, Oman – which is situated at the mouth of the Persian Gulf – is the oldest independent state in the Arab world. In 1970 its current sultan, Qaboos bin Said al-Said, overthrew his father in a palace coup. Since then the country has become less isolated and began to spend more on health and education. The economy, while heavily dependent on oil exports, is also buttressed by agriculture, fishing, and tourism. It has good relations with other countries in the region and no religious violence.
The interior of the country is very dry and arid, with temperatures during the summer that may exceed 50 C (122 F). Remarkable is the thermal gap between day and night. The average maximum temperature in the capital Muscat vary between 40 C (104 F) in June and 25 C (77 F) in January, the average minimum temperatures vary between 30 C (86 F) in June and 17 C (62 F) in January
Average annual rainfall is 80-100 mm (3 to 3.9 inches). In the north of the country, some areas of the northern Hajar mountains receive an annual average of 460 mm (18 inches) of rain. The southern region of Dhofar has milder temperatures and more temperate climate, with monsoon rains (khareef) between June and September. In this region, along the southern flank of the mountains fall annually more than 750 mm (29 inches) of rain, while along the coast average precipitation is 150 mm (6 inches).
Overview of Higher Education
The first institutions of higher education in Oman were founded in the 1980s.
Before embarking on undergraduate study, students must take a one-year preparatory course in English, information technology, and study skills. An additional four years of study are generally required for a bachelor’s degree. Students wishing to pursue a postgraduate degree may choose between a diploma and a master’s; a diploma is about half the work of a master’s. Doctorates, too, are awarded, but they are offered in few subjects.
In 2005 some 35,000 students were enrolled in 35 total institutions of higher education.
(Sources: BBC, The Europa World of Learning, Oman Ministry of Higher Education)
Number of Colleges, Universities, Technical Institutes
Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (total): 18
Number of Higher Education Students
Number of students enrolled: 69,000
Number of international students enrolled: 690
Ministry of Higher Education Building
Ruwi Street, Bayt Al Falaj, P.O. Box 82, Ruwi 112, Oman
Web site: http://www.mohe.gov.om
Phone: +968 24795400
Contact: Rawya Bint Saud Al-Busaidi, Minister of Higher Education