Classifieds powered by Gulf News

Non-Omanis in government schools to pay fees

Low-income Arab expats bound to feel the pinch

Gulf News

Muscat: The Ministry of Education (MoE) said all non-Omani students enrolling in government schools have to pay registration and yearly fees effective from February 7. They will be required to pay 50 riyals (Dh477) on enrolment, 100 riyals annually as school fees and 25 riyals annually for transportation. No further details were provided.

Mohammad Mustafa, an Egyptian teacher at a government school in Muscat, told Gulf News Arab expatriate residents will be impacted following the new decision. “I have three children studying in government schools for free. Now, I will have to pay for their education from the next academic year,” he said.

He added that some Arab expats cannot afford to pay fees as they are low-income workers in the country.

No official from the Ministry was available for comment.

In addition to the new decision on fees for non-Omanis, fees for applying to start a global school has been increased to 400 riyals from 200 riyals; the fees for renewing a global school licence is now 600 riyals. The fees for application to set up an international community school is 1,000 riyals, with the same amount for renewing the licence.

The total fees for applying to set up a private school, licence and renewal is 300 riyals.

Until now, education in Oman was free for both Omanis and expats until secondary level in government schools, though attendance is not mandatory at any level. In 1970, there were only three formal schools with 900 students in the entire country.

The number of students in schools across the sultanate touched 724,395 in the 2015-16 academic year, while the number of teachers stood at 67,901, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information.

Public (government) schools account for 540,068 students or 74.6 per cent of the total number of students, while the share of private schools is 14.1 per cent with 101,860.

There are currently 1,080 government schools in Oman, according to Ministry figures.