MUSCAT: With around 6 per cent of students dropping out of higher education institutions in Oman, authorities have called for a joint effort to address the issue, saying it is exerting a burden on the country’s financial and human resources.
“The dropout rate in higher education institutions in Oman reached 6 per cent of the total enrolled students in the academic year of 2013-2014,” Minister of Higher Education Dr. Rawya Saud Al Busaidi said in an interview with Times of Oman.
According to the data from the ministry’s Higher Education Statistical System, 7,388 students left their studies at higher education institutions during the 2013-2014 academic year. Out of this number, 2,532 were female and 4,856 were male.
The data does not include students of vocational training centres institutes and those granted external scholarships.
Commenting on the reasons for the high dropout rate, the minister said student-related factors seem to be the main cause for dropouts, with the most common reasons being academic failure, bad behaviour, lack of desire to study, employment, and financial inability to pay the fees.
Data for the 2013-2014 academic year showed that 692 students (152 female and 540 male) dropped out due to academic failure, 16 (three female and 13 male) due to death, and 1,044 (153 female and 891 male) due to exclusion for immoral reasons or reasons other than academic failure.
A total of 106 students (20 female and 86 male) left their studies due to financial reasons, 1,506 (508 female and 998 male) due to interruption of study, and 2,150 (970 female and 1,180 male) for other personal reasons.
A lack of desire to continue studying was cited by 1,600 students (662 female and 938 male), who dropped out of higher education institutions, while the reason provided by 172 (9 female and 163 male) was employment.
Health reasons caused 101 students (54 female and 47 male) to drop out, while one female student dropped out because she exceeded the allocated time limit for completing her studies.
The minister said she believed the dropout problem had negatively affected society as the dropouts have not only missed the opportunity to study themselves, but have also taken the opportunity away from others by occupying seats that could have been otherwise utilised, in a better way.
“In fact, this is a burden on financial and human resources, and time. Usually, the students who stay unemployed by doing are a financial burden on their parents,” Minister Al Busaidi noted.
She also called for a collaborative effort to decrease the number of students who drop out of higher education institutions.
Families should continuously follow up the students’ study progress and encourage them to continue academically until graduation, while providing continued parental support, the minister said.
“Ministries, authorities and institutions in charge of higher education should improve the academic environment in terms of teaching quality, challenges and academic workload. They should also provide adequate academic support and counselling services, health care and financial resources,” she added.