Muscat: The Sultanate has adopted an approach for the sustainable development of higher education institutions.
They are required to have academic affiliation with elite foreign universities and this affiliation should include the study programmes and quality assurance.
As a result of this approach, many Omani students studying at the Omani higher education institutions get their university qualification from foreign universities.
The Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA) said due to this approach the Sultanate has come second at the Arab level and 22nd at the world level at the Sustainable Development Policies Index of the British Council in London report titled “The Shape of Global Higher Education”.
These foreign qualifications are approved by the Ministry of Higher Education in the Sultanate as it is the case with the qualifications granted locally. These qualifications are appreciated by the local employers in the public and private sectors.
The report pointed out that contrary to some other countries the Sultanate makes the academic affiliation agreement between the Omani higher education institutions and foreign universities subject to reliable quality assurance process under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education and OAAA.
While this academic accreditation by OAAA ensures accreditation of the quality systems of the foreign universities, it takes also into consideration national priorities, such as employability and Omanisation.
The statement affirmed that OAAA encourages the Omani higher education institutions to establish relations with other higher education institutions for specified purposes, such as research, benchmarking and sharing resources, as well as student and staff exchange.
The statement added that higher educational institutions receive a growing number of foreign students and that OAAA encourages providing effective services to attract more foreign students to study in the Sultanate.
The statement noted that OAAA promotes the international efforts made to enhance excellence in higher education.
The academic accreditation enhances the international participation and augments the national efforts made to increase the percentage of the Omani academics at the local higher education institutions. The statement affirmed that the Omani establishments reap considerable benefits from its international cadres.
OAAA affirmed that the Ministry of Higher Education alongside with OAAA seek to enhance international participation by implementing mechanisms that help in ensuring quality of the staff and the supportive services provided to them.