Muscat – In an effort to elevate Oman’s standing in the global education arena, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MoHERI) has set out on an ambitious course to position at least four of its private universities among the top 500 in the QS World University Rankings. This goal forms a cornerstone of the broader Oman Vision 2040 strategy.
Shedding light on this goal, Dr Maryam al Nabhani, Director General of Directorate General of Private Universities and Colleges, said, “We’ve launched several initiatives, notably workshops aimed at elevating our institutions’ international rankings.”
Emphasising the strategic importance of this goal, Maryam highlighted the formation of a specialised working group, chaired by the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. This group delves into individual university plans for ascending the QS rankings and devises strategies to tackle inherent challenges.
“But it’s not just about rankings. We are deeply invested in fostering an environment of academic excellence and refining teaching methodologies in private higher education institutions,” Maryam informed.
In a noteworthy achievement for 2023, Oman witnessed the inclusion of five private universities in the QS Ranking of Arab Universities. University of Nizwa is ranked 81-90, followed by National University of Science and Technology (101-110), Dhofar University and German University of Technology (111-120), and Sohar University (121-130).
Maryam told ONA of the ministry’s extensive oversight of 27 educational entities. “Our role is multifaceted – from nurturing performance and enhancing services to ensuring compliance with established regulations.”
MoHERI’s robust framework, built on a plethora of policies and procedures, focuses on aligning private higher education institutions with both local and international benchmarks. A rigorous regulatory environment, underpinned by regular licensing and meticulous governance system assessments, ensures institutions maintain exemplary standards. “We conduct field visits regularly. It’s imperative to understand the ground reality, ensuring that policies are not just formulated but effectively implemented.”
On institutional evaluation, Maryam said, “Every five years, we assess these institutions. Only those meeting specific criteria and upholding the national qualifications framework are awarded accreditation.”
Detailing the ministry’s role in academic programme quality assurance, Maryam said, “Our directorate rigorously reviews new academic programme proposals.” She stressed MoHERI’s holistic approach, leveraging tools like stakeholder surveys and external evaluations, to ensure that Oman’s education sector remains responsive and ever evolving.