Educational reform in Oman : policy context and teachers' attitudes
The purpose of the study was to explore the main problems that
teachers encounter in their daily lives in the Omani schools. Despite
teachers problems have been researched in many developing and
developed nations, these problems have up until now never been
researched in Omani schools.
The relevant research indicated that teachers are adversely affected by
the economic and social conditions of a society, which in turn affect
their roles and affects pupils' academic performance as well. This was
indicated in the experience of some Asian and European nations. As a
result, to solve and improve performance, developed and some
developing nations made serious attempts to reform teacher's social
and economic status. Also, they went further by refOrming school
environment (e,g, reducing class size) and enhancing the home school
relationship as an important issue in refOrming educational poliCies.
The ideas for this research were based on the World Bank and
Ministry of Education reports that identified problems in the
educational system in Oman.
To explore the main problems that affect teachers' performance, the
researcher selected a large sample (50/0 of the total population of male
teachers) of teachers (as the main sample in the study). the total
population of the principals of educational areas, and purposive
samples of parents, schools principals and school teachers.
The study used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods
to reveal the problems that were investigated. The questionnaires were
handled to teachers and the principals of the educational areas. Semistructured
interviews were also used with teachers, parents and
The outcomes of the field survey indicated that teachers have a good
relationship with the schools' principals and with their colleagues as
well. By contrast, the majority of teachers in the sample are
dissatisfied with the salary, the annual salary increment and the
opportunities of in-service training.
Teachers also indicated that large class size produces adverse effects
on teaching practice and on the Omani pupils' academic performance.
With regard to the Omani pupils' performance, teachers indicated that
the aspects that are most affected by large class size are: amount of
individual attention, the assessment and standard of work. Teachers
considered the issue of class size as one of, or indeed the most
important issue for them and for enhancing the academic
performance of the Omani pupil's performance.
Teachers indicated that they are dissatisfied with Omani parents
contact with school. They attributed the lack of home-contact with the
school to many factors, e,g. illiteracy among parents. disregarding of
the value of education for the future of their sons.The principals of the educational areas emphasised the same issues
that teachers raised in the questionnaire namely: weak home contact
with the school. large class size and lack of in-service training.
The semi-structured interviews revealed that Omani parents are
dissatisfied with the perfonnance of the Omani teachers. Also. they
indicated that the lack of the necessary facilities and curricula
improvements, are serious problems that have adverse effects on
teachers' and Omani pupils' perfonnance.
Schools principals believe that the economic condition of Omani
families and ignorance among Omani parents are serious social
impediments that hamper them from contacting schools and to followup
their child's academic progress. Alongside these home-school
problems, the school principals indicated that the Omani pupils
perfonnance has been worsening and the Ministry of Education must
introduce an effective policies that support and enhance teachers
perfonnance and improve the Omani parents awareness of the value
The outcomes of the teachers' semi-structured interviews indicated
that most of them are not optimistic about the future of education in
Oman unless the Ministry of Education introduces qualitative
It was concluded that there was an urgent need for an appropriate
balanced policy that takes into account the point that expanding the
educational services must not be at the expense of the quality of
education system in Oman. Also, I concluded that refOrming teachers'
status and teaching perfonnance must be the starting point in any
prospective improvements policy. Moreover, I concluded that
improving the social awareness of the Omani parents of the
importance of education must be an essential input in improving the
perfonnance of the Omani pupil perfonnance and to bridge the gulf
between the home and the school.