While e-learning is gaining more popularity in Oman, authorities warn that students join educational institutions that are approved by Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE). “The educational institution must be among the list of recommended e-learning centres by MoHE”, says a notification.
Students must get a written approval from the ministry, before joining any institution of higher education and academic programmes and study mode in those institutions must be approved by MoHE.
E-learning also called distance education in Oman aims to provide training and education programmes via the Internet in a synchronous and non-synchronous manner.
“The Qualification Equivalency Committee at the ministry has the full right not to do any equation of qualifications issued by any institution that does not get the written approval”, says the notification.
It also warns that students are not allowed to study e-learning for any programme that requires the acquisition of practical skills.
“These courses include those which have medical nature, clinical and health assistance programmes, engineering programmes or specialised programmes such as fellowships that require the total attendance at the educational institution system.
E-learning or distance education, terms now widely used to describe the pursuit of an education or degree via an online format, has been around for more than three decades.
But it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that this form of education and learning really blossomed, both in the quality of the programmes and their popularity among students.
As access to the Internet grew, many Omani colleges and universities began to incorporate distance learning into their higher education system, and as they quickly discovered, this form of educational delivery has many advantages.
School administrators reveal that over 80 per cent of students in Omani colleges and universities now take at least a portion of their education through an online format — a percentage expected to gradually increase over the next five to ten years
Reports indicate that Oman’s online education and e-learning market is expected to showcase significant growth over the period from 2017 to 2023.
According to a recent report by Bharat Book Bureau, this is mainly because the government of Oman is interested in issues relating to education and computer literacy and is investing heavily in the sector.
A report by online recruitment firm Gulf Talent said that professional training courses delivered online are rapidly increasing in popularity across the Middle East.
At the same time, the report pointed the supply of suitable courses is failing to keep up with rising demand. Surveyed countries included the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.
The Bharat Book Bureau report said that the Middle East Online Education market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth of 9.8 per cent during the period.
The market growth is likely to be driven by the huge government investment and rapid adoption of online education and e-learning by educational institutes and corporate organisations.