The Higher Education Law (Royal Decree 27/2023) issued by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik on Thursday seeks to build specialized national competencies with globally competitive skills and capabilities that meet the needs of development plans and labour market requirements.
The law offers several incentives to private high educational institutions, which was published in the official gazette on Sunday.
Article 2 of the decree states that the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation shall issue the executive by law/regulation of the attached law, as well as the decisions necessary for the implementation of its provisions, within one year from the date of its publishing in the official gazette.
Till such time, the existing regulations and decisions shall continue to be enforced without prejudice to the provisions of the attached law or its provisions.
The law states the Arabic language is an official language in higher education institutions, and after the approval of the ministry, it is permitted to teach in other languages.
The law allows a foreign higher education institution to open one or more branches in the Sultanate of Oman, after the approval of the Council of Ministers and in accordance with the standards and requirements set forth in the regulations.
Anyone wishing to establish a non-governmental higher education institution must apply to the ministry in accordance with the conditions and procedures indicated in the regulations, and a licence is issued to establish the institution after the approval of the Council of Ministers.
Non-governmental higher education institutions must obtain the approval of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in case of modifying its legal form, modifying partners’ stakes, selling or ceding them, merger, division, acquisition, entry of new partners, or transfer of ownership, in accordance with to the controls indicated by the regulations.
A non-governmental higher education institution shall provide or construct buildings, facilities, and installations, in accordance with the standards and requirements indicated by the regulations, within a period of not exceeding five years from the date of licensing its establishment. The ministry may extend this period up to two years as a maximum.
The non-governmental higher education institution determines its financial and tuition fees as indicated in the regulation.
The ministry may authorise the establishment or merger of branches of a non-governmental higher education institution or change its classification in accordance with the standards and requirements set forth in the regulations.
A non-governmental higher education institution may not stop its activities except after obtaining written approval from the ministry in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the regulations.
The non-governmental institution of higher education shall be exempted from paying all taxes for a period of five years from the date of starting the activity, renewable for a similar period.
The law permits the provision of study programmes through the blended education system or the distance learning system, or through other educational methods, in accordance with the standards and requirements set forth in the regulations.