Policies and Initiatives for the Internationalization of Higher Education in Oman

Policies and Initiatives for the Internationalization of Higher Education in Oman

Amna Hashim Hamdan Alzadjali
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5231-4.ch002
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This chapter studies the globalization of higher education in context of The Sultanate of Oman. It is a study on the understanding of internationalization of higher education which results in conclusions and recommendations on the enhancement of the future of internationalization of higher education in Oman. Internationalization of higher education is not new. In today's age of global knowledge and technology, an interconnected network and global awareness are increasingly viewed as major and sought-after assets. With the current labor market requiring graduates to have international, foreign language, and intercultural skills to be able to interact in a global setting, institutions such as World Trade Organization (WTO) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) are placing more importance on internationalization. Complying with WTO and GATS agreements, Oman had to liberalize its HE, open the door for foreign universities to have campuses inside its borders, and encourage outbound and inflow of students.
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Globalization, a key reality in the 21st century, has already profoundly influenced higher education. (...) We define globalization as the reality shaped by an increasingly integrated world economy, new information and communications technology, the emergence of an international knowledge network, the role of the English language, and other forces beyond the control of academic institutions (...). Internationalization is defined as the variety of policies and programs that universities and governments implement to respond to globalization. (Altbach, Reisberg & Rumbley 2009, 7).

No higher education (HE) system across the world nowadays is not experiencing some form of what is called ‘internationalisation’. Oman Higher Education adopted an international dimension to demarcate a position in the global arena. Decision-makers generated policies and executives inculcated procedures and inspired initiatives.


Globalisation / Internationalisation And Omani He

The education systems around the globe have been affected by globalisation processes. Omani system of education - including HE- is no exception and obviously has been reformed to meet the challenges of globalization (Al’Abri, 2011).

Oman HE system is keeping track of current global trends where education systems are linked across the globe. To go contemporary Oman HE is using modern theories. Modern theories are based on the concept that the organization or institution is an adaptive system which has to suit and adjust to changes in its environment. To run its HE business, Oman had to meet the demands of Higher Education Systems around the globe.

System approach includes the socio-technical approach, the contingency or situational approach, etc…to mention a few. System approach is based on the fact that the organization or institution has a system that has to adapt to the dynamics of its environment for the sake to be effective. (Hicks & Gullet, 1975).

Key Terms in this Chapter

ESL: A common abbreviation, it stands for “English as a second language.” Used to describe the programs that educate students who are not native English speakers and for describing the ESL students themselves.

WTO: World Trade Organization.

HEI: Higher education institutions.

GATS: General agreement on trade in services.

Internationalization: Refers to the increasing importance of international trade, international relations, treaties, alliances, etc.

Higher Education: An optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion of secondary education. Often delivered at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, conservatories, and institutes of technology, higher education is also available through certain college-level institutions, including vocational colleges, and other career colleges that award academic degrees or professional certifications.

HE: Higher education.

Policies: A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. It is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes.

Globalization: Considered by many to be the inevitable wave of the future.

UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

OAAA: Oman Academic Accreditation Authority.

HEP: Higher education private institutions.

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