Law Updates

Oman Issues New Higher Education Law

A royal decree came out last week promulgating a brand new Higher Education Law that creates a holistic framework for governing higher education in Oman as opposed to the piecemeal approach found in the previous legal framework that governed private universities, private colleges, and scholarships separately.

The new Higher Education Law repeals the System of Private Universities of 1999, Royal Decree 42/99 regarding the Establishment of Private Colleges and Higher Institutes, and the Educational Scholarships, Grants, and Aid Law of 2002, and instead creates a unified approach for governing higher education in Oman. The new law regulates both public and private sector higher education establishments collectively and provides a general framework for higher education scholarships.

Even though this new law repeals three separate legal instruments, it is relatively short as it delegates many issues to the executive regulation, especially in regard to scholarship matters, which are now merely governed by four articles in this law.

Under the new law, a private higher education establishment is required to have its facilities ready for operation within a maximum period of 5 years and to have a board of trustees separate from its board of directors. The law prohibits the chairman of the board of directors to simultaneously hold the position of the chairman of the board of trustees of the university.

The royal decree promulgating the new Higher Education Law makes no reference to Royal Decree 67/2000, which granted certain exemptions and privileges to higher education establishments, and it is not clear if these provisions still apply or were implicitly repealed by the new law, which only makes mention of the tax exemption granted to higher education establishment for a period of five years renewable for an additional five years period.

The new Higher Education Law enters into force today. It can be read in full in English at the link below: