Law Updates

Oman Issues New School Education Law

A royal decree came out this week promulgating the School Education Law emphasising the government’s commitment to realising Oman Vision 2040, which sets out education and learning as a national priority. This law is groundbreaking because it is primary legislation that creates a holistic framework for governing school education.

Previously, the only primary legislation dedicated to schools was Royal Decree 68/77 Establishing Private Schools, which consisted of 6 articles only. This royal decree has now been repealed by the royal decree promulgating the School Education Law. Other provisions governing school education can be found in secondary legislation—such as the Governance Regulation of Private Schools—which continue to operate to the degree that they do not contradict with the School Education Law.

The law encompasses many provisions that create a holistic framework for school education, including mandating the Ministry of Education to achieve the objective of education set out in the law, dedicating a whole part to special education, setting out provisions in relation to the educational environment in Oman, defining the rights and duties of students, and governing career progression for teachers, the managerial structure of schools, and pedagogical research, as well as student and school evaluation.

Interestingly, the law introduces criminal offences. For instance, parents who fail to enrol their child in school under specific circumstances (irrespective of nationality) can be sentenced to up to 3 months in prison and fined up to 1,000 Rial Omani, or sentenced to one of these two punishments. Even students, in certain circumstances such as cheating in exams, may face imprisonment for up to 30 days and a fine of up to 500 Rial Omani, or one of these two punishments, without prejudice to the Law on Juvenile Accountability.

The new School Education Law entered into force on Monday, 22 May 2023. It can be read in full in English at the link below: