The Perspectives of Academic Leaders on Positioning Higher Education for the Knowledge Economy in Oman: Challenges and Opportunities

  •  Saif Al Weshahi    


Oman Vision 2040 strives to continue shifting the country from an oil to a non-oil-based economy by emphasizing the value of diversification in HEIs. This study aims to provide in-depth insights into implementing the knowledge economy strategy in Oman's higher education system and uses a case study methodology, draws on thematic analysis, and adopts an interpretive perspective employing semi-structured interviews conducted with the dean, assistant deans, and heads of academic departments. The study manifests a common sense among the academic leaders that espousing the policy of the KE in HE is agreed upon. This approbation of KE is ascribed to the discrepancy between developed and developing countries concerning the reality of the higher education systems and the embedded influence of neoliberalism. The study identifies the four fundamental pillars of KE in HE, whereby the study could interpret the existing educational leadership style undertaken and speculate on its future directions. The research indicates three obstacles facing educational leadership; challenges of practicing leadership, lack sustainable system (within the college), and external factors (beyond the college). It also unveils two significant benefits: preparing students for employment in the private sector will reduce the burden on the government to provide careers. Second, the potential reciprocal gains that are pursued in industry and HEIs through funding research, reviewing curriculum and learning outcomes together, and offering a hands-on approach to tackle challenges confronting the national labor market.

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