A Student Perspective on Low English Proficiency in Oman

  •  Rahma Al-Mahrooqi    


The Omani government attaches great importance to English in the education of Omani youth and their preparation for a multicultural world of employment. It has therefore poured large resources into English language teaching in the nation’s schools, colleges and universities. Unfortunately, these efforts have not yielded gains proportionate to this investment. Students continue to graduate from schools with inadequate English language proficiency and the majority therefore require remedial or intensive courses in a “foundation” program before beginning tertiary level study. Based on a student perspective, this study investigated the above problem. Using data from focus groups and personal reports (based on a qualitative questionnaire) from 100 tertiary education students, it found that the major factors involved were as follows: ineffective teachers, inadequate curricula, uninterested students, limited exposure to English outside the classroom, unsupportive parents, a poor school system, and peer-group discouragement. Participants suggested a number of solutions and especially encouraging students to learn English by showing them its international status and its importance for their future education and employment.

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