Muscat: Teachers hired by private schools are not competent enough to impart quality education at the highest level and parents are fuming that it is no longer worth the high fees they pay for their children's education.
According to the official statistics, there are over 120 private schools across the country receiving around 30,000 new students every academic year. In contrast, there are some 2,000 government schools nationwide registering around 550,000 new students annually.
"I believe private schools cut expenses by hiring less qualified teachers but they increase tuition fees every academic year. Owners are now driven by greed, instead of dispensing good education," Ahmed Al Harthy, father of a 17-year-old girl who is doing her final year at one of the private schools in Muscat, told Times of Oman.
For legal reasons, Times of Oman has withheld the names of the private schools accused of delivering 'sub-standard education.' With teachers of private schools lacking teaching skills, parents say their children struggle when they start higher education.
"In the college, my son had to go through a foundation course to study elementary subjects such as Physics, Maths and English because the high-profile private school where he studied for more than 12 years, did not do a good job," complained Maryam Al Hooti, the mother of an 18-year college freshman.
Teachers associated with higher education confirmed that they receive students from private schools who are not fully prepared for degree studies. "These students are below par when it comes to the basic skills. Their English language is very poor and Maths is not up to the standard. One wonders what they really teach in these fancy private schools?" pointed out Dr Saleh Ismail, while declining to name the educational institution where he is teaching.
Parents say the top private schools are far more expensive than the colleges that award degrees. "I have paid RO4,500 fee for my son's final year at school, while parents pay RO3,000 per year for their children in one of the most expensive colleges of the country. It seems that as they go up higher in the education field, parents pay less. We don't mind paying more at lower levels but they must recruit competent teachers," Hamza Al Farsi, a construction company owner, told Times of Oman.
Apart from using "novice" teachers and employing those who have no relevant educational degrees, parents also complain about hiring "principals with little experience".