Sultan Qaboos's first priority after taking office in 1970 was to fight against illiteracy. At that time there were only three primary schools in the country. He gave clear instructions to teach as many children as possible, "even if only in the shade of a tree."
Within the first 5 months of the reign of Sultan Qaboos 16 public elementary schools were established, and for the first time girls were included for education. In only five years there were 262 educational institutions in the country, including secondary schools and an institute for training teachers. The school and education system has been expanding ever since. Even for children in remote areas, transport to school was ensured -- by helicopter if necessary! Since the 1980's there are also various schools and training centers for people with disabilities.
In 1986 the first university was opened, the Sultan Qaboos University. Until 2000 it was the only university in the country. In the meanwhile, however, private universities have opened their doors in Muscat, Sohar, Nizwa and Salalah. There is also a growing assortment of public and private academies, colleges and other institutions of higher education.
Astonishing is the proportion of women at the technical universities: 40.5% And at the Sultan Qaboos University the proportion of women is even higher at around 50%. It could plausibly be even higher, but for certain courses a quota of seats has been reserved for men!
In addition to the state-run schools, there are 114 Islamic schools and 33 international schools.
In the academic year 2008/2009 there were 31,595 Omanis who studied abroad -- 13,177 of whom were women -- in 40 different countries.