English Language Proficiency and Communicative Competence in Oman: Implications for Employability and Sustainable Development

Rahma Al-Mahrooqi*, Christopher Denman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Citations (Scopus)


Within the Sultanate of Oman, English, as the country’s only official foreign language, is in great demand by the job market. The language is taught in the majority of government schools from the first grade and is the dominant medium of instruction at the tertiary level. However, despite the huge amount of human and financial resources the government channels into supporting English language instruction, this investment has apparently failed to deliver the expected gains with both secondary- and tertiary-level graduates often reported as being weak in the language and as having communication skills that are inadequate for the workforce. This lack of English proficiency and communicative competence is commonly cited as one of the major causes of the high levels of unemployment among Omani graduates. This paper examines a number of issues related to the ways in which English language proficiency and communicative competence are developed in Omani schools and universities, with a focus on the challenges that exist within the government education system. The implications of these challenges for graduate employability and sustainable development are explored, before recommendations for bridging the gap between graduates’ English language skills and the demands of the workforce in Oman are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish Language Education
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameEnglish Language Education
ISSN (Print)2213-6967
ISSN (Electronic)2213-6975


  • Employability
  • English proficiency
  • Oman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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