The language planning situation in the Sultanate of Oman

Ali S.M. Al-Issa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the language planning situation in the Sultanate of Oman with emphasis on the planning of Arabic, English, French and German, and their choice and spread in serving different interests and purposes. The paper explores the historical, social, political, and ideological processes and complexities of the language policy and planning (LPP) situation in the Sultanate. The discussion attempts to show that language planning, as carried out by the elites, is top-down and ideologically oriented and motivated, as it favors certain knowledge and traditions, while marginalizing and oppressing others. A brief introductory history of Oman is followed by an account of the language profile of the country. The paper then examines the role of Language in Education Planning (LEP) in the spread of Arabic, English, French, and German in schools and higher education. It concludes that there is an ideological struggle, contest, and conflict at the LEP level resulting in a lack of strategic planning and organized effort affecting language choice, language spread, language contact, language preservation, language maintenance, and language shift. Finally, the paper recommends avenues for further research and ways forward for LPP and LEP in Oman. Abbreviations: AALIM: Arab American Language Institute in Morocco; ACTFL: American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; AFL: Arabic as a Foreign Language; ALT: Arabic Language Teaching; BES: Basic Education System; BTEC: Business and Technology Education Council; CA: Colloquial Arabic; CEFR: Common European Framework; CELTA: Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults; CfBT: Center for British Teachers; CFO: Centre Franco Omanais; CLS: Critical Language Scholarship; CLT: Communicative Language Teaching; CoE: College of Education; DAAD: German Academic Exchange Service; DALF: DiplômeApprofondi de Langue Française; DELF: Diplômed’Etudes en Langue Française; DELTA: Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults; ELT: English Language Teaching; EMI: English-medium instruction; FPEL: Foundation Program English Language; EU: European Union; GCCC: Gulf Cooperation Council Countries; GFP: General Foundation Program; GPA: Gulf Pidgin Arabic; GUtech: German University of Technology; H: High; ICC: Intercultural Communicative Competence; IELTS: International English Language Testing System; IESCO: Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; IGCSE: International General Certificate of Secondary Education; KSA: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; L: Low; LEP: Language in Education Planning; LPP: Language Policy and Planning; LWC: Language of Wider Communication; MENA: Middle East and North Africa; MoE: Ministry of Education; MoHE: Ministry of Higher Education; MSA: Modern Standard Arabic; NCATE: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; NRAA: National Records and Archive Authority; OAAA: Oman Academic Accreditation Authority; OIF: International Agency of La Francophonie; OPA: Oman Pidgin Arabic; OPEC: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries; PDO: Petroleum Development Oman; PFLOAG: Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arabian Gulf; PHEIs: Private Higher Education Institutions; QA: Quranic Arabic; RWTH: Rheinisch-WestfälischeTechnischeHochschule; SCPTT: Specialized Centre for Professional Training of Teachers; SQU: Sultan Qaboos University; TCF: Test de connaissance du Français; TEF: Test d’ Evaluation de Francais; TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language; TOEIC: Test of English for International Communication; TVET: Technological Vocational Education and Training; UAE: United Arab Emirates; UN: United Nation; UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; ZD: Zertifikat Deutsch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-414
Number of pages68
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 7 2020


  • Arabic
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Language policy and planning
  • language in education planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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