Challenges Faced by Students during COVID-19 in Higher Education Institutions in the Sultanate of Oman

Azzah Al-Maskari, Thuraya Al Riyami, Siraj kunjumuhammed


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person classes were suspended worldwide, which has forced educational institutions to shift from face-to-face instruction to online learning. This study examines students’ perceptions of support provided by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the Sultanate of Oman during online learning in Spring 2020. It also highlights challenges encountered by students during this sudden shift. Eleven thousand one hundred eighty-one students from different HEIs participated in a national online questionnaire. The findings from this study revealed that, in general, students have reported being moderately satisfied with the support provided by their HEIs. Students' main challenges include inadequate internet connection, poor quality of audio /video during online teaching, and inability to interact successfully with faculty during online teaching. Moreover, having multiple people living in the same house (large family size) caused more challenges for students to find suitable places to study, acquire the necessary equipment, and have an adequate internet connection. Furthermore, students are highly concerned about not completing the academic semester and not graduating on time. As online education has become inevitable, HEIs need to organize more online learning capacity-building programs to accommodate faculty and students and increase student engagement. It is also vital for HEIs to provide equal education opportunities that cater to all learners' needs and living conditions irrespective of their economic, social status, and region (rural or urban).

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