This article is about the demographic features of the population of Oman, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population. About 50% of the population in Oman lives in Muscat and the Batinah coastal plain northwest of the capital; about 200,000 live in the Dhofar (southern) region; and about 30,000 live in the remote Musandam Peninsula on the Strait of Hormuz. Some 2 million (45% of entire population) expatriates live in Oman, most of whom are workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Jordan, and the Philippines. Since 1970, the government has given high priority to education in order to develop a domestic work force, which the government considers a vital factor in the country's economic and social progress. In 1986, Oman's first university, Sultan Qaboos University, opened. Other post secondary institutions include a law school, technical college, banking institute, teachers' training college, and health sciences institute. Some 200 scholarships are awarded each year for study abroad. Nine private colleges exist, providing two-year post secondary diplomas. Since 1999, the government has embarked on reforms in higher education designed to meet the needs of a growing population. Under the reformed system, four public regional universities were created, and incentives are provided by the government to promote the upgrading of the existing nine private colleges and the creation of other degree-granting private colleges.
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