Student teachers’ perceptions on the selection criteria of English language teachers in the Sultanate of Oman: Implications for policy reconsideration

Ali Al-Issa, Ali Al-Bulushi, Rima Al-Zadjali


Proficiency of the English language has been described as central for determining Non-Native English Speaking Teachers (N-NESTs) selection for joining the profession.  The Ministry of Education in the Sultanate of Oman decided to set the score of Band 6 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for accepting the English Language Teaching (ELT) graduates of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) as full-time teachers. The decision has generated significant debate and controversy amongst those involved in the Omani ELT system. This qualitative content analysis study hence triangulates data from interviews and the relevant literature about the different language proficiency measurement devices to determine the selection of SQU graduates to join the ELT force. The findings show that the Ministry of Education needs to rethink the decision of opting for the IELTS as a valid and reliable selection criterion. The results have important implications for setting selection criteria of becoming an English language teacher in the Sultanate of Oman and beyond.


English language teaching; student teachers; IELTS; GPA; interview; reliability; validity

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