This is being seen as a positive indicator of country’s achievements in childcare.
The figures, which have been released about children, are first in a series of statistics issued by NCSI this year. They show that the birth rate rose by 21.8 per cent between 2012 and 2016 to be 33.7 live births per thousand. The total fertility rate of women was four per cent in the age group of 15 and 49 years compared with 3.7 live birth to a woman in the year 2012.
In 2016, the infant mortality rate was 11.7 children per 1,000 live births while the under five mortality rate was 9.2 children per 1,000 live births.
The proportion of children born below the normal birth weight decreased slightly in recent years, reaching 9.4 per cent in 2016, compared with 9.5 per cent in 2012 whereas the ratio of children under five years of age who suffer from calorie-related malnutrition reached 1.8 per cent in 2016; which was 4.6 per cent in 2012. The number of diarrhoeal diseases among children under five years, as registered by the Ministry of Health, was 232 per 1,000 children in 2016, compared to 254 in 2012.
A total of 92 cases of overweight and obesity among children under five were registered in 2016. Of them 67.4 per cent were male and 32.6 per cent female. About 47 per cent of children under five years were found obese in the Governorate of North Batinah, followed by 13 per cent in the Governorate of South Batinah and 11 per cent in the Governorate of North Sharqiyah. There were no such cases registered in the Governorates of Musandam and Al Wusta.
The number of children with disabilities stood at 8,381 in the year 2016. It was 24 per cent of the disabled cardholders. Al Wafa Rehabilitation Centres for Disabled Children receive both male and female children between the age group of 2-14 who have various disabilities, such as minor and moderate mental disabilities, and disabilities in movement. The number of these centres has reached 26, which is spread in all governorates of the sultanate where there were 1,994 children enrolled by the end of 2016.
In addition, there are 11 centres of the Association for the Welfare of Handicapped Children where 360 were enrolled in 2016. Of these 208 were males and 152 females.
With regards to the situation of education, the data for the academic year 2015-16 indicates that the number of students enrolled in schools reached 567,607, which is a gross enrolment rate of 101.4 per cent in grades 1-9 and 95.4 per cent in grades 10-12. The net enrolment ratio for grades 1-6 was 98.3 per cent. For grades 7-9, it was 95.6 per cent whereas for grades 10-12, it was 85.6 per cent.
During the academic year 2016-17, there were 48,630 students enrolled in kindergartens who constituted 4.8 per cent of the total children of the sultanate. Around 96 per cent of children of the country were enrolled in the kindergartens of private schools.
In 2016, 6,997 children enrolled in Omani Women’s Associations facilities. The number of children enrolled in nurseries reached 8,100 whereas the number of children enrolled in child development homes was 1,287. There were 439 children enrolled in the rural development centres, 269 with the nursing families and 135 in the childcare centres.
The number of children who visited museums reached 42,029 in 2016.
The majority of them, with 82 per cent, visited the National Museum, the Children’s Museum, the Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum and the Museum of Natural History. The television and radio broadcasting hours for children’s programmes was 2,468 hours in 2016. The ratio of such government and private television programmes reached 86 per cent.
The number of juvenile offenders in the age group of 9-17 years was 765, which is 3.7 per cent of the total number of offenders in 2016. It is a decrease of 12.7 per cent over the number in 2015. From among these juvenile delinquents, 95 per cent males were found involved in money-related crimes.