First: Technical Education at the Colleges of Technology:

Technical education is one of the main components of higher education in Oman. It aims at developing high quality national human resources by preparing and qualifying secondary school graduates according to the needs of the labour market. It offers a range of specializations such as Engineering, Information Technology, Business, Applied Sciences, Pharmacy, Photography and Fashion Design.

The Ministry of Manpower oversees and manages technical education in all seven Colleges of Technology in the Sultanate. The Higher College of Technology offers Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Bachelor Technology qualifications. The other six colleges, located in Musanna, Nizwa, Ibra, Shinas, Ibri and Salalah, offer only Diploma and Higher Diploma qualifications.

Vision of the Colleges of Technology:

The colleges of technology aspire to be leading technical institutions, endeavoring to provide high-quality teaching and learning environments, and to empower and build Oman capacities for the future in order to contribute to the national economic and social development.

Message of the Colleges of Technology:

The colleges of technologies aim to deliver high-quality student-based higher education to build the capacities of competitive, confident graduates and furnish them with robust technical knowledge and competencies and a strong character. This will qualify them to lead a successful life and to effectively contribute to the country’s development.

Goals of the Colleges of Technology:

Evolution of Technical Education:

Technical education is one of the oldest academic systems in Oman. It was created in 1984 through the establishment of one college: the Oman Technical Industrial College. Later, four vocational training centers where transformed into industrial technical colleges in Musanna, Nizwa, Ibra and Salalah. In 2001, the Technical Industrial Colleges were renamed and upgraded into five colleges of technology, one of which is the Higher College of Technology in Muscat, which offers a Bachelor of Technology. Two more colleges were added: the Shinas College of Technology in 2005 and the Ibri College of Technology in 2007. Technical education first began with an initial student enrollment of 65 male and female students. Now, the annual average number of students is 10,000 male and female students who graduated with a General Education Diploma, accounting for 38% of all students enrolled under government coverage in Oman. The number of enrolled students in all of the seven colleges of technology is 40,000 male and female students. As for the 2015/2016 academic year, there were 5485 graduates across all disciplines.

To address the increased demand and accommodate the large number of students, providing them with financial, educational, and human resources support, and to furnish this increase with Omani and non-Omani educational, training, and technical cadres of high qualitative and quantitative value, the Ministry has worked on expanding the infrastructure of the colleges of technology. The expansion involved the buildings; services, educational, and training facilities; laboratories for engineering; computer labs; workshops; factories and more. The Ministry also strived to have available adequate educational resources furnished with state-of-the-art devices and equipment; various educational techniques; and cutting-edge computers. Furthermore, it focused on developing and using open electronic references and sources, presentation equipment, smart boards, audio-visual devices, and more, to facilitate the teaching and learning process. The Ministry developed the computer networks and systems to a speed of (100 Mb/s) in all faculties across the governorates and to a speed of (155 Mb/s) at the Higher College of Technology. Channeling focus to the national cadres, the ministry provided trainings through workshops, training sessions, capacity-building programs, and missions.

Majors and Qualifications:

The Ministry, in cooperation and coordination with the labor market, offers an array of programs and majors that match the market’s needs for technical and vocational skills. The current available programs across the colleges of technology are seven (7) comprising a total of (39) accredited majors as shown in table (1) below. The joint technical education programs, available at all faculties, are three (3): engineering with (16) accredited majors making up 41% of the total; information technology with (7) majors making up 18% of the total, and business studies with a similar number of majors and percentage as the information technology. The Higher College of Technology offers, in addition to the aforementioned programs, applied science programs making up 15% of the total, and pharmacy, photography, and fashion design, making up altogether 8% of the total number of programs. Based on the economic indicators presented in the Ministry of Manpower’s 2015 annual report, the aforementioned percentages match the needs of the labor market for these specializations. The report’s figures show that the ongoing workforce is concentrated in the construction sector (44%), and manufacturing industries (13,3%), mainly the engineering disciplines.

All the colleges of technology offer diplomas and advanced diplomas in the abovementioned majors. Uniquely, the Higher College of Technology offers a Bachelor of Technology in all majors except for photography, fashion design, pharmacy, and some engineering majors such as refrigerating and air-conditioning, and oil and gas engineering. It is worth mentioning that at the colleges of technology, the different degrees require that students fulfill the requirements shown in figure (1) and undergo an on-the-job training at private sector facilities. Trainings are viewed as an essential part of the educational process, meant to prepare the students for the labor market. A period of eight (8) weeks of training, relevant to the pursued major, is required at a private or public sector facility (a minimum of 300 hours of training), under the joint supervision and assessment of officials at the facilities and colleges of technology.

Accredited Majors Available at Colleges of technology for the Academic Year (2015/2016)

No. Specializations No. Specializations
Engineer Program
1 Architecture 9 Civil Engineering
2 Computer Engineering 10 Electronics & Communication
3 Industrial Engineering 11 Chemical Engineering
4 Electric Engineering 12 Mechanical Engineering
5 Topographic Engineering 13 Engineering Drawing
6 Medical Devices Engineering 14 Quantity Surveying
7 Oil & Gas Engineering 15 Air-conditioning & Cooling 
8 Mechatronics Engineering   Aeronautical Engineering
Information Technology programs
16 Information Technology 20 Internet & Electronic Security
17 Information Systems 21 Networks
18 Data Bases 22 Multi Media*
19 Software Engineering    
Business Studies Programs
23 Office Management 27 Human Resources Management
24 Marketing 28 E-Business Management
25 Accounting 29 Legal Insurance 
26 Certified Accounting Technicians    
30 Applied Biology 33 School Laboratories
31 Environmental Studies 34
Occupational Safety and Health
32 Applied Chemistry 35
Industrial Health
Science Programs and Other Majors
36 Pharmacist Assistants 38 Fashion Design
37 Photography    


* Temporarily discontinued based on the market’s needs

** Available based on the availability of resources and demand
Figure 1

Quality of Technical Education:

The educational process, activities, and events at the colleges of technology are compliant with the quality regulations applicable in the higher education institutions. These regulations are based on the quality standards issued by the Oman Academic Accreditation Authority. Quality-control committees supervise quality at the faculties and the Ministry’s Quality Department. The latter reviews the quality reports and conducts regular monitoring visits to the colleges. Furthermore, the Directorate-General of Technical Education supervises the development of practical education systems and policies and their related activities. Based on this, all the colleges had completed the first phase of the Oman Academic Accreditation Authority’s institutional accreditation between the years 2010 and 2014. The colleges of technology are currently independently leading the self-evaluation process in accordance with the standards of the institutional accreditation as part of the second phase of accreditation scheduled to be completed in 2018-2019.

Reinforce Student Participation in Educational Process in Technical Education Sector

The Ministry ensures an enabling educational environment, engaging the students in the development of the educational process at the colleges of technology. This is done through soliciting and addressing their constructive opinions and proposals; opening communication and dialogue channels with them; and encouraging their research projects and innovations. Such steps are made possible through the following:
Student Councils: Reinforce the work and role of the students’ council, and encourage entrepreneurship, paving the road for self-development and sponsoring their innovations and research projects.
Annual Student Meetings: Every year, students’ meetings are held at a college of technology to improve the culture of initiative and entrepreneurship and create a sense of positive competition among students and encourage them to exchange knowledge and culture. The last of these meetings was the fifth annual meeting that was held in April 2016 at the Higher College of Technology with the participation of more than (130) representatives of student councils as well as outstanding students and the attendance of officials from the Ministry, deans of faculties, and officials from the private and public sectors. The fourth annual student meeting was held in April 2015 at the College of Technology in Ibra, attended by 126 representatives of student councils as well as distinguished students. The third annual meeting was held at the College of Technology in Nizwa in April 2014 under the title “Initiative, Entrepreneurship, and Volunteering”, while the second annual meeting took place in Al Masnaah in June 2013 with the participation of (75) students. During the very first annual meeting, (70) students from the different colleges of technology gathered in Salalah in June 2012.
Scientific Research and Entrepreneurship Projects: The colleges of technology organize research activities for lecturers and students, as well as seminars. They regularly participate in conferences held by other higher education institutions, and contribute with the Research Council and other institutions to research activities that benefit Oman
and foster the student talents, encouraging them to take on entrepreneurship projects, experiments, and research that has the potential to furnish them with skills and experiences and prepare them for their own projects and for promoting their innovations in the job market. Furthermore, the colleges of technology provide the students with support in local, regional, and global competitions. The students of the Higher College of Technology, for example, won the first prize for the best student company—Balloura, which had as goal water conservation— for 2016 from among (45) companies across the nation participating in the Injaz Oman competition that was held in Sultan Qaboos University. What is more, the students of the colleges of technology ranked second in the Gulf in the fourth GCC Skills competition in Khobar, KSA in April 2016, amassing seven medals, three of which gold, two silver, and two bronze. They also came first in a competition for building the best ecofriendly house in 2015, outranking four other higher education institutions: Sultan Qaboos University, German University of Technology, University of Nizwa, and Dhofar University. In 2014, they also ranked first in Oman in the Injaz Oman’s Sharikati competition for environment preservation. The aforementioned Balloura company also won the pan-Gulf Injaz Al Arab competition, which was held in Kuwait the same year. This is in addition to winning many other competitions. Moreover, a renewable energy research was registered in the Research Council, receiving a funding of (34,000 Omani Riyals) over three years (2012-2015). This research was conducted by researchers in the College of Technology in Nizwa with the participation of researchers from Sohar University. The project’s outcome was a study and design of a control system for a 12-megawatt hybrid station (sun and winds) for Masirah island. Another project has also been registered by the Nizwa College of Technology and funded by the Research Council (18,365.00 Omani Riyals). The study’s outcome was a perfect, coherent glazing mixture, having the physical and chemical properties of clay, for the clay factory in Hala in ad-Dakhiliyah.

Second: Vocational Education and Trainings at Training Centers and Institutions

Vocational education and trainings constitute an integral part of the education system given that its outcomes directly correlate with the production process, national economy, and labor market. The Vocational education and trainings are among the strongest pillars of the economy, providing competent national workforce for the different vocations. The skills, knowledge, mental capacity, and physical fitness needed for a fulfilling performance of the jobs are well assessed.
International Standard Classification of Occupations 2008 specifies four skill levels, while the Arab Standard Classification for Occupations specifies five levels as follows: workers with limited skills, skilled workers, professionals, technicians, and experts. The Vocational education and training is currently available at the government-supported vocational training centers and government-supported fishermen’s training institutes, as well as at private vocational education and training institutions.
Importance and Goals of Vocational Education and Training:
The strategic importance of vocational education and training is attested to in the majority of countries by the high numbers of general education students who join the vocational education and training institutions. The Ministry of Manpower is seeking to increase the numbers of local workers who fall under the classification of workers with limited skills and skilled workers— the groups which vocational education and training targets. The importance of this education is also reflected in the goals the government-supported vocational education and training centers and fishermen’s training institutes are striving to achieve, which are: (The bylaws of the government-supported vocational education and training centers and fishermen’s training institutes, were issued by ministerial order no. (244/2015))
Produce skilled national manpower capable of meeting the requirements of national development across the different occupations, based on the national and global occupational standards.
Supply the labor market with national manpower capable of competition to effectively contribute to the economic and social development by offering high-quality vocational programs.
Provide educational and training opportunities in fulfillment of the principles of education for all and life-long education.
Offer high quality educational, training, and Vocational programs, meeting the adopted standards.
Establish partnerships with the institutions of the public and private sectors to produce a successful education and training process and meet the needs of the labor market.
Use contemporary science and advanced technologies to develop and constantly update the educational and training curricula.
Conduct studies and research related to advancing and improving the vocational training and education.
Historical Overview on Vocational Education and Training in Oman:
The journey of governmental vocational education and training began with the onset of the blessed renaissance. The aim was to prepare and train the Omani youth to meet the requirements of sustainable development across the different sectors by supplying skilled national manpower trained on various occupations and with different levels of vocational skills required at the public and private sectors. The vocational education and training sector in Oman witnessed since 1970 a constant progress brought forward by two main catalysts: the continuous economic growth and the needs of the labor market on one hand, and the development of the education system in all its levels on the other. The most remarkable changes in this journey can be summed up in what follows.
From 1970 until 1994, a vocational education system was enforced based on vocational skills. The admission requirements until 1984 was to have completed primary school, and until 1994 to have completed secondary school. The graduates acquired secondary and high-school diplomas. The main shift started in the academic year of 1994-1995 when the vocational education and training system had become based on the vocational classifications. Graduates acquired certificates of vocational skills: workers with limited skills or skilled workers. The system remained in use until 1999-2000. After that, the Omani Vocational Qualifications System was put in place, developed with reference to the British National Vocational Qualifications and with the guidance of the Gulf Arab Unified Guide for Classification and Characterization. The new system also benefited from the expertise of international consultancy committees in cooperation with the private sector, which contributed to the drafting of qualifications. The levels were specified as follows: the first level (general), requiring a one year training with limited skills, and the second level (specialized), requiring a two-year training with skills.
The following change saw the introduction of a third level, in addition to limited skills and skilled, that of professionals. It was adopted during a seminar for the development of the vocational training held in September 2015 with the participation of governmental and international parties, including the German Technical Cooperation and the Australian Institute of Training, and Danish institutions for Vocational Training and Technical Education. Some private sector enterprises were also engaged in the workshops. All sectors took part in drafting the recommendations, which were taken into consideration by the vocational training system at the time. (Manpower from 1970 until 2010, publication of the Ministry of Manpower).
Current Vocational Education and Training System:
Following a comprehensive review of Vocational education and training from 2010 until 2013, and in cooperation with international institutions such as: TQ, affiliated to Pearson Education, which conducted an assessment study of the vocational training centers and fishermen’s training centers, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) specialized in leadership and management, and IT+B institute of the German University of Bremen, a workshop to produce curricula based on occupational standards was held. It resulted in changes in vocational education and training that took into consideration the needs of the trainees and allowed movement between the different levels, and ensured quality in line with the needs of the labor market. The new vocational education and training system is made up of four levels, as seen in the following figure, which displays the correlation between the different levels and the possibility to change from one to another upon completion. Graduates with a vocational diploma can also pursue higher education at colleges of technology through a bridging program. (figure 2)
Figure 2
Vocational diploma Level
The admission requirement for this level is to be a holder of a general diploma. The admission is done through the unified admission center. It is a minimum of three-year specialization, including an intensive English program and six academic semesters in specialized vocational programs. Students are taught and trained on one-vocation skills. The curricula were produced based on the national occupational standards by specialized committees in the fields of engineering, business studies, agricultural training, fishing engineering, fisheries development, navigation techniques, fishing equipment, ship construction and repair, beauty, and other vocations as needed in the labor market. The new system aims at increasing the numbers of Omanis in a large array of vocations that rely on ongoing manpower. The academic year 2012-2013 saw the admission of the first students for this diploma. Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a vocational diploma degree.
General Vocational diploma Level (Coordination with the Ministry of Education is in progress)
The admission requirement for this level is to have finished at least Grade 9. It is a two-year or three-year training program. Students acquire a general vocational diploma equivalent to a general education diploma.
Vocational Apprenticeship Level
This educational level is two-fold: trainings take place at the training centers and on the job under the supervision of an experienced worker. This level includes the conclusion of on-the-job training contracts involving three parties: the trainees, the training centers and institutions, and public and private sector enterprises. The targeted group is citizens over the age of 17.  Different skill levels are offered under this category and students acquire vocational degrees.
Vocational training Sessions Level
This level offers training sessions, aiming at meeting the needs of local communities, job seekers, and persons with disabilities, and improving the competence of workers, even those who wish to change vocations. Each session’s period is of a minimum of one week and a maximum of nine months. The bylaws of the vocational training centers and fishermen training institutes, issued by ministerial order no. (244/2015), list the admission conditions and arrangements, the education system, and the calendar for each of these levels.
Government-supported Vocational training Centers and Fishermen Training Institutions
Government-supported vocational education and training is offered at six (6) vocational training centers and (2) fishermen training institutions. The following figures show the geographic distribution of these facilities.
Majors and Programs Available at Government-supported Vocational training Centers and Fishermen Training Institutions
Table 2
Majors and Programs Available at Government-supported Vocational training Centers and Fishermen Training Institutions
Department Specialization Department Specialization
Mechanical Engineering Cars maintenance Mechanical Engineering Operational Mechanic
Cars denting Industrial Maintenance
Cars Painting Welding and Metal fabrication Engineering Welding and Medal fabrication

Electrical Engineering
Electric Installations (domestic) Agricultural Techniques Agricultural Production
Electric installations (industrial) Food processing techniques
Refrigeration and Air-conditioning engineering Domestic Refrigeration
Industrial Refrigeration
Business Studies Marketing and Sales
Domestic Air-Conditioning
Industrial Air-Conditioning
Beauty Beauty Care
Electronics Engineering Mechatronics Aquaculture Aquafarming
Wood Technical Engineering Carpentry Fishery development Coast Fishing Boat Captain (limited water)
  Furniture Design and Assemblage Navigation Techniques and Fishing Equipment Deep Water Fishing Boat Captain (unlimited water)
  Upholstery Coast Fishing Boat Engineering (limited water)

Construction and Infrastructure Engineering

Cement and Metal Structures
    Architectural Drawing
    Painting and Décor
    Building Management and Maintenance

Third: Vocational education and Trainings at Institutions

What is a Training Institution and What Are the Numbers?
Private institutions (individuals/companies): Implement training programs (commercial) in the administrative, craftsmanship, and industrial fields.
Centers within private facilities: uniquely train the facility’s workers.
Training Service Offices (individuals/companies): Organize lectures, seminars, and workshops within a limit of (25) hours for each.
Training units within private educational institutions: Implement programs as part of the university or faculty’s activities.
Table 3
Number of Licensed Private Training Institutions
Governorate Institutions Training Centers Service Offices Training Units Total
Administrative Technical Craftsman
Muscat 84 25 14 11 139 11 284
North Al Batinah 15 4 1 3 20 2 45
South Al Batinah 3 2 0 1 3 1 10
Dhofar 10 1 3 1 16 0 31
Ad-Dakhiliyah 7 2 1 0 8 0 18
South Al Sharkiyah 2 0 0 0 6 0 8
North Al Sharkiyah 2 1 0 0 0 1 4
Ad Dhahirah 2 0 1 0 2 0 5
Al Buraimi 6 0 0 0 2 0 8
Al Wusta 1 0 0 1 0 0 2
Total 132 35 20 17 196 15 415
Grand Total 187
Licensing Process of Private Training Institutions:
Preliminary approval upon the receipt of required official documents.
Final approval (license) upon finding the premises and equipment and other requirements to meet the standards of competent parties.
Activity kick-off after choosing the training and administrative cadres and approving the programs.
Supervision Mechanism on the Private Training Institution Activities:
Technical supervision to ensure training quality.
Implementation supervision to ensure an actual well-managed program implementation.
Certificate approval.
Mechanisms for annual license renewal and programs approval.
Field follow-up (during licensing and renewal), or for any complaints and notes.
Classification of Private Training Institutions
Classification categories: (first, second, third, fourth).
Templates are used for classification processes based on quality-control standards and principles, as shown below.
Private Training Institutions are classified after a year of ongoing trainings in compliance with the principles and guidelines, and in some cases the premises or headquarters may be changed based on what the Ministry deems necessary.
Government Support Program:
The Ministry works with first-level classified private training institutions based on the financial principles and guidelines, the related concluded contracts, and the applicable Ministry’s principles and guidelines for each relevant department. This cooperation is based on actual needs for Omani youth training in specific vocations for which the labor market is in need, provided that the programs match the available jobs in the private sector. Trainers have to be available for training, and shall not be previously employed by the Ministry or trained by Ministry funding. The programs are as follows: 
Employment-related Training
On-the-job Training
Abroad Training
The private training institutions and their related training programs, as well as the government-supported programs, are subject to the provisions and articles of the institutions’ bylaws, issued by ministerial order no. (490/2010), and overseen by the Ministry.

Fourth: Standards Center

The royal directives to channel focus to prepare and train national human resources, and the increased growth of the labor market’s activities and sectors, have given rise to a need for a specialized center that drafts occupational standards for the different vocational skill levels. The center contributes to organizing the Omani labor market and supplying it with competent resources. Work is underway to draft occupational standards for a number of vocations, which are prioritized in the vocational training programs. This was done through coordination with an experienced global agency, GIZ, from 2005 until 2011— the consultancy period during which the structural hierarchy of the center was put in place and its needs of human resources were identified. 
In 2011, the ministerial order no. (76/2011) was issued, stipulating the establishment of the occupational standards and tests center to be in charge of developing the occupational standards system for all vocations across the different skill levels. It also plans and manages the vocational competency tests system with the aim of improving the production and services performance of the enterprises and improve the performance of manpower. It also develops vocational and technical training programs and curricula, and train the participants using advanced scientific methods. Given the importance of the center, in terms of developing a comprehensive system for occupational standards and tests in Oman to serve as a reference for the development process of governmental and private sectors as well as for education and training institutions, it was put directly under the Ministry’s undersecretary for Vocational and Technical Training. The center is made up of six main departments:
Advanced occupational standards department
Tests and diplomas department
Trainee counselling and guidance department
Vocational and industrial relation department
Labor market and training research department
Finance and administrative affairs department.
Requirements of Occupational standards Development:
The Vocational training and education system in Oman, which largely resembles the applicable systems in many countries around the world and especially those with extensive experience in this arena, has sought to produce a competent and highly-skilled national cadre across the different sectors and in line with the primary education and general education system. This system aims at providing the trainees with a secure career path, based on the actual needs the job market for technical and vocational manpower. The focus that was channeled to the on-the-job aspect more than the theoretical one came with the view of delivering outcomes that match the needs of the labor market for workers. The persistent need for occupational, national standards can be explained by the following factors:
The increasingly complex work environment.
The exponential growth of all types of economic activities due to the information and technology revolution in the developed countries, which deeply rippled into the developing countries, rendering the competence and information that individuals acquire through time inadequate and requiring constant improvement of skills in the different occupational sectors.
The emergence of new vocations due to the rapid technological advancement.

Occupational Standards and Development Methodologies

The occupational standards, as agreed upon by most definitions, is “an accurate and clear standard description of the competences (know-how, skills, trends, and behaviors) that the incumbent should have to skillfully fulfill the tasks with the results of the mastered performance being identified.” As such, occupational standards represent the regulations that govern the preparation, employment, and movement processes of manpower, making them necessary.
Sometimes, occupational standards are taken for job description. The latter, however, is only a component of the former, if the main one. The job description is a detailed description of the tasks and duties that the incumbent should fulfill, listing the conditions necessary for the job, such as academic and professional qualifications and the vocational category and field. The occupational standards, however, present a wider description of the occupation, including the following elements (some change can be expected based on the methodology used to produce the standards):
Duties and tasks of the occupation.
The needed competences, know-how, skills, trends, and behaviors.
Implementation steps
Implementation tools and equipment
Relevant safety and security laws and regulations
Training methodology and standards (in some methodologies).
There are several methodologies to put in place and develop occupational standards, which differ in terms of work mechanisms and goals for the development of standards, and the priorities identified by decision-makers. The most common and important methodologies are the following:
Functional Analysis Methodology
Dacum Methodology
Work Process Analysis
The last is the most recent and the one the Ministry of Manpower and the occupational standards and tests center adopted to develop 60 occupational standards for a number of vocations across the different skill levels. Further developed was a set of 10 tests, as seen in the table below.
Table 4
Occupational Standards and Fields
Number Vocational Field Number of occupational standards Number of occupational tests
1 IT services 3 -
2 Engineering drawing using computers 4 -
3 Travel and Tourism 2 -
4 Sales 3 -
5 Hospitality 4 2
6 Agriculture 4 -
7 Livestock 2 -
8 Media technology 4 -
9 Mechanical Services 5 2
10 Refrigerating and Air-conditioning 3 2
11 Drivers 1 -
12 Vehicles 4 1
13 Electricity 3 2
14 Electronics 4 -
15 Carpentry 1 1
16 Constructions 7 -
17 Fisheries 3 -
18 Sewing 3 -

Fifth: Important Links

⦁ Ministry of Manpower
⦁ Vocational and Technical Education and Training, Oman
⦁ Higher College of Technology
⦁ College of technology in Al Masnaah
⦁ College of technology in Nizwa
⦁ College of Technology in Ibra
⦁ College of Technology in Salalah
⦁ College of technology in Shinas
⦁ College of Technology in Ibri
⦁ ISCO- International Standard Classification of Occupations
⦁ Manpower from 1970 until 2010, publication of the Ministry of Manpower
⦁ Regulations of the government-supported vocational training centers and fishermen’s training institutions, issued by ministerial order no. 244/2015
⦁ The bylaws of colleges of technology issued by ministerial order no. 72/2014
⦁ The bylaws of the private training institutions, issued by ministerial order no. 490/2010