The Business Year

As the country stresses Omanization, educational institutions across the board are focusing on quality to ensure that higher education is up to international standards.

Ahmed Hassan Al Bulushi

Dean, Caledonian College of Engineering

About 98% of our students are Omanis, and eventually these graduates will be fed into the industry. We are the biggest engineering institution in the country, and the oil and gas industry is one of the main sectors we send our graduates to. We are one of the main players in terms of helping achieve Omanization goals. Overall, the main growth is in civil engineering and construction, as well as mechanical engineering. On the other hand, electronic engineering has witnessed a decline due to decreasing demand. Moving forward, we plan to develop a center of excellence in transportation, which will resemble a testing center for transportation as well as a consultancy. Notably, we have a center for innovation and creativity, where students complement their academic studies with experimental learning. In it, they are exposed to all the practical aspects of their studies and are given hands-on training and education with different machines used in the industry. Since 2017, our focus has been to increase our international student population. Percentage wise, we are still low; however, we are getting closer to our goal. In terms of goals, we merged with Oman Medical College, and in 2019 we will operate as the National University for Science and Technology. One of our objectives is to redesign the way we offer higher education by bringing industry into our curriculum in a more innovative manner. We want to develop well-rounded graduates who can think creatively and have an entrepreneurial mindset

Rima Mansoor Al Zadjali

Dean, Gulf College

Our two main faculties are computing and business management, which are highly sought-after fields for young Omanis. The college has been producing graduates in these two fields in partnership with Staffordshire University for the computing program and Cardiff Metropolitan University for business management. These affiliations ensure that our systems within these two areas of study are aligned with the partner universities. In all of our programs there is an element of contextualizing what we teach. The college has an industry representatives panel composed of representatives from various fields within the industry that help us finetune the curriculum and services. Through our center for student affairs, the college has actively been seeking input from its own graduates to determine if they see a link between what they learned at the college and what skills are required. All the information we gather on market conditions and prerequisites feeds into the programs we offer, and we then discuss with our partners what specifically can be done to address these requirements. In terms of actual work experience, the business management program of Cardiff Met University has an in-built work placement module at level five that provides the opportunity for the students to get exposed to the real work environment while studying. In addition, there is a center for innovation and enterprise that promotes entrepreneurship among young Omanis.

Abdulkarim Al Mughairi

Dean, Abdulkarim Al Mughairi

OTC is focused on delivering skilled and qualified young Omanis who can compete with expatriate professionals in the local market and remain at the forefront of an authentic and world-class tourism experience. OTC is the first and only specialized college for tourism and hospitality in Oman, and we are absolutely central to Omanizing the tourism sector. Tourism in Oman is growing rapidly, and the rate of development will not slow down for many years to come. Vision 2040’s tourism strategy aims to create 500,000 jobs, 21,000 of which are expected under Tanfeedh by 2020. The college remains committed to creating opportunities for its students to gain industry exposure and real-world experience. Sky Souq, the online venture of Bahwan Travels, for example, partnered with us on a new concept in 2018. Earn While You Learn kicked off with a competition for students to create tour packages promoting Oman as a destination, where they functioned as travel agents in a live working environment. Our strategic plan for 2017-2020 will govern our objectives for the next year or so, with a number of critical focuses, including enhancing the college’s core assets of infrastructure and human capital, fostering greater international collaboration, and extending OTC’s digital capacity, among others. We recently launched a CSR initiative titled Lady Leaders in Tourism to empower women. In addition, our drive to enhance industry alliances, both locally and internationally, will deliver a growing range of possibilities for the college and its stakeholders.

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