Prof. Dr. Rahma bint Ibrahim Al Mahrouqiya, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation (MOHERI), visited the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) on 22 October.
Her Excellency was accompanied during the visit by HE Dr. Bakhit bin Ahmed Al Mahri, Undersecretary for Higher Education, HE Dr. Saif bin Abdullah Al-Haddabi, Undersecretary for Scientific Research, HE Dr. Mona Bint Salem Al Jardaniya, Undersecretary for Vocational Training, and a number of MOHERI officials.
The visit aimed at sharing the aspirations, vision, and plans of MOHERI for the higher education sector in the Sultanate. In addition, the visit focused on the expectations with regard to research outputs and innovations of universities in Oman.
Besides the University’s Rectorate members, His Excellency Abdullah bin Salem Al Salmi, member of the Board of Directors, and the Honourable Sheikh Dr. Alkhattab bin Ghaleb bin Ali Al Hinai, member of the University’s Board of Trustees welcomed her excellency and the accompanying team.
Dr. Hussain bin Sulaiman Al Salmi, Acting Rector of GUtech, presented an overview of the University’s achievements in the last twelve months and outlined the University’s efforts and incentives to boost research outputs by faculty and staff. Al Salmi diligently pointed to the goals of the recently established Technology Transfer Office at GUtech, and elaborated on the costly price of quality education.
Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs, presented key issues encountered during the transition to online teaching as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. He then commended MOHERI for approving the cyber security bachelor programme. Afterwards, he touched on the students’ performance level in correlation to the level of English language requirement and other basic skills.
The visit also included a meeting with the University’s academic board and a presentation by Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Director of Oman Hydrogen Centre. Modigell gave an overview of the activities of the centre for the intensification of hydrogen uses in the Omani market where the centre will play an active role in the process of promoting and commercialising hydrogen.
Her Excellency stressed the importance of joint cooperation among private higher education institutions to bid for joint funding research grants. In addition, she advocated the importance of the university’s collaboration with the private sector to reach supportive partners and investors. Moreover, She encouraged the university to benefit from research funding programmes in collaboration with other institutions.
The Minister stressed on the importance of achieving institutional accreditation locally and praised the University for obtaining international accreditation for all its Bachelor programmes, which makes GUtech an attractive destination for international students from different countries of the world.
The Minister asserted the importance of offering academic programmes that meet the fourth industrial revolution, the market needs and the national economic diversification plans.
HE also affirmed the importance of improving the quality of education in the Sultanate to be among the top 300 universities in the QS ranking. She emphasised the importance for universities to collaborate with MOHERI to achieve the integration between higher education, vocational training, research and innovation.
On meeting the student advisory council (SAC), she commended the members on their role and emphasised the importance of continuous communication between the student and the academic advisor. Members of SAC discussed with her excellency the academic challenges facing students with regard to getting practical experience in the logistics industry and the block courses format. Her Excellency advised students to continuously follow up on their academic progress via MOHERI platform.
Her Excellency also visited Finland Oman School (FOS) and the History of Science Centre (HSC), both institutions are owned and managed by Oman Educational Services (OES). GUtech, FOS, and HSC are among the different entities constituting the education eco-system situated at GUtech campus. Finland Oman School (FOS) draws on experiences and knowledge from the Finnish education system, which uses a Finnish research-based teaching approach and an innovative approach to teaching and learning for K-12 pupils.