Students volonteered during the UNESCO World Heritage Meeting in Bahrain

HALBAN The Faculty of Business and Economics at GUtech has recently formed a student club entitled Oman Sustainable Tourism Club (OSTC). The department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management is planning for the official launch of the club to take place on 27 September, on the occasion of the World Tourism Day. “The club members who are now around 20 have been very active and enthusiastic about the various activities and initiatives they plan to carry out. So far the students have designed their own website, a communication campaign with a logo, I am so proud of them,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the Faculty of Business and Economics. 

In addition, some members of the student club have volunteered in the 42nd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage held in Bahrain, between the 24 June and the 4 July. The students had the opportunity to witness the inscription of Qalhat as a World Heritage Site with lots of joy and happiness and they celebrated this great achievement.

The World Heritage Committee gathers representatives from over 100 countries concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage elected by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention. “This event is a major international UNESCO conference with over 1000 delegates participating to decide on the listing of cultural heritage sites on the World Heritage list. It is a wonderful experience for the students to be exposed to such major important events,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz. During the conference the GUtech students worked as part of an international body of students volunteers. The students showed interest in being part of such event in the future in order to be able to represent the Sultanate of Oman and GUtech.

GUSummer Academy for teens to be held on campus

HALBAN GUtech will hold a two week Summer Academy for teens on its campus in Halban between the 22 July and 2 August. The GUSummer Academy will be held in Arabic. Its programme is designed for students aged between 14 – 17 years, with the aim to support students to be responsible for their daily tasks and to become independent thinkers. Since it was launched for the first time in 2015, the summer programme has been one of the most successful summer schools in Oman. Different workshops such as English, German, Business, IT, Photography, Arts, Health and Safety, Car Maintenance and Sports promise to prepare and inspire the young students for their next school years and for life. In addition, leisure activities such as a leisure hunting safari will be conducted outside the campus. Overall, this special summer programme focuses on enhancing the student’s educational and personal growth.

For more details and registration, please visit http://summeracademy.gutech.edu.om or check out GUtech on social media: gu_summer_academy.

(c) Text & Photo: GUtech/ PR and Student Affairs Department

 

GUtech students to participate in a special German Language and Culture Course at RWTH Aachen University

MUSCAT A group of 15 GUtech students and two supervisors will participate in a special language and culture course to be held at GUtech’s German partner-university RWTH Aachen University in August. Since 2009, the annual 3 week study-trip has been conducted in cooperation with RWTH Aachen University and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). DAAD has been funding the study trip every year. The main aim of this special course is to introduce the students to life in Germany and to the different faculties at RWTH Aachen University.

“Studying the German language was not so difficult, only in the beginning,” said Murooj Al Busaidi, 3rd year student in BSc Computer Sciences who has studied German for three semesters. She is looking forward to applying the language and experiencing the country soon. Like most of the other GUtech students, Murooj will be traveling for the first time to Germany and to Europe. “I like to learn more about Europe and especially about Germany. I am planning to do my Master’s there,” said Huda Al Jahwari, BSc Logistics student. “Aachen is a student city and the university has many different departments including a well-known Logistics Department,” explained Huda. Mustafa Mohammed is studying Mechanical Engineering in the 3year at GUtech. He has been receiving a study scholarship from the Egyptian and Omani governments. “RWTH Aachen University is one of the leading universities in Europe. I am very happy to get the opportunity to attend this special language course and to get to know the university. I am planning to study my Master’s in Germany,” said Mustafa. GUtech offers German language classes for beginners for all BSc or BEng students.

For the language course the students had to submit a letter of motivation and other documents. The selected candidates were then interviewed by the selection committee. “This year we had an increased number of applicants. More than 100 students from all academic programmes applied for only 15 seats. One of the requirements was that they had studied one or two semesters German,” said Claudia Schmidt, Representative of the DAAD and German Lecturer at GUtech. For most of the students it is their first trip to Germany. Students from the departments of Applied Geosciences, Engineering, International Business and Service Management, Computer Sciences will attend the course. GUtech promotes study and research exchange especially with RWTH Aachen University and with other universities in Europe.

Caption: Group photo with the GUtech students who will participate in the Language and Culture Course at RWTH Aachen University as well as their two supervisors, Claudia Schmidt from the DAAD (first row) and Felixa Wingen from the International Office at GUtech.

(c) Text & Photo: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

GUtech hosts a delegation from Nagoya University

HALBAN To enhance its internationalization the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has hosted three high-ranking representatives of Nagoya University (Japan) on its campus in Halban. Dr. Yoshihito Watanabe, Trustee and Vice-President for International Planning and Public Relations as well as Prof. Dr. Eng. Nakamura Hikaru of the Department of Civil Engineering and Takako Sakaki, Head of the International Student Exchange Section and the International Affairs Department visited GUtech during the past two days. They were welcomed by the Rectorate of GUtech and the Heads of all academic departments as well as the International Office. “We wish to cooperate with our Japanese colleagues in the scientific fields of Engineering, Architecture, Computer Sciences and Geosciences and promote a regular bilateral student and academic exchange,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech. In a second step GUtech representatives are planning to visit their Japanese counterparts in the coming months at Nagoya University.

Six Nobel laureates who were awarded in Physics and in Chemistry since 2008 have been conducting their research at Nagoya University. The visit to GUtech was initiated by a visit of Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Amano, the Nobel Prize Winner in Physics in 2014 to GUtech in January this year. At that time Prof Amano gave a public lecture on his research journey and LED lights at GUtech.

Nagoya University currently has 16,438 students including around 3,000 international students, most of them from Asia but as well from Europe. Initially, Nagoya University was founded in 1871 as a temporary hospital and as a medical school. In 1949 Nagoya University was established and in 2018 the university became a designated National University. Nagoya is located around 1.5 hours by train from Tokyo. With 2.2 million inhabitants Nagoya is the 3rd largest city in Japan. The university has strong links with international companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. More than 100 international companies are located close by the university in Nagoya.

Nagoya University offers six international undergraduate and 11 post-graduate study programmes. In addition, during summer the university offers a 6 week programme on the Latest Technology and Tasks in Automobile Engineering for BSc and MSc Engineering students.

In recent years the university has created a number of new research labs and development centers for open innovation, such as the “Institute for Advanced Research” or the “Institute for Innovation for Future Society”, for practical research. Through research at the “Mobility Innovation Center” at Nagoya University researchers plan to empower an increasingly ageing society through advanced mobility support such as autonomous cars or walking assistance robots. Further research centers are the “Green Mobility Research Institute” (GREMO) and the Disaster Mitigation Research Center (DMRC). Moreover, Nagoya University has been expanding the scope of employment possibilities for female researchers. Consequently, the university was selected as the only Japanese university to be among 10 universities worldwide to support the “UN HeForShe Camapaign”.

(c) Text & Photo: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

 

Panel discussion on the prospects of vocational training in the Sultanate of Oman

As part of an integrated approach to expand its educational activities, Oman Educational Services (OES) has ventured with the German BFW, Berufsförderungswerk Kerpen (BFW NRW) to introduce an Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman.

OES is the owner company of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), the Finland-Oman School (FOS), the History of Science Centre (HSC), the Training and Smart Solutions Centre (TSSC), among others.

The Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman will builds on certain aspects of the German Vocational Technical Training and will cater for young Omanis who would choose to follow a technical vocational path.

This project was presented during a workshop organised by OES on Tuesday 22 May at Grand Hyatt Muscat, in the presence of the German Ambassador to Oman, H.E. Mr. Thomas Schneider and representatives from governmental and private organizations. During the workshop, invited stakeholders discussed the opportunities and the challenges relating to the implementation of the Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman.

H.E. Mr. Thomas Schneider, German Ambassador to Oman, pointed in his speech that “the Apprenticeship Technical Trainings are widely embedded in the German education system and labour market, where the training institutes and the private sector collaborate on providing vocational training solutions to school leavers and on-the-job employees to upgrade their skills”.

The first edition of the Apprenticeship Technical Training will be launched in August, with a focus on IT skills. It is targeted at young Omani school leavers, University and College drop outs, aspiring to build up a technical career in IT required for the development of various sectors.

Dr. Julio Saavedra, the Keynote Speaker from TTU noted that the focus on IT trainings is a pre-requisite for Oman to catch up with the 4th Industrial Revolution. He explained that “4IR is based on a confluence of technologies maturing at the same time”. Technologies are becoming entrenched in our society, through robotics, artificial intelligence, automation, augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, Internet of Things, etc. Julio Saavedra concluded that “4IR requires a spectrum of technical IT skills which can only be developed through hands-on practical training in an operational environment”.  

The Apprenticeship Technical Training in IT, as devised in the German context, offers apprentices a combination of structured classroom training with job familiarization allowing them to practice the technical and soft skills in a real life setting. Mr. Björn Müller, Manager in BFW NRW advanced: “this approach can be replicated in the context of Oman too, with the help of the private sector”.

The Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman by OES-BFW is envisaged to be structured over 3 years. The training will offer apprentices classroom learning alternated with weekly scheduled time in host companies. Thus, preparing apprentices to become autonomous IT technicians by the end of the training.

The success of the project will rely on the commitment of the private sector and the host companies that would choose to tie up with an apprentice during the duration of the training. Apprentices should be selected by host companies based on their future recruitment needs and plans to contribute in Omaninzation and ICV development.

“The success of such initiative requires a long-term relationship between the apprentices and enterprises” highlighted Heiderose Moose, Manager of Vocational Training in TSSC.

During the workshop, a series of challenges were discussed by the invitees. “There is a stigma attached to vocational study, people think of it as the alternative option if you don’t get the right marks to get into university” and “I don’t think young Omani are fully clear on what vocational training entails as the majority expect to work in offices.” Another voice postulated “the education system in Oman has to bridge the divide between academic and vocational study”.

OES and BFW NRW are all set to launch the project which should translate into more versatile IT technicians/specialists with a more all-round set of skills.

STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN SHELL ECO-MARATHON 2019

Shell Oman, together with GUtech and Caledonian College of Engineering signed an ‘Agreement of Commitment’ for the institutions’ participation in next year’s Shell Eco-marathon, one of the worlds’ leading energy efficiency competition. The competition requires engineering students from around the world to design, engineer, and build energy efficient vehicles to be tested during the Eco-marathon, determining whose vehicle can go the distance on limited amounts of fuel. GUtech Professor and Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs, Dr. Armin Eberlein, Caledonian Professor Dr. Ahmed Hassan Al-Bulushi, Shell’s Country Chairman in Oman Chris Breeze, and Shell Oman Marketing Company CEO Mohammed Mahmood Al Balushi all signed the agreement.

Chris Breeze, Shell Country Chairman in Oman said, “We are excited to be signing this agreement with both GUtech, and Caledonian and look forward to their participation in the Shell Eco-marathon. There is a lot of growing talent and innovation in Oman and through their involvement in the Shell Eco-marathon, students are gaining experiences they may not get in the classroom, but more importantly, they are realizing the power they have to make a change and their roles as participants working towards global energy solutions. It is our responsibility as energy leaders, to not only work towards solutions amongst ourselves, but to mentor and inspire our youth, who will inherit the world, and who want to make it better.”

Mohammed Mahmood Al Balushi, CEO of Shell Oman Marketing Company stated, “Shell Eco-marathon provides an opportunity for the new generation of innovative leaders from Oman to engage in a global dialogue on the future of energy transition and sustainable mobility. This initiative is meant to inspire innovative thinking and creativity which are embedded in the way Shell Oman operates.”

Students compete with over 100 students from nearly 20 countries throughout Asia and the Middle East. Participants take their vehicles to the track in the Mileage Challenge to see which vehicle can compete to go the farthest on the least amount of fuel. In preparation of the competition, students are challenged to design, build and test energy-efficient cars, pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible.

“We are privileged to have Shell’s support for GUtech’s participation in the Shell Eco-marathon over the past 5 years. The program has made a significant impact to our teams, allowing us to refine and improve our designs from year to year. As a result, we were the best team from Oman in last year’s Eco-marathon Asia, achieving 3rd place amongst the Diesel engines,” said Dr. Armin Eberlein.

The 2019 Shell Eco-marathon will be GUtech’s 5th consecutive year and Caledonians 3rd year to participate. In 2015 the GUtech team was the first team from Oman to participate in the final competition in Manila, they were fifth in the diesel category. In 2018, GUtech finished taking third place in the prototype diesel category and a commendable 17th place out of 30 in the prototype internal combustion class.

 

Promoting Excellence – The Oman Association for Quality in Higher Education held a workshop at GUtech

HALBAN Under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Al Sarmi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, The Oman Association for Quality in Higher Education conducted a launch event on the international accreditation of higher education institutions at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). More than 100 experts in the field of accreditation and quality assurance participated in the unique one day workshop.

In recent years, many institutions in the GCC have established a quality center or a quality assurance department. In Oman the Oman Accreditation Authority was founded in 2010. Initially it was named Oman Accreditation Council, founded in 2001. “The international or national accreditation has been creating awareness on quality in higher education. One of the challenges is to balance the tension between accountability and independence of the institution,” said Dr. Narimane Hadj Hamou, Founder and CEO of the Centre for Learning Innovations and Customised Knowledge Solutions (CLICKS) based in the UAE. Dr Narimane gave a talk on Accreditation in the GCC Region: Developments, Challenges and Future Opportunities”. She stressed that it is important to consider the creation of a GCC ‘think tank’ that will work on a common GCC framework to establish joint standards promoting for example student mobility in all GCC countries. “The accreditation is a commitment to quality. It is not a specific task but a continuous quality improvement. The accreditation is important to attract the best students and to find the best faculty members.” Said Dr. Ali Al Badi, Associate Dean for Postgraduate Studies and Research at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU).

In addition, the accreditation encourages and supports ethical behaviour by students, faculty, administrators and professional staff. It enhances a positive work environment. “It promotes a collegiate environment while trying to respond to current and emerging corporate social responsibility issues,” said Dr. Hatem El Masri, Director of Quality Assurance and Accreditation Office at the College of Business, University of Bahrain. Such social responsibility issues include diversity, sustainability development, environmental sustainability and globalization at large. The accreditation also includes aspects regarding intellectual contributions from academics as well as student, academic and professional engagements for example through guest lectures. The AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) is mission-driven, it is based on principles rather than on rules. According to Dr. Hatem the AACSB accreditation is the largest and most widely recognised business accreditation in the world, more than 780 accredited schools worldwide.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) supports technical education worldwide. “This accreditation is a proof that a programme has met essential standards that are valid worldwide to produce graduates that are ready to enter the critical fields of applied sciences, computing, engineering and engineering technology” said Dr. Nabil El Kadhi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Buraimi. During the closing session the board members of OAQHE said that further joint meetings and events are planned in the near future.

At GUtech all BEng and BSc study-programmes are accredited by the Oman Accreditation Council and by ACQUIN, an international accreditation agency based in Germany.

Caption: Group photo with HE. Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Al Sarmi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education (center) and Prof Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech (center) along with the board members of The Oman Association for Quality in Higher Education.

© GUtech / Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photos: Umaima Al Zadjali

 

 

 

The German Minister of State of the Federal Foreign Office visits GUtech

HALBAN H.E. Niels Annen, the Minister of State of the Federal Foreign Office and member of the German Bundestag and his accompanying delegation has visited the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) today afternoon. They were welcomed by Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Prof. Dr. Michael Jansen, Founding Rector of GUtech and Claudia Schmidt, Representative of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as well Dr. Manuela Gutberlet (PR Manager). The delegation had a tour around the campus and visited the GUtech Eco-House. During their visit they discussed the German-Omani cooperation in the field of higher education and how to enhance this cooperation.

© Text: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: Umaima Al Zadjali

Celebrating Diversity and Talents – An International Day at GUtech

HALBAN An international cultural day was held at GUtech on Tuesday. The event included a ‘Global Village Bazaar’ with games, exhibitions and food from various European, Asian and Latin American. The event was organized by the English Club and the International Student Club. The GUtech English Club held a talent show with music performances in the afternoon. The International Night included songs in various languages and music composed by GUtech students, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi dance performances as well as a karate performance and an international fashion show.

“Universities tend to be the most diverse places,” said Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech during his welcome speech. “Inter-cultural intelligence including cross-cultural understanding and the ability to engage with the world at large is becoming more and more important in today’s globalized world” he said. The Vice-Rector added that the curiosity for study-programmes often extends to more curiosity about other cultures and ways of living. Last year 134 GUtech students were sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). They attended workshops, excursions or conducted their Bachelor thesis at German universities. GUtech students come from 23 different countries and 24 different nationalities work at GUtech.

© Text: GUtech / Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: GUtech/ Aysha Farooq

Creating new city districts – Students from the British School Muscat experience life at GUtech

HALBAN Designing a future district of Muscat that was the task given to five high school students on the first day of their work and study experience days at GUtech. In the department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design the students got some insights about the work of architects and urban planners. Within a few hours the students developed their own models of future city districts and they presented their ideas to a small jury of staff members. “What the students have learnt today is to realize a diversity of designs. We give them the freedom to use their ideas to create their own designs and develop the areas where they thing that should be new features for all society – within “Muscat – future city”, said Petrit Pasha, Lecturer in the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design who supervised the school students.

All students integrated renewable energy resources in their urban models. They realised a mix of residential, work and leisure areas all located close by the sea and they. Shabrina Wiendrarko who won the competition introduced two main opponents, Oman as a Tourism hub and Hydro Energy. She thought of a hotel resort and hydroelectric power generation beside the sea. Jeffery Oguni designed a futuristic style of houses connected by several bridges. He also included houses made of so-called ‘solar bricks’ that store solar energy. Zidan Rafliansyah integrated solar panels on roof tops to decrease CO2 emissions and pollution. He also integrated public parks and office buildings with a view to the sea. Rokhy Musthofa created a model with high-rise buildings and a seaside promenade shaped like an Omani khanjar. Rafif Suwardoyo thought about electromagnetic trains used as public transportation, public swimming pools and other social activity buildings such a University and a sports hall. The students said that they wish to present their urban ideas to their school colleagues in the coming weeks.

For all students it is their first experience at a university. During three days at GUtech the school students are familiarized with different departments, study-programmes and the overall student life on campus. “The aim of the Year 10 Work Experience is to give the students an insight into the real world of work and develop their personal, social skills and confidence. It allows students to learn about the different roles and structures within an organisation. At the same time it is a unique opportunity to learn more about themselves and discover what really interest them by finding out about different occupations and job groups. This will allow to develop future career plans and enhance their career aspirations,” said Ajay Khushalbhaia, student counselor at the British School Muscat. The second day they will be in the Engineering department and the third day in the Department of Applied Geosciences and they will get a chance to attend the international event at GUtech in the afternoon.

GUtech offers Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor programmes in Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering and Environmental Engineering as well as Bachelor of Science programmes in Applied Geosciences, Computer Sciences, Logistics, International Business and Service Management, Urban Planning and Architectural Design. All programmes are taught in English and are internationally accredited by ACQUIN.

(c) GUtech / Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Petrit Pasha