COVID-19 precautions in place for return of 700,000 students to classrooms in Oman

Oman Saturday 18/September/2021 22:05 PM
By: Times News Service
COVID-19 precautions in place for return of 700,000 students to classrooms in Oman
The return of students to schools was done under a national pandemic recovery plan, based on positive health indicators, Dr Madiha Al Shaibaniyah Minister of Education.

Muscat: More than 700,000 students will return to classrooms across Oman on Sunday, with schools putting in place COVID-19 precautions to safeguard all those on campus.

Dr Madiha Al Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education, said the return of students to schools was done under a national pandemic recovery plan, based on positive health indicators.

“The ministry has developed the curricula and the educational evaluation system to provide a balanced and integrated education to address the educational loss of knowledge and skills that students were unable to acquire during the past two academic years,” she said.

“Based on the high directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik towards the necessity of expediting the necessary measures to analyse the needs and requirements to implement technical and vocational education in post-basic education in line with the requirements of the labour market and its future needs and basic skills for different jobs and professions, the ministry is currently working on identifying the needs necessary to implement the project and studying its requirements.”

She added that necessary partnerships will be established with the various sectors in the country, while international and regional experiences will also be used to provide children quality education.

This partnership will also include holding meetings with the teaching and supervisory staff and students to clarify the ministry’s methodology and future vision, field, and to benefit from their plans and suggestions.

In this context, Abdullah Ambosaidi, the undersecretary for education, said the safety of students and teachers is the first priority during the pandemic. Alternative forms of learning were adopted so that education could continue even while schools remained temporarily shut.

“The ministry has developed the general framework document for operating schools for the school year which serves as a road map that guides those in charge of the educational process in how to provide educational services to our students in a safe manner,” he explained.

“The document included general pillars for operating schools, including precautionary measures and vaccination, the operating system of public schools, training, educational platforms and teaching content, learning and social-emotional learning, mechanisms for operating specialised special education schools, supplementary integration classes, special education programmes, and the operation of private schools,” he added.

Majid Al Bahri, the undersecretary for administrative and financial affairs, went on to add, “the ministry is striving to equip and operate the educational platforms represented in the educational platform (Mandhara) and the Google Classroom platform, to provide their digital services for education on an on-going basis.”

“An educational broadcast project in partnership with Omantel has been set up to broadcast these daily educational lessons, by preparing about 22 interactive classes equipped with the necessary tools for remote educational broadcasting, while continuing to provide electronic services throughout the academic year.”

On Sunday, some 702,658 students will return to 1,204 government schools, alongside 466 students attending special education classes in three schools. Some 56,569 teachers and 10,878 administrators are employed in public schools, at an Omanisation rate of 84.8 per cent and 99.8 per cent respectively.

There are also 307 special education teachers, at an Omanisation rate of 90.6 per cent, and 69 administrative staff at the rate of 85.5 per cent.