It is time to involve university students for Oman Vision 2040

Oman Sunday 20/November/2022 22:33 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
It is time to involve university students for Oman Vision 2040
Saleh Al-Shaibany

As an academic, I have the privilege to see the most ground breaking researches by final year university students which can add value to the 2040 Vision but they seem to get wasted because no one looks at them outside the classrooms.

For the last few years, I tried to get in touch with many decision makers who have the power to take forward researches of these brilliant students but the bureaucracy involved defeats the purpose of economic advancement.

I wish there was the right pedestal where the well executed students projects can be examined and according to their merits, adopted to help the Vision 2040. A national committee needs to be set up that will have a specific task of hosting students to present their projects and filtered through to find which ones can be taken to the next step.

In 2019, I attended a forum of the UK Research Centre for Academic Excellence. I was amazed when it was revealed that over 30 per cent of the researches conducted by British university students in the last 25 years, were adopted to be part of the economic activities of the UK government.

In the United Sates, there is a Committee in the Senate that looks at the researches of the university students that are worth being adopted for the economic improvement of the country. Omani students are the future leaders and they are being groomed in the universities and colleges. Once they know that their projects are not only used just to get the grades, but the best will be filtered out for the progress of the country, then they will achieve more.

With the 2040 Vision demanding national excellence, what is a better way to scout for future talent like the universities and colleges? We must match countries like the UK and the US and set up a special Committee that looks at the students’ projects that will contribute to the national GDP.

Ironically, it was a math teacher Harry Lewis, who inspired both Bill Gates in 1976 and Mark Zuckerberg in 2002 while they were  students at Harvard University.

Zuckerberg later started Facebook while he was still a student at Harvard. Gates left Harvard but the imprint of his teacher’s gentle encouragement inspired him to start Microsoft. Both men later revealed on television interviews how the inspiration of their teacher encouraged them to make their mark.

We know how Facebook has revolutionised the social media with millions of followers. We also know how Microsoft has made personal computers a constant companion to many more millions of people around the world. It all started within the four walls of a university room. Many more walked on to the path of knowledge and to make their mark when they left the universities.

What does it tell us? You don’t have to be a rocket science genius to fathom that out. Was there an inspiring teacher behind every responsible citizen? Of course there was and it always will be.

Here in Oman, we have a mission and that mission lies towards the path of 2040. It is not just the responsibilities of the universities alone, but legislators steering the compass of the economic vision needs to get their priorities right, too.