Muscat: Oman Technology Fund announced investment in the Distance Learning Centre smart educational platform called "Sana Electronic Platform".
This initiative harnesses scientific and technical capabilities in information technology in the field of e-learning and distance education and adapts it to serve higher education institutions inside and outside the Sultanate by providing the necessary and specialised expertise and skills. This platform comes within the initiative of OMR1,000,000 from the Oman Technology Fund to overcome the challenges of the spread of coronavirus.
In light of the current conditions and the existing need of higher education institutions in the Sultanate to activate modern education systems that can keep pace with modern technologies using e-learning and distance education systems, so that they are scientifically and technically compatible with global standards recognised in these areas.
From this standpoint, the Sana platform came as a specialised electronic platform containing an integrated system for managing e-learning and distance education and producing digital courses. This platform aims to help various educational institutions, towards achieving an integrated interactive education from recorded lectures, virtual meetings, class activities and electronic tests compatible with academic quality standards.
Zeyad bin Talib Almawaly, the general supervisor of the “Sana electronic platform” said: “Sana electronic platform” came to be specialised to contain an integrated system for managing e-learning and distance education and producing digital courses, as it aims to help various educational institutions to achieve an integrated interactive education from registered lectures, live virtual encounters, class activities and electronic tests with the most appropriate smart solutions in line with international academic quality standards.
Almawaly indicated that the platform is the result of a partnership between the Endowment Fund for Distance Education of the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs and the Omani Fund for Technology. As this partnership sought to use education systems live in the distance education center of the Endowment Fund for Education. It is worth noting that the center started its activity since 2013 as the first educational institution in the Sultanate to operate the e-learning system.
Almawaly added to his words, saying that we can demonstrate the popularity and acceptance of the idea of distance education initiated by the center, where the capacity reached nearly 5,000 students, and approximately 2,600 students graduated from them.
The systems applied in the centre are a local product of Omani experts specialising in this field who work inside the center, so that they develop it continuously to reach the highest levels of scientific and educational quality.
Through this partnership, the Sana platform seeks to take advantage of these systems available at the Distance Learning Center and make them available to become an integrated electronic system that can compete locally and globally as Omani technical production for higher educational institutions.
The platform provides space for managing these systems for all educational institutions that wish to apply distance education with the ability to add and change what is appropriate for each institution.
There are many services provided by the "Sana" platform, as it mainly seeks to provide eight basic elements under which a number of sub-services fall.
Maha Al Baloushi, Executive Director of Wadi Programme at the Oman Technology Fund, explained: With regard to the mechanism for selecting these companies, the fund relied on two things, the first is to accelerate the evaluation procedures so that we filter the ideas on a weekly basis and present them to the Investment Committee and then decide on their matter whether it is worthwhile to invest in them or not.
The other issue is to consider the possibility of linking it with the institutions concerned with the product or service provided by startups. This comes from the Fund’s belief in the importance of complementarity and the conclusion of partnerships with the institutions concerned, which reflects positively on emerging companies and the target sector of the product alike.
On the level of startups, we look at several elements, on top of which are project readiness, to what extent it serves the exceptional stage that we are going through, and the element of long-term sustainability and the possibility of expansion in regional markets.
Al Balushi added: The “Sana electronic platform” provides the option of contracting with it in several ways, whether it is a full purchase of the educational system or a partial contract, as the Sana platform seeks to harness its energies and the scientific and technical knowledge provided by its staff in the field of information technology to provide the education sector with the latest systems Our belief in the importance of bringing modern technology into this sector to keep pace with global changes, and our endeavor to serve higher education institutions inside and outside the Sultanate in this regard, taking on our responsibility to specialise in this field and provide the necessary and specialized expertise and skills to make the Sultanate a leader in this aspect. "