Muscat: Students in Oman could soon be heading to Ireland on exchange programmes for further studies.
Trinity College, which is part of the University of Dublin, one of Ireland’s oldest institutions, is looking to set up partnerships with universities in Oman, having visited three educational institutions in the country earlier this month.
Patrick Prendergast, provost of Trinity College, was in Muscat to meet with representatives from Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat University and Majan College, with the hopes of establishing long-term agreements with all three bodies.
“Trinity is interested in deepening relations with Oman — a wonderful and interesting country,” said Tom Molloy, director of Public Affairs and Communications at Trinity College.
“We discussed deepening those ties in research and student exchange. We have a new course in Middle Eastern studies and would like some of our students to travel to countries, such as Oman, to improve their language and cultural knowledge. We would also like students from Oman to come to us and study here. Lastly, we would like to deepen research ties in all sorts of areas.
“We were very impressed with Oman,” he added. “We spent longer in the country than anywhere else on our trip and visited three universities and the Minister for Higher Education. It was quite clear that Oman takes education very seriously. It was also clear that the country has many talented people at all levels and that it is a tolerant and open society that looks out into the world, but also has a clear sense of itself.”
With Trinity College offering a wide range of courses for students to choose from, the University of Dublin is looking forward to welcoming many of Oman’s best and brightest in future.
“Trinity is unusual—it is an old university that is right at the centre of a thriving European capital city,” revealed Molloy. “Trinity has great links with other universities and with industry. In fact, Trinity produced more entrepreneurs than any other university in Europe in the past three years.”
“Perhaps it is easier to say what we do not teach,” he added. “We teach everything except veterinary and architecture. Trinity has always been a university that teaches across disciplines. We have always been good at picking trends! It has the oldest German department in the world and was the first university to teach engineering in all of Britain and Ireland.”
With Oman currently looking to diversify its economy through the Tanfeedh initiatives, students in the nation would also benefit from the quality of education on offer in Ireland.
“My biggest advice would be that education is life changing,” said Molloy. “It opens up all sorts of opportunities. Some of the most interesting things in education are happening where disciplines collide. That is why universities, such as Trinity, are doing so well. When you have many disciplines you have many collisions.”
“Having said this, the experience of Ireland is that the mix of local and foreign talent is important,” he explained.
“Foreign workers can add a lot to an economy and the cultural mix. The trick is to ensure that both local and foreign workers are happy and contribute to society.”