Muscat: One of Oman’s most popular engineering colleges has stopped accepting new students, and is set to stop all current programmes after the present batch of students finishes graduating, the country’s Ministry of Higher Education has confirmed
Waljat College of Applied Sciences, which runs in an academic partnership with the Birla Institute of Technology (BIT) in Ranchi, India, will be forced to end its affiliation with the Indian university after the country’s University Grants Commission – India’s top higher education governing body – forbade any university that is part of its setup to open overseas campuses in collaboration with local partners.
Dr. Rawya Saud Al Busaidi, Minister of Higher Education, issued ministerial decree No. 2018/47 prohibiting Waljat College of Applied Sciences from accepting new students.
“Based on Royal Decree No. 99/42 concerning the establishment of colleges and private higher institutes and the Royal Decree No. 2002/6 defining the competences of the Ministry of Higher Education and approving its organisational structure, and Ministerial Decision 2000/34 issuing the regulation of private colleges and institutes, Education Council Resolution 2018/6,” the Ministry said in a statement, adding that the first article of the decision directs the stopping of admission of new students at Waljat College of Applied Sciences.
The second article stipulates that the college is committed to continuing its educational activities and maintaining the quality of its academic programmes until the students have completed their studies and obtained academic qualifications, in association with the Birla Institute of Technology.
Founded in 2001, Waljat currently offers programmes to students at the foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level, across chemical engineering, computer science, computer applications, biotechnology and electronics and communications. It also offers bachelors and masters degree management courses. A majority of the professors who teach at the college are here on deputation from BIT.
The decision to stop admissions at Waljat was made in March 2018, in line with plans that had been made by the UGC in 2016. An official notice dated October 9, 2018, and issued by the Waljat administration confirmed the same.
“You are aware that our parent university, Birla Institute of Technology in India, has decided to discontinue its affiliation with our college due to the University Grants Commission higher education regulator of India, by Regulation 2016, which prohibits BIT from affiliating with colleges from outside India,” read the circular. “In view of the above, WCAS has stopped new admissions for all academic programmes with effect from the MO-18 session.”
“Birla Institute of Technology has assured cooperation and support for the next three years to ensure that existing students graduate with degrees and diplomas until July 2021,” added the circular.
“The college will continue up to June 2021 and after that will be closed. This decision has already been informed to the Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Higher Education. While considering the above situation, the college will reduce the number of staff – academic and non-academic – and so staff members can seek other placements for developing their professional careers.”
This circular follows the directive of one that was previously issued on May 7 this year.
“By order of the Trustee Council, WCAS announces the suspension of admission and registration for new students for academic programmes (foundation, diploma, bachelors and masters degrees) for the academic year 2018/2019, from this date until further notice,” it said. “For any updates, you can follow the website of the college.”