Muscat: The Ministry of Education is currently working on building 20 new schools in Oman to the tune of OMR33 million, officials have revealed.
With more and more local and expat children expected to seek admission to schools in the future, the government is currently working on building new educational facilities to accommodate them and ensure that their learning needs are properly met.
H.E Mustafa bin Ali bin Abdullatif, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Administrative and Financial Affairs, said: “20 complete school buildings are currently underway as projects in different governorates of Oman with a total cost of OMR 33,486,261.
He added: “Of these twenty school buildings, four have already been delivered and operated from the start of the new academic year. Seven more of the new school buildings will be delivered and operational by the beginning of the second semester of the academic year. As for the rest, they will be delivered once they are ready.”
Meanwhile Pakistan Schools have announced that they will be setting up more schools in Oman.
Talking to Times of Oman, Nasir Nawaz, Principal of Pakistan School Muscat said that three new branches of the Pakistan School System, worth approximately OMR2 million, would be delivered over a period of five years.
“We started the construction of our branch in Suwaiq in December 2017 which required a total amount of about OMR0.6 million to complete the project,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the school does not have a lot of funds, so the process was delayed for that reason. We have prepared the slab of the ground floor and will have three floors altogether with a covered area of 5500sqm. The branch will accommodate more than 1500 students and intends to start O and A-levels there because, in between Seeb and Sohar, no school is offering that stream.
“The completion of the project will take at least six more months depending upon the resources we have but we are struggling to generate funds for that particular school,” added Nawaz. “We are planning to have another branch in Seeb as the current building is not meeting the needs of the students. We have about almost 1,000 students in that branch and need more capacity.
He said: “We are also planning to build another school in Nizwa as the existing branch is in a rented building. Just like the branch in Seeb, this will be done to accommodate more students. If the government or someone else can help us, even in the form of material, we will be extremely grateful. I think we are now on the right track, and we are optimistic that we will be able to reach to our destination in the next two to three years.”
Indian schools in Oman have also undergone revamping over the last few years with a new school, Indian School Boushar, having opened ahead of the academic term in Oman.
“Indian Schools in Oman has always focused on continual improvement. With a view of enhancing the facilities and improving the safety of children, several infrastructural developments have been completed and several new projects undertaken across most schools in the past academic term,” Dr Baby Sam Saamuel, Chairman, Board of Directors – Indian Schools in Oman, said.
One of the highlights of the past term has been the completion of the new school project – Indian School Bousher (ISB).
“The construction of the new school, Indian School Bousher, with modern infrastructure and sports facilities was completed and the school opened for admissions, as per the proposed timelines, in the academic year 2019-2020. Another highlight has been the construction of a new building for Indian School Ibra. The new building for housing Indian School Ibra was constructed as per proposed timelines & the school shifted to the new building in the academic year 2019-2020,” he added.
Various other infrastructural improvisations were carried out across the schools, towards creating a favourable student-teacher ratio to the maximum extent possible.
“This included IS Al Maabela, IS Seeb, IS Muladha, IS Ibri, IS Rustaq, IS Buraimi. Other infrastructural improvisations are being carried out at Indian School Darsait (sports ground), Indian School Al Seeb (sports ground), and Indian School Muscat (Jibroo campus renovation),” he concluded.
With the new academic term having recently begun in the Sultanate, more than 660,000 local and foreign students returned to classrooms this month, and while the ministry does work to build new schools for fresh admissions who will require education in the coming years, it is also working to improve and repair existing schools to offer children a more vibrant school life.
A statement by the Ministry of Education said: “His Excellency also spoke about additions to education, explaining that the actual cost in the budget for adding facilities to 27 schools, is OMR3,765,455, and that a budget of OMR3 million more has been set out for Directorates General of Education to be able to renovate some of its schools during the current school year.
“A budget for loans totalling OMR4,972,888 has been set out to cover the costs of stationary such as notebooks, ink, and other consumable goods. Lastly, Books, gadgets, equipment, and furniture for administration offices have been provided for by 12 internal tenders for a total cost of OMR 4,428,167,” the statement added.
The ministry’s efforts to provide the best education goes beyond building schools, as work goes on developing the teachers, researchers, and administrators who watch over Oman’s children and provide the learning environment they need.
H E Dr Saud bin Salim al Balushi, Undersecretary for Planning and Human Resources in the Ministry of Education , said that the ministry “will carry out 104 training programmes for 15,198 people from different fields, as well monitoring the 317 ongoing training programmes of the career development plans at educational directorates across the governorates in Oman”.
He added that the ministry is currently targeting 500 employees for education programmes, including enrolling 20 ministry employees for PHD studies and 100 for Masters at Sultan Qaboos University. In addition, 245 more employees have been given the necessary approvals for full-salary study leaves, including 178 master’s students and 47 Bachelor’s students, and that 30 more places have been reserved for PHD students.