Muscat: Demands for improving the condition of student hostels in Muscat have been made after the Times of Oman (TOO) reported last week about the squalid conditions some female students are living in.
TOO had visited a few hostels in Qurum and Al Khuwair recently and found that they are in a dire state and need some work if the students are to live and study in peace.
Our thoughts were echoed by a member of the college management; whose female students live in such hostels. “I went to one of the hostels after receiving complaints about the conditions there and when I stepped in, I could smell the garbage near the entrance, there was dirt on the floor, water leaked from the roof, the rest rooms were without locks, mosquitoes and germs were floating around, and the number of the girls in each room was too high, six to eight in one room.”
“I wonder how they study, sleep or cook—the kitchen was terribly dirty, the rooms were full of rubbish, there were some holes in the balconies, the electric switchboard was open without a cover, some beds were actually bunks, which is not allowed. So we issued a warning to the investor and conveyed our observation, where we strongly interfered and informed the authorities about it, and since then we have sent our team with a checklist to see what has been done,” she added.
This is not the case with a single hostel, there are some others that are owned by private investors in similar states.
“Currently, our college doesn’t own hostels, but we did so in the past and in the future we will have our own. I noticed that there is also no security—the girls go and come whenever they like, it is full of flaws and things that are illegal. I believe the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) is doing their best, they have sent us rules and regulations and we are doing our best, but the problem is with the investor, who won’t spend on maintenance, a warden, maid, guards, a 24 emergency car and driver,” the member stated.
Although the students are paying about OMR40 to OMR60, the investor needs to provide basic facilities at the hostel, including maintenance for the building, cleaning services, security, a hostel warden and perhaps an emergency car, none of which are currently visible.
“I think such hostels should be shut straightaway, this is not the way to accommodate students or just anybody else. If they are still operating, they need to do so under strict guidelines, failing which they should be shut,” said Mohra, a former student of the college.