Times of Oman
Muscat University is moving rapidly from being a concept to becoming a reality. The under construction university is scheduled to open its doors to its first batch of students in September 2016, a statement said.
“In recent months, several significant developments have been achieved by the Muscat University’s leadership in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and the University’s lead consultant, Isis Innovation, the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford,” the statement from the university added.
The founders of Muscat University have undertaken extensive research to create an evidence base for the development of the university so that it addresses the needs and aspirations of students and employers.
Among the many initiatives that have been undertaken to lay the foundations for the establishment of Muscat University are, preparation of a situational analysis of higher education needs in Oman involving field work interviews, visits by the Muscat University founders to high-quality international academic institutions and universities in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and the United States and hosting a workshop on “Academic Affiliation Arrangements” at the Ministry of Higher Education in Muscat by the Muscat University in December last year. “Supported by the university’s founders, Muscat University’s senior leadership team will help ensure that the university embraces a robust and dynamic interdisciplinary approach. The university will offer numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration among both faculty and students,” the statement added. Already, close collaboration with The Research Council (TRC) of Oman and the Industrial Innovation Centre (IIC) is taking place. The Vice Chancellor of Muscat University, Professor Anthony Cahalan, who is from Australia, took up his post in Muscat in early September. Prof Yusra Mouzughi from the United Kingdom has been appointed as deputy vice-chancellor, Academic Affairs and Professor Costas Chryssou, also from the United Kingdom has been appointed as the deputy vice-chancellor, Enterprise and Engagement. “Both appointees will relocate to Muscat shortly,” the statement added. Muscat University will aim to produce graduates, who will be equipped with not only the technical and professional skills relevant to their academic discipline but, equally importantly, with the personal or ‘soft’ skills that will help ensure the appeal of the graduates before prospective employers.
The university will also seek to offer degree programmes in engineering that include collaborative activities, such as work placements and industrial research projects, enabling the students to work as closely as possible with local and regional businesses and industry. A further priority area for the university will be that of transport and logistics (including supply chain). Muscat University is confident that this sector represents a key growth area for Oman, as well as a significant source of employment for many years to come. The third of the university’s priority areas is business and management. Muscat University’s Executive Education Centre (EEC) will also aspire to be the foremost among such centres in Oman, educating and inspiring entrepreneurial business leaders from Oman and the wider region to create new opportunities through action.
Muscat University’s main campus will be located at an excellent site in close proximity to the city of Muscat. Construction is expected to be completed within three or four years. The Ministry of Housing has agreed in principle to allocate a plot on the Express Road in Wilayat Bausher for the permanent campus of Muscat University and the Ministry of Higher Education has been informed of this decision. It was two years ago that the founding committee of Muscat University, chaired by Dr. Juma Al Juma, had signed an agreement for obtaining consultancy services on the project of setting up Muscat University. The agreement involved conducting relevant field studies, preparing a project feasibility study, implementation plans, formulating a quality assurance framework, as well as devising a human resource selection criteria.