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Muscat University gets ministry green signal

Tribune Newspaper

Muscat University got final approval to start operations from the Ministry of Higher Education, according to its vice-chancellor. Foundation courses will start immediately.

The Sultanate has been in desperate need of first-class university courses in areas relevant to its diversifying economy. This institution was aimed at filling that gap by offering programmes in engineering and technology, business and management and transport and logistics, Anthony Cahalan told Oman Tribune.These three areas were identified by Oxford University Innovation’s (OUI) feasibility study as the ones where education capacity was most urgently required.Two of United Kingdom’s leading universities, Cranfield University and Aston University, would co-deliver degree programmes with Muscat University from September 2017, he said. The pathway programmes leading to these degree programmes will commence in 2016 through an academic affiliation agreement with MLS International College of Bournemouth, United Kingdom.This high quality education supported by research within the country will reduce the need for students to go to universities abroad. And Cahalan said its active engagement with industry should ensure that there was no “disconnect” between the education they received and the demands of industry.Muscat University, Cahalan said, would be a 21st century university, which by learning from the experience of older institutions, would “do best practice right from the beginning, based on the research of OUI in terms of giving us implementation plans and regulations for students and staff that are the best”.

The university would be entrepreneurial and innovative, said Cahalan. “We are very lean, nimble and agile and can respond to change very quickly because we are new. And we hope that we will be able to model that behaviour for our students so that they see it as a way of operating their own businesses.”

Entrepreneurship skills and engagement with industry will help economic diversification and employment generation.

The founders of the university belong to 37 prominent business families of the Sultanate and the university project is part of corporate social responsibility. This means they would be supporting the university without in any way interfering in its operations, said Cahalan, adding that the partnerships with Cranfield and Aston universities would ensure academic standards remain high.