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Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Partnerships between Ministry of Education and Leading Local Companies in Oman: Challenges and Impact on Students Learning outside the Classroom
Paper Proposal Text :
Conference Proposal

Gulf Research Meeting, 2012

Partnerships between Ministry of Education and Leading Local Companies in Oman: Challenges and Impact on Students Learning outside the Classroom


The paper discusses the nature of partnerships between Ministry of Education and three leading local companies in Oman; Oman Oil Company, Eastern Coast Company and Oman Liquefied Natural Gas. Since these companies believe in the importance of investment in the education sector for the future of Oman, they have facilitated educational programs in order to improve students learning strategies and to give further emphasis to the skills that form the basis of the rapidly changing world. This paper also focuses on the impact of these partnerships has on students, teachers, parents and policy makers in MOE.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has given his Royal directions to the private sector companies to participate in the development of the country and invest in social and community development projects. Most of the companies direct their attention to Ministry of Education asserting that investing in education sector will have life-long effects on the Omani society. They have also examined that the education system in the Sultanate of Oman has been developing rapidly and striving to implement new reforms that direct students to self-learning, develop their critical thinking skills, encourage them to apply what they learn in science, mathematics and information technology classes in real life (Oman National Report, 2011). Therefore, they have planned and organized a number of programs that will help the ministry in preparing its graduates to upgrade their society toward a knowledge society. As a result, three partnerships between Ministry of Education and three leading local companies was ushered in 2012 ( Al Anqoudi, 2013). The following lines will shed lights on the companies educational services.
Oman Oil Company
It has suggested for the Job Counseling Centre in MOE to collaborate together to launch a program that helps guiding students to choose the right career that suite their skills, developing students' achievement levels in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and strengthening their critical thinking skills. Therefore, a “Takatuf Scholars” program was launched in 2012 which targets talented Omani students from grade 10 until grade 12. These students have a number of privileges which contribute to hone their academic and personal development skills (Al-Wahaibi, 2013).

Eastern Coast Company

It takes the responsibility of organizing the first Omani Innovation exhibition in which all the Omani scientific projects will be exhibited in order to obtain patent and be adopted by private companies (Al-Batashi, 2013). The Ministry of Education has encouraged teachers and their students to participate since it has a program called “Cognitive Knowledge Development Program” and one of the program’s tools is “Students projects”. In fact, it is considering such exhibition as a great chance for its students’ projects to compete with others and be adopted and developed by private companies. It is worth to mention here that one of these projects won first place in Sheikha Fadya Al Saad Al Sabah's 11th Scientific Contest for girls for the GCC countries, which was recently held in Kuwait in 2011 (Aysha Al-Salhi, 27th December 2011).
Oman Liquefied Natural Gas

Oman LNG's vision emphasizes active participation in the development of Oman in different aspects. Its partnership with the MOE has been considered a major enhancer for the development of education. In 2/6//2009 LNG has signed a memorandum of understanding with the MOE to establishing 66 interactive classrooms in 66 different schools across the Sultanate. Those classrooms which are equipped with laptops, smart boards and overhead projectors enhance the students active participation in the learning process. Such environment creates an effective and interactive learning atmosphere. So far LNG has established 165 interactive classrooms. Mr. Mustafa bin Ali bin Abdulatif, under secretary of financial and administrative affairs at the Ministry of Education asserts that those classrooms will have a positive impact on students learning.

Importance of the study:

There has been no research discussing the collaboration between Ministry of Education and private companies. This study is going to be the first attempt to evaluate the outcomes of such partnerships in creating an Omani Knowledge society where learning is not confine into classrooms.

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the partnership between Ministry of Education and private sector in preparing able to be directed to learning autonomy, this study is an attempt to seek answers of the following questions:

1) How did “Takatuf Scholars”, which was launched and supported by Oman Oil company, encourage students to learn outside the classroom?
2) What was the impact of “The Omani Innovation Exhibition” on police makers’ decisions in Cognitive Knowledge Development Program Department in the Ministry?
3) How did the faculty and the students perceive the use of ICT in “interactive classroom” which was initiated by Oman LNG?

Conducting one-on-one interview with administrators and teachers to in order to solicit their views on the effectiveness of these partnerships and reviewing some documents will be achieving the purpose of this study.
Students’ attitude toward “Takatuf Scholars”, “The Omani Innovation Exhibition” and interactive classroom is worth to be investigated by an online survey. The survey will be translated into the Arabic language to ensure reliability of the results. A pilot test will also be conducted in which random sample of teachers and students answer the translated questioner to check for clarity.