By: Hasan Kamoonpuri
MUSCAT: In a presentation at the Ghedex, the Ministry of Higher Education, said that the number of overseas academic scholarships per year stands at 1,643. The scholarships for studies within Oman are at 28,000. As a result, over 29,643 Omani students benefit from government scholarships for higher education each academic year.Financial allocations towards local and overseas scholarships have been significantly augmented since 2011 on the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.
The ministry conducted an External Scholarships presentation at Ghedex for delegates from overseas higher education institutions (HEIs). “Although not based on an exact science, as the economy is constantly evolving, scholarships are supposed to be effective instruments in guiding students into occupations that are in the national interest. We aim to offer scholarships for studying in areas which have been identified as national priorities and which have potential for economic growth”, said Bregje Van Baaren, Researcher and Liaison, DG for Scholarships.
Omani school students, who are currently in grade 12/year 13, may now competitively apply to the Higher Education Admission Centre (HEAC) for a seat, internal scholarship, external scholarship and/or grant, provided they meet at least part of the criteria (right combination of relevant subjects). They can register and apply for at least 12 and maximum 40 programmes until June 1 and make changes in their personal preferences in July after their final exam results were announced.
Candidates will eventually be competitively selected by an unbiased, state-of-the-art electronic system based on their academic performance.
External scholarship recipients can enroll in undergraduate degree programmes related to broader subject areas including Built Environment, Business, Finance, Computer Science/ IT, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Education, Health, Media and Communication, Natural and Physical Sciences, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Process and Resource Engineering, Social Sciences, Transport and Logistics, Interior Design, Museum Studies and Tourism and Hospitality.
The eligibility criteria for the same has been researched and drafted by a team from the ministry and is partly based on entry requirements set by the recommended and selected overseas HEIs. “While students are competitively applying through the unbiased electronic system managed by HEAC, the ministries of education and higher education encourage students to focus on whether a particular programme suits them rather than primarily focusing on the preferred study destination.
“Staff members from the National Career Guidance Centre (MoE) and the DG of Scholarships (MoHE) have teamed up, and are participating in the Ghedex to provide prospective applicants with guidance to help them make more well-informed decisions while competitively applying for a seat, scholarship and/or a grant – we aim to explain to the students that their well-informed decision is their future”, said Bregje.
The most popular areas of study among applicants are traditionally engineering, business and management and information technology, although popularity partly depends on the number of allocated seats and whether applicants meet the eligibility criteria.
For example, medicine is a popular area of study as well but not all applicants meet the criteria”, said Bregje.
The external scholarships are divided into Group A and Group B, where Group A comprises of 143 external scholarships for relatively high achieving, well-rounded students and Group B comprises of 1,500 eternal scholarships for students who at least have satisfactory up to excellent school grades. “Regarding the options available for Group A students, majority of programmes are offered in New Zealand, the US, the UK and Australia. The HEIs need to be both recognised and recommended by ministry. As for the options for Group B students, programmes are offered in countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, Malta, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Malaysia, Poland and Brunei.
“For Group B, the overseas representatives in cooperation with the ministry selects suitable higher education institutions based on whether they meet all our criteria and standards” said Bregje. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) feels it is important for students to experience a part of their education in an international surrounding.
DAAD is offering information about opportunities for studying in Germany” informs Andrea Cornelissen, DAAD representative in Oman. Education Zone (EZone), a leader in the provision of higher education to all types of students, says “We care about students and place them in the best schools around the world. This year EZone is introducing USA education and high schools from around the world, as well as offering discount on admission fees at Ghedex” says Suad Alhalwachi, Director, Education Zone.
The Global Higher Education Exhibition closes today.
SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER