Aiming to create a balanced scientific process that combines both success and uniqueness as the important components of the educational process, the Colleges of Applied Sciences in Oman are working under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education. To bring quality education in the State, the colleges are striving to offer specialised courses to the students
The colleges of Applied Sciences are working continuously and steadily under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education and in accordance with the strategic plan of the colleges of Applied Sciences to assure optimal investment of skills and abilities and to enhance teaching and learning experience in the colleges. The colleges strive to achieve the quality of education by utilising all possible potentials. These colleges aim at creating a balanced scientific process that combines both success and uniqueness as the important components of the educational process.
The specialisations offered at the Colleges of Applied Sciences are
? Design Programme
? Information Technology Programme
? International Business Administration Programme
? Biotechnology Programme
? Communication Programme
? Engineering Programme
? English Programme
Academic Programmes Review
The programmes of Information Technology, Communication Studies, and Design have been enriched in the practical side by increasing the practical experience in all courses. The graduation projects will also be a principal component in the specialisations plans of the previously mentioned programmes with the necessity of linking these projects with the industrial sector. The new programmes involve training as a fundamental requirement for all students, in addition to adding the course (Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation), in response to the resolution of the Education Council. All these issues aim at providing the graduates of the Colleges of Applied Sciences with the skills required by the job market in order to fulfill the needs of the sustainable development.
The Strategic Plan of the Colleges of Applied Sciences (2015-2020)
The Strategic Plan of the colleges of Applied Sciences aims at developing the colleges and improving their performance in a scientific and systematic way. Setting the strategic plan of the colleges of Applied Sciences (2015-2020) has come as a result of series of scientific stages consistent with those applied in other higher education institutions when setting strategic plans. The strategic plan of the colleges involves in its development of all the stockholders. It includes the vision and mission of the colleges besides six strategic goals with six sub-mechanisms for each strategic goal. The strategic plan also includes performance indicators to measure to what extent the strategy is applied.
The Policies of the Colleges of Applied Sciences (2015-2020)
The policies of the colleges of Applied Sciences are clearly set including their definitions, importance and objectives. Twenty-seven policies were set to cover all fields of work in the colleges. In order to set these policies, an academic methodology was adopted starting with analysing the needs of the colleges and involving participation of teams from all different work scope in the colleges.
Training was provided to people who work on the strategy enabling them to understand the fundamentals, methodology and skills of setting and implementing these policies in order to fulfill the criteria of form and content and to be consistent with the bylaw of the colleges and the basic law of the Sultanate.
A comprehensive methodology was adopted in preparing these policies to ensure their effectiveness. However, some im- portant dimensions should be emphasised when evaluating the effectiveness of these policies. For example, the projects should be under trial for two years besides depending on the local recources and expanding the participation base by organising team works, sessions and workshops. Actual needs of the colleges should be also studied.
There will be a systematic evaluation of the colleges interaction with the new policies according to the policy guide prepared for this aim. Guide books containing policies and regulations will be set for every category in the college community like student guide. These guide books will be available on the colleges website to be accessed by all users to ensure communication and transparency.
The colleges of Applied Sciences annually host visiting professors to pass on their experience to students. Students also have training opportunity for a year during their study in order to hone their skills. The colleges also offer programmes for continuous learning for the community.
The colleges of Applied Sciences are currently working to develop consultations regulations in order to offer consultancy and services to the industry and business sectors. The colleges will serve the community in a practical and more organised way. The colleges will also be connected with the industrial sector to enrich the applied side of the learning experience, which is an essential part of its strategic plan. The Directorate General of the Colleges is planning to establish a unit in a forthcoming plan to provide the services of student support and guidance for the colleges of applied sciences in order to achieve its strategic goals and strengthen the students identity.
Creating Incubators for Entrepreneurship
The colleges of Applied Sciences are intending to create incubators for entrepreneurship. These incubators aim at enriching the educational community and providing a suitable atmosphere to embrace students graduation projects that are considered to be the real starting point of their career path.
The colleges of Applied Sciences are working at establishing integrated building systems and regulations for six colleges. New projects will be launched in future like the Engineering workshop in Sohar College of Applied Sciences. A Multiple- Purposes Hall will be opened in Salalah and Ibri Colleges of Applied Sciences along with new specialisations in entrepreneurship.
The Ministry of Higher Education represented by the Directorate General of the Colleges of Applied Sciences strives to develop the applied sciences colleges in accordance with the needs of education and labour market.
An electronic election system for the student’s councils will be activated in the colleges in the next academic year. There is also an idea to create a club for graduates as a way to communicate with the graduates of the colleges.
The colleges have already launched a Graduates Forum in Sohar College of Applied Sciences to connect the graduates with their institutions in order to enrich these institutions.
The Graduates Forum also aims at establishing good connections and relationships between the graduates and their colleges to support cooperation between them. It is also a chance to show the community and companies the graduates of the colleges along with their achievements in the work- place and introduce the different specialisations offered in the colleges.
Community Service and Exchange Programmes
Developing students’ skills and potentials are highly considered in the colleges. The ‘Obligatory Training’ within a specific system is a very important factor to enhance students` abilities to help them continue their academic journey and their own path later on.
The programme of the cultural student exchange is highly valued in the colleges. The colleges have received international students to study in different majors. The Directorate has also sent students to Germany, France, China, Britain, the United States of America, Finland, Morocco, India and Australia to study the languages of these countries. These students are now teaching the languages they learnt in Al-Rustaq College of Applied Sciences.
There is a plan for a cooperative training project, which is a regulated academic process to merge the educational process in classes with practical learning through providing students with productive careers close to the academic and professional trend with preference of paid jobs in most cases. The project will be first experimentally applied in the information technology department at Sohar College of Applied Sciences starting from the next academic year.