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MHC signs MoU with Eshraqa to introduce StemaZone at Oman Children’s Museum

MUSCAT: The Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MHC) has entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Eshraqa, Corporate Social Responsibility Arm of Khimji Ramdas, to transform Oman Children’s Museum as the anchor location for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Arts (StemaZone) initiative.

The MoU was signed by Rahma bint Qassim Al Farsi, Director General of Museums, MHC and Nailesh Khimji, Director, Khimji Ramdas, in the presence of His Excellency Salim bin Mohammed Al Mahrouqi, Under-Secretary for Heritage Affairs at MHC and Gopalakrishnan Sankar, Executive Director, Khimji Ramdas.

The agreement between the two parties signifies a futuristic blueprint aimed towards inspiring young Omanis to enter STEMA fields and set them on the pathway from an early age. Putting a renewed focus on StemaZone initiative, the MoU highlights the country’s commitment to help students gain the skills they need to prepare for the demands of the global economy and jobs of the future.

The Oman Children’s Museum, dedicated to science, has been providing children with educational experiences covering human life, physics, and hands-on science-based activities. Eshraqa works towards the social development of the nation and aspires to significantly contribute towards the education sector by enhancing knowledge, skills and capabilities.

Under the aegis of this agreement, MHC and Eshraqa will collaborate on the execution of a year-long programme called the STEMA and Coding Initiative. Eshraqa, with guidance provided by DAI Global LLC, will carry out this future funded initiative to encourage opportunities for students in STEMA fields. The signing is significant given that the country is working toward achieving “Oman Vision 2040” which will need a pipeline of talented young Omanis who are equipped with STEMA skills and knowledge.

The Initiative will be national in scope, providing services to youth in multiple cities across the Sultanate. To accomplish this, the MHC will allocate space at the Nizwa Cultural Centre, Department of Heritage and Culture in Sohar and the Directorate General of Heritage and Culture at Dhofar to host the initiative for two weeks each this year. The objective of the initiative is to equip the Omani youth with skills they need to contribute to the economy and to tap the next generation of STEMA innovators and leaders in Oman. The curriculum of the initiative will target children aged between 8 and 16, with specific activities designed for both younger and older students.

Commenting on the signing of MoU, Rahma bint Qassim Al Farsi said: “The MoU is a continuation of concrete steps taken under the framework of augmenting public and private sector partnership between the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and the private sector. A major boost to museums, the agreement aims to keep pace with the prospects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in order to achieve the educational goals that the museums sector has stipulated to enrich the knowledge of school students. The signing comes under the guidance and powerful vision of the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq – May God protect and preserve him in building more scientific capabilities for Omani youth. Oman Children’s Museum is one of the cultural institutions concerned with simplifying science and technology through the dissemination of science and knowledge. Through our partnership with Eshraqa’s Khimji Ramdas CSR arm, the new StemaZone platform will develop the skills and capabilities of students in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and arts, while employing creative capabilities in the design and artistic aspects. The activities will be linked to educational curricula of the Sultanate and will improve the scientific skills of students which is a fundamental requirement required to cultivate a passion for scientific discovery and to find innovative solutions. Children from the age group of eight to 16 years will imbibe a scientific temperament in an ambience of fun and learning. Students can touch and operate the related devices to understand what is around him.”

She added, “The Children’s Museum, since its commencement, aims to develop a passion about exploration and knowledge among children and motivates them to expand their perceptions. Oman Children’s Museum ​​looks forward to implementing the STEMA zone in several governorates as a roadshow to create awareness and interest about this field. We are sure it will simulate and promote a creative spirit within youth of Oman.”

Elucidating on the signing of agreement, Nailesh Khimji, Director Khimji Ramdas, Responsible for CSR Affairs (Eshraqa) said, “This initiative is an opportunity to pay a glorious tribute to the visionary guidance of late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur under whose patronage the country has been able to retain its splendour, preserve its historical heritage, and keep pace with the advancement in science and innovation. Oman is set to achieve further prosperity and progress under the able leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said. In this perspective, the agreement will strengthen and promote the ecosystem of innovation at various levels. By expanding educational prospects for our students in the STEMA arena, we are giving them the tools they need to be successful across the spectrum from school to office situation. We are confident the framework of this MoU will encourage them to pursue careers across the StemaZone initiative.”

He added, “Both MHC and Eshraqa are working towards a common goal of making STEMA learning more fun, effective and process-based through the platform of Oman Children’s Museum. We are pleased that this initiative will be implemented during a milestone year for Khimji Ramdas which completes its 150th year of business operations in Oman. The company is proud of its legacy and of the many people who have contributed to this incredible journey.”

DAI Global LLC will take the lead in design, delivery and overall management of the initiative. It will include the museum management and staff in the design and delivery of the programme and guide staff of the museum in management and delivery of the activities.

The Ministry of Heritage and Culture will take an active role in coordinating with Eshraqa to develop the programme design and executing the programme during 2020. It will provide space for StemaZone in the open area of the museum (approximately 300 sq meters) and use of the group training areas in the museum. The museum will publicise the initiative to school students through its databases and /or networks.