MUSCAT: Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Education (MoE) has entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Eshraqa, Corporate Social Responsibility Arm of Khimji Ramdas to support the StemaZone initiative.
His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Ambusaidi, Undersecretary of Ministry of Education and Nailesh Khimji, Director, the Khimji Ramdas (KR) Group signed the MoU at a ceremony held in the Ministry of Education on March 23. The signing comes under the guidance and vision of the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik in building more scientific capabilities for Omani youth.
The agreement signifies an innovative strategy aimed towards inspiring young Omanis to enter STEAM fields and set them on the pathway from an early age. Putting a renewed focus on StemaZone, the MoU highlights the country’s commitment to guiding student’s gain the skills they need to prepare for the demands of the global economy and jobs of the future. 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 STEAM skills and knowledge.
StemaZone is a STEAM learning initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) meant for Omani children between 6 to 16 years of age. As part of the program, an online learning platform (e-StemaZone) will be launched soon.
Commenting on the signing of MoU, His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Ambusaidi said, “We are happy to sign this agreement today with Eshraqa in order to provide support for the StemaZone, which means directing students towards awareness of the importance of integration between Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Arts, which is in line with the current global trend in various educational institutions, and this agreement comes among the initiatives that are carried out by the local community and the private sector in support of the educational process, which the Ministry of Education strives to contribute to in order to raise the level of students in directing them to study and raising the level of their motivation towards science and technology.
We hope that everyone will benefit from this initiative by joining the virtual workshops run by the team or through the workshops held in the Children’s Museum, and we hope that they will be a source of benefit and enjoyment for our students. I wish all the best for all and that initiatives like this be a source of awareness-raising for our students. Thank you all very much and to the KR Group for their continuous support to the education sector in the Sultanate.”
Elucidating on the signing of the MoU, Nailesh Khimji, Director Khimji Ramdas, said, “The agreement between the two parties indicates a futuristic blueprint aimed towards inspiring young Omanis to enter STEAM fields and set them on the pathway from an early age.
Putting a renewed focus on learning, the MoU highlights the country’s commitment to helping students gain the skills they need to prepare for the demands of the global economy and jobs of the future. In the coming weeks, we are also set to launch online learning through LMS, a cloud-based EdTech tool that assists educators to teach. As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, governments around the world have issued public policies that include social distancing, isolation, and self-quarantine, teaching through online method is the best way forward. Meanwhile, the physical center for StemaZone will help in expanding educational prospects for our students in various topics. They will get the necessary tools they need to be successful across the spectrum. We are confident the center will encourage students to pursue careers in Science, Engineering and Technology and Arts.”
Key benefits of going online
Eshraqa will carry out this online initiative to encourage opportunities for students in STEAM fields with guidance provided by DAI Global. The decision to launch e-StemaZone came as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19 has disrupted learning in schools, museums, after-school programmes, and makerspaces. Although the Children’s Museum and many other organisations are still closed, makerspaces, schools, museums are all making efforts to continue learning through virtual means.
e-StemaZone will help develop students’ technological skills by having them interact with content online. Most importantly it will set up a library of free courses that can be accessed by students anytime. This virtual interface will enable online STEAM workshops to continue with virtual instruction.
Learning Management Systems (LMS) are the online platforms on which eLearning takes place delivering digital science and technology workshops through a customised platform. It uses engagement mechanisms such as gamification to keep students actively learning on the platform. It is responsive and adaptable to any device including mobile phones and tablets.
The Children’s Museum, which is the anchor location for StemaZone, will also open following the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Eshraqa, the social development arm of the Khimji Ramdas Group works towards the nation building at the grassroots and aspires to significantly contribute towards the education sector by building infrastructure that will lead to enhancing knowledge, skills, and capabilities.