Muscat: As Oman will be getting its first exposure to the railway experience, specialised academic programmes should be developed to train Omanis to handle different stages of the project, said an official at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech).
Qualified workers will be required to plan, design, construct, operate and maintain the 'complex' national railway project, Dr Tobias Effey, head of Training and Smart Solutions Centre at GUtech, said at the Rail Exhibition and Conference on Wednesday.
"There is an absolute lack of rail-related education facilities in Oman. There is nothing in place so far, which is logical, because there is no railway right now… but we have to start setting up education facilities and develop curricula to train engineers and other necessary workers," Effey said.
He added that from an academic point of view, the 2,244-km-long Oman National Railway project, which is part of a wider GCC railway project, is 'complex' in nature as the tracks have to pass through desserts, wadis, sands, soft ground and hard ground.
All these are coupled with tough weather conditions which create special requirements during different stages, including the design and construction stage.
New courses to train staff
"So there is a significant investment need for academic and vocational training setup," Effey said, noting that universities, colleges, and training institutions have a responsibility to develop programmes that fit into the current and future needs of Oman.
He explained that GUtech has started working with the authorities concerned in Oman to introduce new courses that would help provide qualified staff for the 'huge' project.
GUtech is starting a B.Sc. in Logistics this semester and application is open to everybody until the end of September, Effey said.
The programme will equip students with the necessary skills to work in a number of careers.
According to him, the university is drafting some proposals about the required courses which it plans to submit to the Ministry of Higher Education for approval.
He said the new programmes can be much more effective if they are followed by Master's programmes and are internationally recognised. GUtech says it strives to become a leading university of technology in Oman and the region, thus defining the highest standards in education, research and innovation. It is also committed to ethical principles in all of its undertakings. The University welcomes students and employees from both genders, all ethnic, geographical, cultural and religious backgrounds.
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