Muscat: With the start of the new academic year, more than 1,600 students are flying abroad to study under a foreign scholarship programme of the Ministry of Higher Education.
A series of orientation programmes are being organised by the ministry in association with the embassies of the host countries for the students and their parents to inform them about the rules and regulations, as well as the social and cultural practices of the countries where they will study during the coming years.
Recently, the ministry organised orientation programmes for the students who would be heading to Australia, US, UK and India. They were addressed by the Omani officials as well as by the officials of the embassies of their host countries. Dr Saif bin Salim Al Hadimin, from the office of the Grand Mufti of Oman, delivered a lecture urging Omani students to take care of their morals and ethics.
During interactive sessions, officials of the embassies of the host countries told these students about the laws, life and facilities which would be available for them in their new place of residence. The officials also assured the students that they would be well taken care of and the Omani embassies, consulates and other offices would also be available for them if they required any help.
Quoting Hamad bin Hamoud Al Balushi, director general of foreign scholarships, Times of Oman had recently reported that this year the Ministry of Higher Education has offered 1,643 scholarships for studies abroad. The countries which are on the list of the scholarship programmes this year are the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand along with Germany, Malta and Ireland. Also on the list are Poland, Austria and India along with Jordan, Malaysia and Holland.
Ala Abdul Latheef, a student who was going India to study radiology, said that the information was significant as she would be living in a different environment in a different country. She said that Oman's embassy in India was making all efforts to ensure that the academic activities of Omanis were smooth and more fruitful.
Amir bin Ibrahim Al Balushi, who will study medicine in India, said that even before getting the opportunity, he had visited India as a tourist, which did not go off too well.
"So, when I was offered a scholarship to study in India, I was reluctant initially, due to the quality of services provided at the place of study, stay and the nature of people. However, the orientation and information which we got at the event was adequate."