Muscat: The orientation programme for new undergraduate students at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) will begin tomorrow.
The programme will be managed by the Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Registration, the Foundation Programme administration, and various support centres at the university.
Dr Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, vice- chancellor of SQU, assured the new students that the university would spare no effort in providing best services. "Receiving the new batch of students will increase the number of admitted students at the university during the last 28 years to more than 60,000," Al Bimani said.
The following is the full interview with the vice-chancellor on the occasion of the admission of the new 3,252 students for the academic year 2013-2014:
"Traffic congestion and transportation are serious challenges in the university; therefore, we sought the help of specialists to solve this problem. As for the marked increase in the number of vehicles and traffic jams, the University Administration is in collaboration and constant coordination with the Royal Oman Police and Muscat Municipality to find the best solutions to reduce traffic congestion in and around the university. Further, a number of professors and students have proposed scientific solutions and suggestions to solve this problem, and the university now plans to apply these proposals and ideas.
"We have made our best efforts to address accommodation-related matters and the university has been renting residential buildings each year and then allotted them to the students. Unfortunately, students do not like these buildings and prefer to rent cheaper accommodations, which may affect their education due to the congestion and lack of cleanliness in the premises. The university now has plans to build hostels for male students inside the campus.
"The university has sought to provide many electronic services, such as electronic fingerprint services for free meals, as well as other services related to students' data, registration of subjects via internet, and providing wireless Internet access in all university facilities and residential complexes.
In collaboration with other local electronic companies, the university is selling laptop computers in instalments for students. Also, it has opened a learning network that is used by faculty members to create new areas for discussion and dialogue between students and faculty members, as well as creating a portal that allows employees and academics to review all data related to them. Additionally, to improve communications between students in the social network, I have my personal account on the social network (Facebook), and I access the account frequently. I receive complaints and suggestions from students and others through my Facebook page.
Job market needs
"Aligning academic programmes with the requirements of the job market is a priority for the university. When it comes to students in Oman and elsewhere, acquiring the right skills needed for the job market is a serious challenge. The university is keen to provide a suitable academic environment for graduate students and qualify them for future jobs. In addition, we have examined the policies and the strategies of the university and its compatibility with the nature of the job market and its needs. We have to adapt and create possible solutions. In Oman, the main challenge is the capacity of the job market to absorb the graduates across the country."