Today, the Sultanate celebrates the Omani Teacher’s Day, which falls on February 24 of each year.
On this occasion, Madiha bint Ahmed Al Shaibaniah, the Minister of Education, delivered a speech congratulating all the teachers working in the educational field.
She said, “It is my pleasure, as we celebrate the Omani Teacher’s Day, to extend our sincere congratulations on this occasion, appreciating your kind efforts, your dedication to fulfilling your lofty educational mission, and your role in preparing your students for a better future for them and our dear country, so Happy Omani Teacher’s Day.”
She added, “The challenges facing the world after the spread of COVID-19 has had a major impact in various areas of life: health, economy, society and so on, and cast a shadow directly on the education sector. Many countries have found innovative solutions and methods for providing educational services that ensures the safety of learners and those in-charge of educational work. Providing quality and sustainable education is now relying heavily on technology and electronic distance education, through interactive educational platforms established for this purpose.”
In light of the current exceptional circumstances, she stressed, “Education in the Sultanate enjoys a great interest and diligent follow-up from His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik. The Supreme Committee in charge of dealing with the spread of COVID-19, took the decision of applying the blended learning curriculum with a focus on distance education. Accordingly, the Ministry of Education has laid the foundations and controls needed to implement blended education, activate e-learning as a central component of the educational process, and take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of teachers, students and school environment.”
“Taking advantage from the best global experiences and practices in education during this pandemic and thanks to the efforts of its employees and sincere bids for teachers, the Ministry adopted two educational platforms: the Mandharah platform for grades (1-4), and the Google classroom platform for grades (5-12) and post-basic education classes,” she added.
She also indicated, “The current school year is an exceptional year in every sense of the word. The educational process has not faced a difficult challenge as the one currently facing, but what you have made sacrifices in order to educate your students since the beginning of the pandemic. We are very proud of your remarkable role in educating students about the importance of adhering to health procedures, your positive interaction with electronic educational platforms, and your great effort in producing educational content. You have been providing lessons through various television channels, participated in training programmes remotely, found innovative methods of teaching, and built learning societies aimed at exchanging educational experiences and experiences, all of this is a proud and very important acquisition for which you deserve major praise and many thanks.”
At the end of her speech, she stated, “The next stage requires you to continue the educational process with efficiency and competence. We need to preserve these gains, and build on them by multiplying efforts in improving educational practices and devising advanced methods to consolidate the principles of self-learning among students. We should work on instilling citizenship values in students, and providing them with accreditation skills on the psyche and scientific research. All that shall lead to preparing a generation capable of interacting with renewed data, and enjoys the skills of the twenty-first century, in line with the objectives of Oman 2040 Vision, which made the development of the educational system and the improvement of its outcomes a fundamental basis for the comprehensive development of the country.”
In the current academic year 2020-2021, the total number of teachers in public schools reached 56,827 of whom 48,176 were Omani. Female teachers formed the highest percentage of the total number at 72.96 per cent while the male teachers formed 27.03 per cent of the total number.
The statistics indicated that the largest number of Omani teachers is concentrated in North Al Batinah Governorate, with 10,103 teachers.
The Ministry of Education was keen to enhance the knowledge of the Omani teacher and provide him with the necessary skills to face the challenges of the spread of COVID-19, which requires providing teachers with the knowledge and methods necessary to develop their level of performance in the field of distance education.
The training programmes included strategic central programmes that have been going on since last year, targeting 4399 teachers. They included a group of different programmes that meet the needs of teachers in various fields. The first teachers programme targeted 575 teachers, the mathematics experts programme targeted 61 teachers, the “Arabic Language Experts” programme targeted 58 teachers, the “Science Experts” programme targeted 96 teachers, the “English Language Experts” programme targeted 75 teachers, and the “Experts in the Field”programme targeted 43 teachers, and the “New Teachers” programme targeted 2,899 teachers.
The training programmes also included central short programmes implemented in the year 2020. These programmes included four basic elements, namely: the distance education programme, targeting 58099 teachers, the science and mathematics chains programme targeting 3822 teachers, and the training programme for new teachers by contracting targeting 338 teachers, and the English language literacy programme targeted 437 teachers. Thirteen more training programs will be implemented targeting 1465 teachers.
It is worth mentioning that the Ministry has also been keen on qualifying teachers by providing opportunities for candidacy to obtain academic qualifications in postgraduate programmes for masters or doctoral degrees in accordance with the approved nomination controls set by the Ministry in cooperation with universities and colleges inside and outside the Sultanate.