How are children issues dealt with in the Sultanate?

2ZAINAB AL NASSRI –

Despite the deep, negative impact of globalisation and its potential to interfere on heritage and cultural structure of a country, Omani families are making a progress in carrying out their roles and functions when raising children.
This is according to Dr Yahiay bin Bader al Maawali, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development.
He said that all social issues are only solved by creating partnerships and joining efforts of all elements in the society concerned with children. He also emphasised that strong values and moralities are essential in building a well-bonded and well-rounded family.
Al Maawali said that the evidence of this progress is shown by data they gathered pointing out that juvenile cases declined by almost 50 per cent if one is to compare 2015 and 2016 data.
He said that from 876 cases reported in 2015, it was down to 454 in 2016.
He also lauded the number of families who applied for family consultancy. He said that they have recorded 1,435 cases which indicated an advance level of awareness and education.
He also revealed that cases that benefited from reconciliation and settlement committee totals to 2,954 and divorce rate stood at 3,619 cases with a slight decline comparing to 2014.
“We need integrated efforts to establish good, healthy family that is grounded on coherent and untouchable principles. Because only this way will we have effective and productive individuals who burden their society with nothing but strong will and sincerity,” Al Maawali added.
The Sultanate looks into childhood issues from educational, cultural, economic and social perspective since these are the sectors that affect the upbringing of a child.
Recognising the need to overcome these issues, the Sultanate welcomed inauguration of kids’ civil associations and also established protection committees to detect cases of abuse. In 2016, 295 cases of children abuse were reported to the ministry with them instantly taking action to respond to these reports.
Even before that, the ministry worked to spread the concept of premarital courses with the aim of educating the youth in making the right choices in life.
The last counselling programme made by the ministry targeted 1,373 males and females to raise their awareness and knowledge on the basic and healthy essentials of a stable marriage.
Dr Raya al Mandhari, assistant professor at Sultan Qaboos University and a member of the State council, affirmed that all the efforts wouldn’t have paid off if not for everyone’s working together.
She said that family, education establishments, media, and the society are all involved in establishing a good family and raising good children.
“In a time of of globalisation, it seems hard to control what is going on inside your home. However, those challenges must be faced by all working together — parents, teachers, preachers at masjids, besides media people have something to contribute to enhance values and moralities,” she said.