Enthused by response, Science Festival to get bigger next year

MUSCAT, Oct 28 – The Oman Science Festival will get bigger from next year with the participation of also international schools, said a coordinating official from the Ministry of Higher Education.
According to Sulaiman al Balushi, around 25,000 visitors attended the festival over the three days at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, which was backed by the private sector. It focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
He said the response was overwhelming thanks to the media campaign and hope to have bigger participation next year, may be even international schools.
The second phase, which began on October 26 and concluded on 28, saw around 300 activities at the accompanying exhibition apart from recent inventions by students, both Omanis and residents. Awards were also given to students for their creativity and innovations.
The festival was aimed at improving the general awareness of the public, students and especially young people. It aims at making students and members of society have continuous access to science through ways that encourage them to understand the importance of science. The festival seeks to provide knowledge, experience and innovation among school and college students.
On the last day of the festival, the evaluation committee announced the winners in the robotic competition, the Petroleum Development Oman Renewable Energy Prize, as well as the Programming Olympiad Competition. Over 20 teams from different public and private schools participated in various competitions.
In the field of robotic competition — collecting balls competition — Muscat Governorate won the first place, Musandam Governorate the second, and Al Sharqiyah South Governorate third place. As for the robotic line tracing competition, Al Batinah South Governorate first, Al Dakhiliyah Governorate second, and Muscat Governorate won the third place.
In the programming Olympiad competition, Al Sultan Private School first place, Manar Al Alam second, Shuwaifat International School third place, and Durrat Al Khaleej Private School fourth place.
In Oman Petroleum Renewable Energy, five projects were chosen and will be honoured on January 8, on the Omani Environment Day. These projects are the Scientific Energy Park of Al Shawamikh School, the BIOOLITE project for Al Sha’athaa Bint Jaber School, the Golden Cage Project of Samad Primary School in, and use of moringa seeds to reduce the salinity in the wells, project of Hafsah bint Omar School, and environment friendly home project of Sawda Um Al Mu’mineen School in Al Dhahirah Governorate.
The festival also hosted a discussion session included Dr Mohammed Al Badawi, Assistant Professor at College of Science at Sultan Qaboos University, and Mona al Azhar, a student of Computer Science at Sultan Qaboos University. The session encompassed a definition of the programming Olympiad in terms of goals. The project is implemented in 20 schools with a plan to expand in the future and aims to enhance the programming education for students.
The session also reviewed the experience of Mona al Azhar in this competition as the university wanted to benefit from her participation in this field. The international competition is the first of its kind in the Sultanate and goes through several levels starting from school level, then the wilayats, then the governorate and then the whole Sultanate before the international level.
Al Badawi noted that the competition aims to attract the generation of public schools, as the curriculum does not include a large amount of programming topics, and the environment of the competition teaches the participant the skill of teamwork, as one device is given to five participants with five questions in five hours. This is where the teamwork comes important and the work environment teaches them how to work under pressure, and short time.
On the stage of the festival, the Iranian Mustafa Team presented various scientific experiments in chemical reactions, physics. These showcases included the movement of gases in nature, sounds and their modes of transmission, light and its spread among other chemical interactions. These experiments aim to simplify the understanding of various phenomena around us in our daily
lives.
The Engineering Corner presented a scientific competition on the stage as well entitled “Try, Enjoy, and Learn”. It is a challenge between three teams; each team consists of three children. Each team should sort a set of electronic parts as lights and keys. The competition enjoyed a large audience of school students.
Many ‘scientists in costume’ were wandering around the festival corners. One of these scholars was Al Rustaqi who was an Omani scholar named Rashed bin Omairah; a famous physician who combined medicine preparation and treatment alongside with many works. Another scholar at the festival was Ibn Hayyan, an Arab scholar who was proficient in chemistry, astronomy and engineering. He was the first to use chemistry in practice in history. Jagarin was another scholar we met at the festival. He was an astronaut, the first person to fly into outer space and orbit around the Earth. We also saw Madame Curie, a physicist and chemist with many researches and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize.