Sultanate needs to move towards knowledge economy

I had an opportunity to attend a lecture by Dr Al Khattab bin Ghalib al Hinai, member of the State Council, on ‘Knowledge Economy.’ It was organised by Muscat University which is playing major national, social and academic role in the country.
It is the responsibility of the universities to lead the research works as an engine which takes the nation towards development in true sense.
This transformation helped the oil and gas sector to become a major source for spending on all round development of the country over the years. The sector has the potential to continue to lead the transition to knowledge economy, by taking steps which have already been discussed many times.
Green energy project can be one of the examples of these efforts for transition towards knowledge economy.
It was urged to adapt the academics and its associated activities according to the requirements of the industry and its various specialisations, and indulge in scientific research programmes to support industrial movement in the country.
It was sought that it should be the prime duty of academic institutions to support scientific research in its broader sense to achieve the intended goals and transform into knowledge economy.
Dr Al Hinai had diagnosed the problem and the solution in an hour during the lecture which I mentioned earlier.
He made many surprised and bewildered as was evident from the faces of those who attended the lecture.
He analysed the entire situation giving examples from sports and physics simultaneously, making the audience go deep into what he was talking about and opening each knots of the complex subject one after the other.
This was necessary to convince that tapping all resources available with us is necessary for a better future.
Despite the depth of the discussion on adapting educational institutions according to practical requirements of the knowledge economy and its challenges, the speaker did not show any pessimism.
He never gave doubts about the capabilities.
What he called for was to change the curriculum of our educational institutions to research oriented one from the very beginning, so that orientation of research helps youth in every stage of their educational life from primary school to college and then to universities, where they would have to do actual research work.
Only bridging the gap in approach between the role of science and production institutions in reaching out to each other, pinpointing the factors which can help in transition to knowledge economy and what it requires, can transform this civilised nation and push it to the ranks of countries of knowledge economy.
This is what we want in our future.
However, we should understand that all achievements which increase the
pride of the country and raise its stature needs sacrifices.
We should also understand that knowledge is the only vehicle of development and research is the only wheel to move it to reach our destination.
We can learn from the experience of Oman Oil Company which brought movement of change in the oil and gas sector and transformed it into the melting pot of renewable
energy and used all latest technologies for achieving it. It was possible as it used the resources of oil and gas in research.
The speaker spoke about exemplary investment of resources and use of scientific research in increasing the returns, and keeping pace with technical development aimed at transition to knowledge economy.
It is not difficult, provided there is will and precise understanding of the development, its requirements, proper governance of educational institutions and monitoring their performance in the area of research.
We should not put the cart before the horse.
We should bring education closer to the industry so that we can make achievements as per the vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.
This vision of His Majesty the Sultan helped us to develop from where we were in early 70s and reached to where we are now.
Now the caravan needs a research and scientific push to transform into a knowledge economy.
I am sure we can do it.

ali.matani2@gmail.com