First Higher Education College in Duqm launched

Duqm: The Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (SEZAD) announced on Wednesday establishing the first higher education college in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm, in partnership with Iskan Oman Investment Company SAOC (Iskan investment) and Middle East Education Venture LLC (MEEV), launching its first programme in the academic year 2021-2022.

The new college will be the core of the university city project that Iskan Oman is planning to establish in a phased manner in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm, following its usufruct agreement with SEZAD to develop an integrated academic city that will be built over an area of one million sq.m, where higher education colleges are the anchor for this development. The master planning of the area, which will also include commercial, residential and hospitality zones, was completed by Iskan Investment and approved by SEZAD.

At the first phase of the development, Iskan Investment have entered into a sub- usufruct agreement with Middle East Education Venture LLC (MEEV) to develop a portion of land to establish a higher education college.

Shaikh Ahmed bin Sultan al Yaqoubi, Vice Chairman of Iskan Investment Board of Directors, said after signing the agreement that this project is one of the company’s priorities, adding that Iskan focuses on responsible investment when selecting projects to invest on.

The higher education college is the second investment for Iskan Investment at SEZD as it developed previously a healthcare facility that has been operational since 2017, confirming its commitment for the development of Duqm on the long term.

Iskan Investment was formed in 2008 with pension funds and corporations from Oman and Kuwait shareholders. Since its inauguration, Iskan Investment invested in establishing and developing a number of schools, real estate and healthcare facilties.

On his part, Dr Abdullah al Sabahi, Chairman of MEEV, envisages to work closely with the Ministry of Higher Education, SEZAD, and Iskan Investment to implement the proposed college in line with Oman’s 2040 Vision strategy and further contribute towards realising Duqm development aspirations.

He added that MEEV has the proven capabilities including experience, technology and the network required to implement successful educational projects, stating that MEEV believes that digital technology is the enabler of future universities. Therefore, it intends to implement the latest technology components and to develop its programs with a global outlook, with international, academic and research partnerships that will contribute towards enhancing experiences, sharing knowledge, and future skills as projected by “World Economic Forum” (WEF) and “international skills” and the disruption expected to be brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

MEEV also intends to establish centres for competence, a centre for marine science and a centre for logistics and renewable energy. The purpose of these centres is to promote research commercialisation, build capacity and bring solutions to the social and industrial requirements.

MEEV said the planned college of higher education at Duqm will emulate the core values of Middle East College (MEC) of employability, sustainability and global harmony. Focus areas of the college will be to offer programs in the fields of management, technology, mechanical, chemical and petrochemical Engineering.

Alongside focusing on employability, MEC focuses on fostering partnerships with international institutes of academic prominence like Coventry University and Wolverhampton University in the UK and Breda University of applied sciences in the Netherlands to enhance students learning.

MEC said it was granted full accreditation in March 2020 by the Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA), receiving a high criterion rating of 3 for Teaching Quality and research output, making it the only education institution in Oman to receive a top rating for the two criteria. –ONA

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