Laptop demand may surge if schools go online

Muscat: The Supreme Committee’s decision to allow retailers to start promotional campaigns, including discounts, coincides with the reopening of several activities, including schools.

While the Ministry of Education has prepared a framework for hybrid education, according to academic sources, the mainstay will be online education as the pandemic scare still looms large in Oman.

The Ministry of Health officials, including Dr Mohammad al Hosni, Undersecretary for Health Affairs has clarified that decision to open schools will be revisited if the situation does not stay in control.

Under these circumstances, it is necessary that gadgets such as tablets and personal laptops are available easily and affordable prices in the country.

“The demand for laptops will be unusually more in some homes with more than one child — two or even three will need these devices at the same time. We are coordinating with manufacturers and suppliers to get affordable and customised tablets and laptops for specific markets,” said a senior purchase manager of an electronic retail group.

He added, “Laptops are more likely to be preferred over tablets for their durability and the staying power of the battery. Students need limited and specific software and applications. We have also approached by the Ministry of Education to ensure the availability of such products in the market by November.”

In line with changing market and community needs, laptops developed by budding Omani engineers are expected to hit the market soon.

The first of its kind locally-designed laptop, Onsor, is developed by Muadh al Hinai, Yazin al Musafir, Hamza al Numani, and Meher al Kindi.

Speaking to the Observer, Muadh al Hinai said, “We will soon announce the technical details and the price at a press conference. We are also in the process of finding the right distributor for our product.”

He added, “We will be also talking to the Ministry of Education as the focus has shifted to online and distance education in the current pandemic situation.”

Layla al Balushi, an Omani parent of three said, “Online education is coming to stay for even if it is in a hybrid form. In the current economic climate, not all parents can afford to buy laptops worth around RO 50 or even more.”