MUSCAT: Representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) on Monday gave a presentation to delegates from foreign higher education institutions on the 1,643 external undergraduate scholarships to be offered to Omani students in the 2015-16 academic year.

A press release stated that Said al Rahbi, director of qualifications, equivalence and recognition, Hilal al Azki, director of scholarships department for post-graduate studies and Bregje van Baaren, researcher and liaison officer, Directorate General for Scholarships, MoHE, addressed the gathering at Global Higher Education Exhibition (Ghedex) at Oman International Exhibition Centre.

Omani students, who are in grade 12 or year 13 (foundation course), can now apply to the Higher Education Admission Centre (HEAC) for a seat, internal scholarship, external scholarship and/or grant, provided they meet at least a part of the criteria (right combination of relevant subjects).

“They can register and apply for at least 12 and a maximum of 40 programmes until June 1 and make changes in their personal preferences in July after their final exam results are out. Candidates will be selected by an electronic system based on their academic performance,” Bregje was quoted in the release as saying.

“External scholarship recipients can enrol for undergraduate degree programmes related to broader subject areas including built environment, business, finance, computer science/IT, earth and environmental sciences, education, health, media and communication, natural and physical sciences, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, process and resource engineering, social sciences, transport and logistics, interior design, museum studies and tourism and hospitality.”

The eligibility criteria set by an MoHE team is based on admission requirements set by higher education institutions.

“While students apply through the electronic system managed by HEAC, the Ministry of Education (MoE) and MoHE encourage students to focus on whether a particular programme suits them rather than primarily focusing on the preferred study destination.

“Staff members from MoE’s National Career Guidance Centre and the Directorate General for Scholarships, MoHE are participating in Ghedex to guide prospective applicants on how to apply for a seat, and scholarships,” added Bregje.

“The most popular areas of study among applicants are engineering, business and management and IT, although popularity partly depends on the number of allocated seats and whether applicants meet the eligibility criteria. For example, medicine is a popular area of study but not all applicants meet the criteria,” she added. The scholarships are divided into two groups. Group A has 143 external scholarships for high-achieving students while Group B has 1,500 scholarships for those who have excellent school grades.

Regarding the options available for Group A students, a majority of programmes are offered in New Zealand, the US, the UK and Australia. “The higher education institution needs to be both recognised and recommended by MoHE.”

Group B students have the option of programmes in countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, Malta, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Malaysia, Poland and Brunei. “The overseas representatives in cooperation with MoHE select suitable higher education institutions based on whether they meet all our criteria and standards,” Bregje said.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily