An online platform created by five Omani students of Gulf College to help parents find suitable preschool educational institutions for their children placed first in the recently concluded Arab Innovation Hackathon.
The virtual hackathon, called ‘Innovation in the time of COVID-19’, was conducted by the Bahraini Researchers and Inventors Society (Brains) from August 9 to October 10.
Marwa al Rubaie, Suzan al Saifi, Mohammed al Habsi, Saeed al Habsi and Salim al Habsi created the platform called ‘Wesaya’.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Salim said, “Over 50 innovators from various Arab countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, participated in the competition. Twenty-two teams reached the finals.”
The hackathon focused on creative ideas to counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, inviting participants to develop technological and innovative solutions, involving hardware and software, to achieve economic stability.
It covered aspects of the pandemic in fields including the economy, health, education, administration, agriculture and food security, awareness and community participation, and entertainment.
“The Wesaya platform connects preschool educational institutions (the service provider) and parents (beneficiaries of the service) for children aged six months to six-and-a-half years,” Salim said.
While creating the platform, the team took into account the problems parents face in giving their preschool children’s the education they need.
“Some parents find it difficult to identify suitable schools for their children. Working women don’t have enough time to be with their children at home. There’s no integrated system for communication and follow-up between parents and preschool institutions. These are some of the issues we want to tackle,” Salim said.
The team’s challenges in creating Wesaya included finding contact details of some nursery school to obtain information on their facilities and admission formalities.
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion came to our rescue, while Gulf College provided us with computers to design the platform,” Salim said.