Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) and the Ministry of Labour (MoL) held a meeting on Monday to discuss the challenges faced by the education sector in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting was held in the presence of H E Sheikh Nasr bin Amer al Hosani, Undersecretary for Labour in MoL, Eng Redha bin Juma al Saleh, chairman of the Board of Directors of OCCI, Dr Faisal Abdullah al Farsi, general manager of the Public Authority for Social Insurance (PASI), and members of the Education Committee in OCCI.
The meeting discussed a number of issues regarding educational institutions in the private sector, providing government support in social insurance contributions for Omanis due to the implications of the precautionary measures, and changing the activity of private school education institutions from commercial to educational service. Activating part-time work contracts and contracts for special work for Omani teachers was also discussed. Additionally, provision of facilities and incentives for owners of kindergartens, Q’uran memorising schools and private schools of various categories was addressed.
Eng Redha informed that the OCCI plays a pivotal role in activating the economic sectors and increasing their contribution to the national income. “The chamber cooperates with the public sector and the competent authorities in setting decisions that support the private sector and increase its contribution for sustainable development.”
H E Sheikh Hosani noted that the sultanate endeavours to create and improve the educational environment to be able to achieve the requirements of the Oman Vision 2040. “A high-quality educational environment will create a generation capable of keeping pace with the requirements of the times, the advancements in various sectors and adopting these in the service of the nation.”
He asked for the formation of a joint OCCI-MoL committee with representation of the concerned authorities which would present a vision and solutions for the challenges of the private education sector.
Ahmed bin Saeed al Balushi, chairman of the OCCI’s Education Committee, said, “The school and pre-school education sector faces many challenges due to the pandemic. The educational sector was the first to be completely closed. The sector engages a large number of workers and other sectors that support it, including transport.”
He pointed out that the sector has suffered the implications of the precautionary measures that led to the transfer of a large number of students from private to public schools. Many employees lost jobs due to the closure of private schools and institutes, kindergartens and Q’uran memorising schools.