The Reporter
Issue 491, 16 June 2003
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First Omani graduates are triumph for their country


Each University student celebrates their own personal triumph on graduation day, but the first graduates of the special University of Leeds degree programme for Omani teachers of English have been lauded as a triumph for their country as well.

Government ministers for education and for higher education attended the ceremony in Muscat, which saw nearly 300 teachers receive their BA in education studies (TESOL). The programme was developed at the University of Leeds as part of far-reaching reforms in the Omani education system.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor David Sugden, who attended the ceremony and held talks with the ministers, said: “This programme is the Omani government’s biggest single education contract and the largest overseas education undertaking for the University. It’s satisfying to know that our graduates will be helping to implement the educational reforms in Oman, drawing on knowledge and skills developed during their degree.” The ceremony, and Professor Sugden’s meetings with government ministers, made the headlines in the country’s main English language paper, Oman Daily Observer.

Graduate Shamsa bint Ali bin Khamis Al-Rashidi said: “The course motivated us and refreshed our interest in teaching. It helped us to develop our analytical and reflective skills and introduced us to different ways of doing classroom research. And it greatly improved our skills in English,” she added.

The programme aims to upgrade over 1000 Omani teachers of English to BA status by 2008. The teachers study for three years, primarily in Oman on a day release basis, taught by Leeds and local lecturers. During their second year, the students spend eight weeks in at the University, improving their English and learning more about British culture.


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