What has been happening at Bayan and Mazoon College over the past year?
We moved from a traditional educational system to a virtual advanced educational system using the Learning Management System (LMS), the Canvas. The LMS, Canvas has been implemented in our colleges since September 2018, and when face-to-face lessons were canceled during the pandemic, we simply informed our staff and students that all classes would be virtual. We are the only college using Canvas in the region which helps to maintain quality and integrity in teaching during the pandemic. We implemented many policies to maintain the excellence of our quality and invested in tools that ensured high integrity and students' engagement. We did surveys to determine our students' morale during the pandemic and found ways to engage them further. Bayan College also sponsored a major sports competition, mainly for girls playing football and running, in order to keep our students active and connected.
How are you preparing students to meet the Omanization demands of the market?
Before offering any program, we conduct a feasibility study that tests the market needs. If the program does not have a local or international market need, we simply do not introduce it. All our programs are reviewed this way every year, which ensures we meet local and international needs. We keep strong relationships with other HEIs in Oman and outside Oman to share best practices and learn from each other. The pandemic has brought us closer, as all universities and colleges around the world are facing the same issues such as enrollment, because of the travel ban on international students.
Has Vision 2040 inspired you to offer new courses?
The strategic plan of Mazoon and Bayan College is aligned with Vision 2040. One of the main points of Vision 2040 is to attract more international students and develop more programs that relate to the job market and encourage research and innovation. Mazoon and Bayan College are linked with The Research Council and have our own electronic journal to access publications from all over the world. Our strategic plan is based on research, which is what we are extensively doing and can be witnessed when visiting our website or journal. Mazoon published more than 314 research papers in well-recognized journals. In 2014, Bayan College signed an agreement with Freie University in Berlin wherein our media and communication students and faculty will participate in workshops and research project annually. Bayan College is also the founder of the Arabian European Association for Communication Professors, and our research is supported by the German DAAD. We are alone in the market of research and innovation in terms of communication and media, and our patents are registered with the Ministry of Trade.
How does the curriculum need to adapt to the evolving needs of the market?
Every academic program in Mazoon has a graduation project that requires students to work in the field. All our students at Bayan College cannot graduate without a semester of working in the field and supervised by the professors. We have ties and links with all of industries. For example, our criminal justice program has ties with the court, police station, and direct ministry while our psychology program has a direct link with hospitals. Bayan College is also the only one with an agreement with the Omani Journalist Association. Bayan gives journalists their full scholarships to study at the college, while the association offers our students training linked to jobs. This is why our graduates and alumni do not face the issues of unemployment; in fact, we have the highest rate of employment. All our programs are linked with industry through affiliate agreements, which provides all our students with training before graduation.