Friday, August 1, 2014
The Higher College of Technology in Muscat is the second largest higher education institution in Oman catering for nearly 7, 300 students studying in various programs. It is one of seven colleges under the Ministry of Manpower in the Sultanate. The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) has six regional Colleges of Technology, located in Musanna, Nizwa, Ibra, Salalah, Shinas, and Ibri and one Higher College ofTechnology in Muscat.
The Higher College of Technology (HCT), before being renamed and upgraded as such in 2001, was known as Oman Technical Industrial College, established in 1984 at the initiative of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to educate the citizens of Oman by implementing high quality programs in various fields. The regional Colleges of Technology were started in 1993 except the ones in Shinas and Ibri, which were started in 2005 and 2008 respectively. HCT is the only college under the Ministry of Manpower that offers programs at the Bachelor’s Degree level while the other Colleges of Technology offer programs only up to the Higher Diploma level. The College was intended to endow the Omani youth with knowledge and skills to face the challenges of the new era.
The programs of the Colleges of Technology implemented from September 2003 are the result of extensive research to ensure the suitability of the programs in terms of Oman industry needs and global academic standards. The new programs took nearly two years to reach their final shape. During these two years, the programs were sent to all the Colleges of Technology in Oman for approval and to universities abroad for comments. They were finally approved by these institutions, the industrial sectors in Oman, local universities, and academics and technology experts at a workshop held in March 2003 at HCT.
The programs comprise four levels in addition to the Foundation Program. A student could spend up to five semesters in the Foundation Program before going to the Certificate level in a chosen specialization and then to the other three levels, namely Diploma, Higher Diploma, and Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech). These four levels correspond to the first four levels of the postsecondary education described in Oman Qualification Framework (OQF). In HCT, students progress from one level to another depending upon their performance at each level provided they meet progressively demanding criteria. This unique structure affords HCT an element of competitiveness in fulfilling Oman’s demand for qualified and skilled human resources, thus, bridging the gap between achievement and aspirations. It also affords students the flexibility to exit the system after completing any level with a qualification enabling them to enter the job market.
The College has grown enormously from a student population of about 200 to the current size of about 7,300. Its facilities have expanded from three initial buildings to a total built-up area of approximately 49700 m2. The College has more than 600 faculty and staff members and an annual intake of about 1750 students into its foundation program besides transferred students in upper levels.
Apart from the English Language Center (ELC), HCT has seven academic departments: Engineering, Information Technology (IT), Applied Sciences, Business Studies, Pharmacy and recently Photography and Fashion Design. The Engineering specializations include Mechanical, Electrical Power, Computer, Telecommunications, Civil, Architecture, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Draftsmanship, Quantity Surveying and Oil and Gas. Software Engineering, Database, Networking, and IT-Business specializations are offered by the IT Department. Students interested in Science and Technology have the opportunity to specialize in Applied Chemistry, Applied Biology, School Lab, or Environmental Science in the Applied Sciences Department. The Business Studies Department offers the specializations of E-Commerce, Office Management, Human Resources Management, Accounting, and Marketing. Additionally, HCT offers specialized courses such as Certified Accounting Technician (CAT), International Computer Driving License (ICDL), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), and Oracle as co-curricular programs aiming to train students for international certifications.
HCT has dedicated centers and administrative divisions. The Educational Technology Center (ETC) is the central resource for Information Technology facilities, educational technology resources and library services in the College. The administrative divisions are the Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Administrative and Financial Affairs.