Winners of first Junior Academy Programme awarded

Muscat: The Center of Excellence for Advanced Telecommunications Technology and IoT (CoE) at Innovation Park Muscat of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation organised a ceremony awarding the winning teams of the first cohort of the Junior Academy programme at Innovation Park Muscat on Tuesday.

The ceremony was under the patronage of Dr. Saif bin Abdullah Al Haddabi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MoHERI) and in the presence of Dr. Abdullah Al Balushi, President of Ericsson Oman, and a number of officials from the strategic partners of the programme.

The programme is implemented by the Centre of Excellence in a strategic partnership between Ericsson, the Ministry of Finance represented by the Partnership for Development Programme (Offset) and Omantel and in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and New York Academy of Sciences.

During the ceremony, ‘Girls Combating Misinformation’ by Esraa Al Nabhani (Marfa Daris School), was awarded first place in the international challenges as announced by the New York Academy of Sciences last month, which focused on combating the spread of misinformation in the public health sector. As for the local challenge, ‘Our Life is Safer with Smart Shelter’ won first place in the Ericsson Smart Homes Challenge. The team consisted of Al-Zahraa Al Nabhani (Alshatha Bint Jaber Primary School), Taher Al Ruqaishi (Murtafaat Izki Schhol), Miaad Al Shaaili (Almamoor School) and Tahra Al Ruqaishi (Um Alkhair School).

The second place for the local Smart Homes Challenge went to ‘Let’s Make our Life Smart’ by Fatma Al Abri (The Qar School), Khalid Al Kalbani (Saa’d Bin Ubadah Elementry School), Laya Moosa Al Mafarji (Marfa Daris Basic School), Sanaa Khalid Al Balushi (Fatma Bint Asad School), Nasser Al Rashdi (Abdullah Bin Rawaha School) and Razan Al Rawahi (Hafsa Bint Omar Basic Education School for Girls), while the third place went to ‘Xmaisons’ by Farah Al Ghefeili (The International School of Choueifat), Ahmed Al Hadhrami (Sheikh Nasser Al Kharusi School), Maryam Al Hashmi (Al Urwah School), Renad Al Shukaili (Rustaq School), Haitham Idris (Al Khoudh School) and Reem Ismaili (Al Sahwa Schools).

In regard to the programme, Dr. Abdullah Al Balushi, President of Ericsson Oman, mentioned during the ceremony that Ericsson alongside the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, were able to introduce 100 Omani youth to the world of new technologies and provide guidance to them to develop Internet of Things (IoT) use cases based on the latest 5G and IoT technologies, stating that “given that IoT technology is vital to achieving the national agendas of the Sultanate of Oman in building smart cities, which will have an important role in the future of the health, transportation and data security sectors in the Sultanate, I am confident that the knowledge and skills of IoT that students developed through this programme will help them to play a big role in the digital future of the Sultanate.”

Moreover, Hajar Al Balushi, Project Manager of the CoE at the Ministry, mentioned that “this programme supports the youth in bridging the skill gap in research and project development, as well as widening their horizon and introducing them to real life challenges and how to solve them in a practical way, with an added fun element.”

The Junior Academy programme indicated that the number of applications in the first edition of the program reached 523 applications, with 101 male and female students from various governorates of the Sultanate were enrolled, in which the students participated virtually for three months in the Internet of Things Smart Homes Challenge to find solutions and ideas on how to develop these homes smart technology in addition to some Omani students participating in global challenges, with one of them winning a challenge in the health sector.

The winners of the 1st Junior Academy program will receive a package of incentives, most notably remote academic programs and credit hours provided in association with the University of Pittsburgh, a gift voucher, a smart tablet device and a certificate of participation from the programme.

The second cohort of the Junior Academy programme will kick off in September 2022.

The Junior Academy programme aims to provide young students with the opportunity to learn how to research and develop innovation skills and compete to find solutions to global societal challenges in the field of technology and science.

The program can contribute to deepening the participants’ knowledge and enabling them to take the initiative to contribute to providing solutions to technical problems. The programme also comes in line with the goals of Oman Vision 2040 to shift towards a knowledge-based economy, and to provide current generations with the necessary skills to face the future, by refining their capabilities and empowering them with knowledge that allows them to grow as individuals in the Omani society.

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