Unesco learning city award to Muscat a great honour

Oman Monday 19/February/2024 20:01 PM
By: Times News Service
Unesco learning city award to Muscat a great honour

Muscat: Muscat joining the Unesco Global Network of Learning Cities is an international recognition of the city’s position to ensure continuity in the learning process, according to a senior official.

Muscat took its place within the global learning network at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Institute for Lifelong Learning, which included more than 200 cities of the world.

Besides Muscat, Sur and Nizwa wilayats from the Sultanate of Oman achieved this remarkable feat. The announcement of Muscat joining the Unesco Global Network of Learning Cities came after it successfully passed all the criteria required for this membership.

Ali bin Muhammed Al-Saidi, Wali of Muscat, said that the cultural and civilisational aspects of Muscat made it worthy of this prestigious membership.

Concept of learning cities

Al-Saidi said that the concept of learning cities, according to the Unesco Institute for Lifelong Learning, is a city that is keen to effectively mobilise its resources in all sectors to enhance comprehensive learning for all, from the basic education to the higher education stage. “It encourages learning within families and communities, facilitates learning for work and on the job, expands the use of modern learning technologies,” he said.

Additionally, it enhances quality and excellence in the field of learning and it promotes a culture of lifelong learning.

Muscat wilayat submitted a comprehensive application to join the Unesco Global Network of Learning Cities within a record period and it achieved this global recognition within a short time.

Thus, Muscat officially became one of the learning cities due to its commitment to achieving sustainable development purposes within the governorates’ development, which is one of the pillars of ‘Oman Vision 2040’ document to benefit from competitive advantages.

This includes the focus of comprehensive learning based on establishment of a culture of lifelong learning for all people.

An ideal educational city

The Wali of Muscat said that the wilayat has several components that make it an ideal educational city. “The city is famous for its historical monuments and stunning natural landscapes. It is a vibrant centre of scientific, cultural, economic, tourism activities as well as peaceful coexistence. The wilayat is also domicile to many scientific, cultural and historical institutions such as museums. For example, the National Museum of Oman, Bait Al Zubair Museum, Omani and French Museum, Al Saidia Museum, Muscat Gate Museum,” he said.

Castles, mosques and temples are considered as frames for transferring knowledge and contributing to understanding the past, present and future from various dimensions.

Empowerment and education

The Wali of Muscat said that the wilayat seeks to integrate all groups of society to contribute to its prosperity, in addition to its focus on women’s rights, preservation and empowering them in the political, social and economic fields, and integrating youth, people with disabilities, and other groups through sports activities, programmes, and events that are organised by wilayat. “This aims to provide them with knowledge, values, and skills, enhance citizenship, and preserve customs and traditions,” he added. 

Tourism attractions

Muscat has a unique dimension that has contributed to many tourism projects characterised by development, sustainability and coexistence.

“The wilayat seeks during the next five years, to establish areas for team and individual sports,” Al-Saidi said.

The wilayat also encourages physical activity to promote a healthier lifestyle among residents and visitors.

He further said: “Muscat integrates aspects of sustainability and health, promotes active transportation options such as walking and cycling to motivate physical activity and improve health results.”

Al-Saidi also stressed that Muscat continuously seeks to ensure access to lifelong learning opportunities for all people, including people with disabilities and the elderly.

“Muscat adopts many initiatives and projects to ensure learning continuance, including the ‘Yeti Without Illiteracy’ project. It is an innovative programme that aims to overcome illiteracy and promote comprehensive reading and writing in the alphabetical and cultural dimensions,” he said.

Additionally, the ‘Computer Literacy Eradication’ project in partnership with private sector institutions represented by E.Oman.

It aims to pass basic knowledge of reading and writing and introduce learners to modern technology.

Summer centres have been established that seek to use vacation time to develop skills and enhance knowledge.

Organised efforts

Al-Saidi concluded by clarifying that the Education City project has received great attention in the Sultanate of Oman.

“The Council of Ministers is interested in it and is continuously monitoring its implementation. Muscat joining Unesco Global Learning Cities Network came after a series of concerted efforts done by Muscat Governorate,” he said.

The Muscat project as a learning city is among the priorities of Muscat Governorate. A main committee formation that is headed by His Excellency Ali bin Muhammed Al-Saidi, Muscat Wali. Then, a technical work team is formed to supervise the education city in the long term.

Muscat participated in the Arab Conference on Learning Cities in Saudi Arabia with an aim to gain knowledge and best practices.