RWTH – A Strong Brand in Oman
The "Step2Future“ program of GUtech, the German University of Technology in Oman, has been approved by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
In 2007, in collaboration with RWTH Aachen University, GUtech was established in Muscat, the capital of Oman. In December, the university will celebrate its 10-year anniversary. It is the first private university on the Arab peninsula whose Bachelor’s programs have been internationally accredited. In close cooperation with Omani sponsors, RWTH coordinated the development of the university. In particular RWTH’s Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering WZL played a major role in its establishment.
Like RWTH, GUtech seeks to involve regional partners from business and industry into the university’s activities in teaching and learning. One of the experts responsible for the “export” of German engineering into other countries is Professor Robert Schmitt, one of the four WZL directors and Chair of Production Metrology and Quality Management. As Schmitt explains: “RWTH is a strong brand, in particular in Oman. It has been supporting GUtech since its inception in developing and establishing a quality management system, new courses of study and continuing education offerings, as well as innovative structures and programs in teaching and research. This joint approach has made it possible for both universities to further develop their higher education expertise.”Philipp Hemmers
GUtech is a success, as is also indicated by externally funded research projects between industry and the university. However, it is not possible to simply transplant the structure and approach of a German university of technology into a different culture: “First, one has to learn how best to adapt the university to the people in the region and their general educational profile, as well as to the structures in the target country.” Quality management has a bridging function here: “It enables a controlled expansion of the university’s areas of operation, for example in research, which is absolutely central, and concerning its relations with business and industry.”
The growing number of students and the increased demand of professional education result in the further development of innovative structures in research, teaching, and learning. New and improved teaching and learning concepts require the adaptation of existing structures and processes. For this reason, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has approved the renewal application titled “Step2Future – Enhancement and Excellence Through Building a Strong Profile in the Service of Transnational Educational Projects.”
Apart from strengthening the partnership between GUtech and RWTH, the project, which receives funding from the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD, seeks to further improve the visibility of results, the communication structures, and GFUtech’s relations with Germany. RWTH’s Institute of Educational Science, headed by Professor Marold Wosnitza, and the Department of Engineering Hydrology headed by Professor Heribert Nacken contribute to the project. As Schmitt explains, “the binational collaboration with our partner university in Oman comprises international scientific collaboration, joint education and development activities, and cultural exchange. Thus, our collaboration strongly contributes to the internationalization of German universities."