I noticed it in the Khaleej Times here.
Oman pledges transparency in scholarship selections [Khaleej Times]
6 October 2011 MUSCAT — The authorities have pledged transparency in selecting candidates for the newly-announced government scholarships for 1,000 students.
The grants, for Master and Ph D students, were ordered by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said earlier this year. Two hundred scholars will receive the scholarship annually over the next five years.
Higher Education Minister Dr Rawiyah bint Saud Al Busaidiyah, who said on Tuesday that the programme would be launched soon, assured that the ‘principle of transparency’ would be applied in deciding eligible aspirants. The choice would be entirely based on merit, she added. She said an electronic system would be used to select the right candidates by the Standardised Admission Centre, stressing that the grant was open to ‘all members of the society in accordance with the prescribed conditions and terms.’ She added the selected students would be sent to the best and internationally-rated universities around the world.
Busaidiyah noted that the royal order for the scholarships coincided with ‘a new inspiring period in the comprehensive development’ in the country with several major projects under implementation in different sectors.
“One of the main goals that is expected to be achieved after completing the programme over the next five-year period is to provide enough experienced and specialised Omani cadres in various specialties so that they will be able to make a tangible impact on the development process,” she added. She said the ministry was in talks with government departments to seek their views to decide the most crucial specialities needed in the country now and in the future.
Based on replies received from them, the ministry has prepared a list of areas in which the selected students will pursue studies.
So, the competition begins! Imagine. Several years at an overseas University all expenses paid courtesy of HM's Government.
Winners of this "merit based" system would be set-up pretty well to get a guaranteed 'development for a technical or management level' job in a Ministry. And that makes you set for life.
Photo: Willie Wonka's Golden Ticket - this could be you!
Not a bad prospect, especially with your 3 year overseas
Are there any readers who can keep us up to date on the outcome of this edu-lottery?
The emphasis on transparency is related to previous complaints about relatives of Ministers getting free scolarships - the magical wasta at work. Or Nepotism. Or both.
So it'll be with some interest how this turns out.