Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 27

oman Related Abstracts

27 Spirituality and Coping with Breast Cancer among Omani Women

Authors: Huda Al-Awisi, Mohammed Al-Azri, Samira Al-Rasbi, Mansour Al-Moundhri

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Cancer diagnosis is invariably a profound and catastrophic life-changing experience for individuals and their families. It has been found that cancer patients and survivors are distressed with the fragility of their life and their mortality. Based on the literature, cancer patients /survivors value their spiritual experience and connecting with unknown power either related to religious belief or not as an important coping mechanism. Health care professionals including nurses are expected to provide spiritual care for cancer patients as holistic care. Yet, nurses face many challenges in providing such care mainly due to lack of clear definition of spirituality. This study aims to explore coping mechanisms of Omani women diagnosed with breast cancer throughout their cancer journey including spirituality using a qualitative approach. A purposive sample of 19 Omani women diagnosed with breast cancer at different stages of cancer treatment modalities were interviewed. Interviews were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. The framework approach was used to analyze the data. One main theme related to spirituality was identified and called “The power of faith”. For the majority of participants, faith in God (the will of God) was most important in coping with all stages of their breast cancer experience. Some participants thought that the breast cancer is a test from God which they have to accept. Participants also expressed acceptance of death as the eventual end and reward from God. This belief gives them the strength to cope with cancer and seek medical treatment. In conclusion, women participated in this study believed faith in God imposed spiritual power for them to cope with cancer. They connected spirituality with religious beliefs. Therefore, regardless of nurses’ faith in spirituality, the spiritual care needs to be tailored and provided according to each patient individual need.

Keywords: Diagnosis, Women, Breast Cancer, Religion, Coping, spiritual, oman

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26 The Impact of Breast Cancer Diagnosis on Omani Women

Authors: H. Al-Awaisi, M. H. Al-Azri, S. Al-Rasbi, M. Al-Moundhri

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer among females worldwide. It is also the most common cancer among females in Oman with 100 new breast cancer cases diagnosed every year. It has been found that breast cancer have a devastating effect on women’s life. Women diagnosed with breast cancer might develop negative attitudes towards the illness and their bodies. They might also suffer from psychological ailments such as depression. Despite the evidence on the impact of breast cancer diagnosis on women, there was no study found to explore the impact of breast cancer diagnosis among women in Oman. A phenomenological qualitative study was conducted to explore the impact of breast cancer diagnosis on Omani women. Data was collected through semi-structured individual interviews with 11 Omani women diagnosed with breast cancer. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and data were analyzed thematically. From the data, there are four main themes identified in relation to the impact of cancer diagnosis on Omani women. These are 'shock and disbelieve', 'a death sentence', “uncertain future” and “social stigma”. At the time of interviews, all participants had advanced breast cancer with some participants having metastatic disease. The impact of the word “cancer” had a profound and catastrophic effect on the women and their close relatives. In conclusion, breast cancer diagnosis was shocking and mainly perceived as a death sentence by Omani women with uncertain future and social stigma. Regardless of age, maternal status and education level, it is evident that Omani women participated in this study lacked awareness about breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.

Keywords: Diagnosis, Women, Breast Cancer, Coping, oman

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25 Omani PE Candidate Self-Reports of Learning Strategies Used to Learn Sport Skills

Authors: Nasser Al-Rawahi

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The study aims at determining self-regulated learning strategies used by Omani physical education candidates to learn sport skills. The data were collected by a self-regulated learning theory questionnaire. The sample of the study comprised of 145 undergraduate physical education students enrolled in the department of physical education at the College of Education, Sultan Qaboos University. The findings of the study revealed that the most commonly used strategies for learning sport skills by Omani physical education candidate are ‘the effort learning strategies, planning learning strategies and evaluation learning strategies’. However, the reflection learning strategies, self-monitoring and self-efficacy learning strategies were revealed as the least used strategies by the PE candidates in learning and acquiring sport skills. Based on these findings, suggestions and recommendations for future research were provided.

Keywords: learning strategies, oman, physical education candidates, self-regulated learning theory

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24 Measuring Government’s Performance (Services) Oman Service Maturity Model (OSMM)

Authors: Khalid Al Siyabi, Angie Al Habib

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To measure or asses any government’s efficiency we need to measure the performance of this government in regards to the quality of the service it provides. Using a technological platform in service provision became a trend and a public demand. It is also a public need to make sure these services are aligned to values and to the whole government’s strategy, vision and goals as well. Providing services using technology tools and channels can enhance the internal business process and also help establish many essential values to government services like transparency and excellence, since in order to establish e-services many standards and policies must be put in place to enable the handing over of decision making to a mature system oriented mechanism. There was no doubt that the Sultanate of Oman wanted to enhance its services and move it towards automation and establishes a smart government as well as links its services to life events. Measuring government efficiency is very essential in achieving social security and economic growth, since it can provide a clear dashboard of all projects and improvements. Based on this data we can improve the strategies and align the country goals to them.

Keywords: Government, Service, Performance, Maturity, oman

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23 A Case Study of Al-Shifa: A Healthcare Information System in Oman

Authors: Khamis Al-Gharbi, Said M. Gattoufi, Ali H. Al-Badi, Ali Al-Hashmi

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The case study presents the progression of a project management of Al-Shifa, a healthcare information system in Oman. The case study describes the evolution of the implementation of a healthcare information system tailored to meet the needs of the healthcare units under the supervision of the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Oman. A focus group methodology was used for collecting the relevant information from the main project's stakeholders. In addition reports about the project made available for the researchers. The case analysis is made based on the Project Management approach developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The main finding that there was no formal project management approach adopted by the MOH for the development and implementation of the herewith mentioned healthcare information system project. Furthermore, the project had suffered a scope creep in terms of features, cost and time-schedule. The recommendations of the authors, for the rescue of the project from its current dilemma, consist of technological, administrative and human resources development actions.

Keywords: Healthcare, Project Management, Information System, oman, Al-Shifa

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22 Attitudes towards Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in Sultanate Oman Schools

Authors: Ibrahim Azem

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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the attitudes of regular classroom teachers, special education teachers, principals, social workers, parents of students without disabilities and parents of students with disabilities, in Sultanate Oman towards inclusion of students with disabilities in the general school setting. Participants’ Four hundred fifty schools were selected randomly from all public schools in Sultanate Oman. From these schools 2,025 individuals volunteered to participate in this study. The Attitude Scale toward inclusion was used to measure adults’ attitudes toward teaching students with disabilities with their peers in an inclusive classroom. The scale was developed based on the conceptualization of attitude as a tri component evaluation consisting of cognitive, affective, and behavioral intention. To investigate the validity and the reliability of the scale, it shows that it has valid appropriate connotations and reliability. The results of the study showed that the adult’s role had significant effect (p < .05) on the participants’ attitudes toward inclusion. Moreover, the results indicated significant (p < .05) gender differences in the attitudes toward inclusion, males scored significantly (p < .05) higher than females. The result of the study also showed that the special education teachers had positives attitudes more than the other type of stakeholders.

Keywords: Inclusion, Stakeholders, oman, students with disabilities

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21 Pomegranates Attenuates Cognitive and Behavioural Deficts and reduces inflammation in a Transgenic Mice Model of Alzheimer's Disease

Authors: M. M. Essa, S. Subash, M. Akbar, S. Al-Adawi, A. Al-Asmi, G. J. Guillemein

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Objective: Transgenic (tg) mice which contain an amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene mutation, develop extracellular amyloid beta (Aβ) deposition in the brain, and severe memory and behavioural deficits with age. These mice serve as an important animal model for testing the efficacy of novel drug candidates for the treatment and management of symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Several reports have suggested that oxidative stress is the underlying cause of Aβ neurotoxicity in AD. Pomegranates contain very high levels of antioxidants and several medicinal properties that may be useful for improving the quality of life in AD patients. In this study, we investigated the effect of dietary supplementation of Omani pomegranate extract on the memory, anxiety and learning skills along with inflammation in an AD mouse model containing the double Swedish APP mutation (APPsw/Tg2576). Methods: The experimental groups of APP-transgenic mice from the age of 4 months were fed custom-mix diets (pellets) containing 4% pomegranate. We assessed spatial memory and learning ability, psychomotor coordination, and anxiety-related behavior in Tg and wild-type mice at the age of 4-5 months and 18-19 months using the Morris water maze test, rota rod test, elevated plus maze test, and open field test. Further, inflammatory parameters also analysed. Results: APPsw/Tg2576 mice that were fed a standard chow diet without pomegranates showed significant memory deficits, increased anxiety-related behavior, and severe impairment in spatial learning ability, position discrimination learning ability and motor coordination along with increased inflammation compared to the wild type mice on the same diet, at the age of 18-19 months In contrast, APPsw/Tg2576 mice that were fed a diet containing 4% pomegranates showed a significant improvements in memory, learning, locomotor function, and anxiety with reduced inflammatory markers compared to APPsw/Tg2576 mice fed the standard chow diet. Conclusion: Our results suggest that dietary supplementation with pomegranates may slow the progression of cognitive and behavioural impairments in AD. The exact mechanism is still unclear and further extensive research needed.

Keywords: Anxiety, Inflammation, Cognitive Decline, alzheimer's disease, oman, pomegranates, memory loss

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20 Date Palm Fruits from Oman Attenuates Cognitive and Behavioral Defects and Reduces Inflammation in a Transgenic Mice Model of Alzheimer's Disease

Authors: M. M. Essa, S. Subash, M. Akbar, S. Al-Adawi, A. Al-Asmi, G. J. Guillemein

Abstract:

Transgenic (tg) mice which contain an amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene mutation, develop extracellular amyloid beta (Aβ) deposition in the brain, and severe memory and behavioral deficits with age. These mice serve as an important animal model for testing the efficacy of novel drug candidates for the treatment and management of symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Several reports have suggested that oxidative stress is the underlying cause of Aβ neurotoxicity in AD. Date palm fruits contain very high levels of antioxidants and several medicinal properties that may be useful for improving the quality of life in AD patients. In this study, we investigated the effect of dietary supplementation of Omani date palm fruits on the memory, anxiety and learning skills along with inflammation in an AD mouse model containing the double Swedish APP mutation (APPsw/Tg2576). The experimental groups of APP-transgenic mice from the age of 4 months were fed custom-mix diets (pellets) containing 2% and 4% Date palm fruits. We assessed spatial memory and learning ability, psychomotor coordination, and anxiety-related behavior in Tg and wild-type mice at the age of 4-5 months and 18-19 months using the Morris water maze test, rota rod test, elevated plus maze test, and open field test. Further, inflammatory parameters also analyzed. APPsw/Tg2576 mice that were fed a standard chow diet without dates showed significant memory deficits, increased anxiety-related behavior, and severe impairment in spatial learning ability, position discrimination learning ability and motor coordination along with increased inflammation compared to the wild type mice on the same diet, at the age of 18-19 months In contrast, PPsw/Tg2576 mice that were fed a diet containing 2% and 4% dates showed a significant improvements in memory, learning, locomotor function, and anxiety with reduced inflammatory markers compared to APPsw/Tg2576 mice fed the standard chow diet. Our results suggest that dietary supplementation with dates may slow the progression of cognitive and behavioral impairments in AD. The exact mechanism is still unclear and further extensive research needed.

Keywords: Anxiety, Inflammation, Cognitive Decline, alzheimer's disease, oman, memory loss, date palm fruits

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19 Mapping of Siltations of AlKhod Dam, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman Using Low-Cost Multispectral Satellite Data

Authors: Sankaran Rajendran

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Remote sensing plays a vital role in mapping of resources and monitoring of environments of the earth. In the present research study, mapping and monitoring of clay siltations occurred in the Alkhod Dam of Muscat, Sultanate of Oman are carried out using low-cost multispectral Landsat and ASTER data. The dam is constructed across the Wadi Samail catchment for ground water recharge. The occurrence and spatial distribution of siltations in the dam are studied with five years of interval from the year 1987 of construction to 2014. The deposits are mainly due to the clay, sand, and silt occurrences derived from the weathering rocks of ophiolite sequences occurred in the Wadi Samail catchment. The occurrences of clays are confirmed by minerals identification using ASTER VNIR-SWIR spectral bands and Spectral Angle Mapper supervised image processing method. The presence of clays and their spatial distribution are verified in the field. The study recommends the technique and the low-cost satellite data to similar region of the world.

Keywords: Remote Sensing, landsat, oman, Alkhod Dam, ASTER siltation

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18 Effectiveness of Using Phonemic Awareness Based Activities in Improving Decoding Skills of Third Grade Students Referred for Reading Disabilities in Oman

Authors: Mahmoud Mohamed Emam

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In Oman the number of students referred for reading disabilities is on the rise. Schools serve these students by placement in the so-called learning disabilities unit. Recently the author led a strategic project to train teachers on the use of curriculum based measurement to identify students with reading disabilities in Oman. Additional the project involved training teachers to use phonemic awareness based activities to improve reading skills of those students. Phonemic awareness refers to the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in words. We know that a student's skill in phonemic awareness is a good predictor of later reading success or difficulty. Using multiple baseline design across four participants the current studies investigated the effectiveness of using phonemic awareness based activities to improve decoding skills of third grade students referred for reading disabilities in Oman. During treatment students received phonemic awareness based activities that were designed to fulfill the idiosyncratic characteristics of Arabic language phonology as well as orthography. Results indicated that the phonemic awareness based activities were effective in substantially increasing the number of correctly decoded word for all four participants. Maintenance of strategy effects was evident for the weeks following the termination of intervention for the four students. In addition, the effects of intervention generalized to decoding novel words for all four participants.

Keywords: Learning Disabilities, oman, phonemic awareness, third graders

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17 Gender Differences in Emotional Intelligence in a Middle Eastern Population

Authors: Said S. Aldhafri, Marwa N. Alrajhi

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This study examines gender differences in emotional intelligence levels in the Sultanate of Oman, an Arabic country in the Middle East. As a collective culture, the Omani culture rears children differently based on the Islamic beliefs and the Arabic culture. Gender differences across the different dimensions of emotional intelligence are possible within this collective culture. Emotional intelligences reflect the ability to understand and act upon one’s and others’ emotions. The sample of the study consisted of 338 (50.6% were females) adults from different regions in Oman. The participants completed a 25-item emotional intelligence scale, using 5-point Likert type responses. The results showed that the total scores of the scale as well as the scores from the five dimensions (self management, self motivation, social skills, empathy, and self-awareness) all have good reliability coefficients. Using independent sample t-tests, the findings show that female adults scored higher than male adults. The differences were all statistically significant across the five dimensions of emotional intelligence. The findings are discussed from a cultural perspective and applications for the development of emotional intelligence skills are outlined.

Keywords: Gender, Emotional Intelligence, oman, Arab

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16 Improve Safety Performance of Un-Signalized Intersections in Oman

Authors: Siham G. Farag

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The main objective of this paper is to provide a new methodology for road safety assessment in Oman through the development of suitable accident prediction models. GLM technique with Poisson or NBR using SAS package was carried out to develop these models. The paper utilized the accidents data of 31 un-signalized T-intersections during three years. Five goodness-of-fit measures were used to assess the overall quality of the developed models. Two types of models were developed separately; the flow-based models including only traffic exposure functions, and the full models containing both exposure functions and other significant geometry and traffic variables. The results show that, traffic exposure functions produced much better fit to the accident data. The most effective geometric variables were major-road mean speed, minor-road 85th percentile speed, major-road lane width, distance to the nearest junction, and right-turn curb radius. The developed models can be used for intersection treatment or upgrading and specify the appropriate design parameters of T- intersections. Finally, the models presented in this thesis reflect the intersection conditions in Oman and could represent the typical conditions in several countries in the middle east area, especially gulf countries.

Keywords: oman, accidents prediction models (APMs), generalized linear model (GLM), T-intersections

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15 The Relationships between Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions, Energy Consumption and GDP per capita for Oman: Time Series Analysis, 1980–2010

Authors: Jinhoa Lee

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The relationships between environmental quality, energy use and economic output have created growing attention over the past decades among researchers and policy makers. Focusing on the empirical aspects of the role of CO2 emissions and energy use in affecting the economic output, this paper is an effort to fulfil the gap in a comprehensive case study at a country level using modern econometric techniques. To achieve the goal, this country-specific study examines the short-run and long-run relationships among energy consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and gross domestic product (GDP) for Oman using time series analysis from the year 1980-2010. To investigate the relationships between the variables, this paper employs the Augmented Dickey Fuller (ADF) test for stationary, Johansen maximum likelihood method for co-integration and a Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) for both short- and long-run causality among the research variables for the sample. All the variables in this study show very strong significant effects on GDP in the country for the long term. The long-run equilibrium in the VECM suggests positive long-run causalities from CO2 emissions to GDP. Conversely, negative impacts of energy consumption on GDP are found to be significant in Oman during the period. In the short run, there exist negative unidirectional causalities among GDP, CO2 emissions and energy consumption running from GDP to CO2 emissions and from energy consumption to CO2 emissions. Overall, the results support arguments that there are relationships among environmental quality, energy use and economic output in Oman over of period 1980-2010.

Keywords: Energy Consumption, Time Series Analysis, Co2 Emissions, oman, GDP

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14 Citizens’ Expectations, Motivations, and Evaluation of Participatory Use of Social Media Tools for Civic Engagement in Oman

Authors: Ali S. Al-Aufi, Zahran S. Al-Salti, Ibrahim S. Al-Harthi, Yousuf S. AlHinai, Ali H.S. Al-Badi

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Social media tools have currently been leading a major change in the flow and use of information for different life aspects within people and between people and their governments. They represent powerful channels for direct exchanges of information, ideas, and suggestions for purposes of civic participation. The current study aims at investigating Omani citizens’ perceptions, expectations, and motivations of their uses of social media tools to interact with the government for civic participation. A quantitative methodology was used to collect data through self-administered questionnaires from a random sample of university students and staff drawn from Sultan Qaboos University, considering them as well-informed and typically active users of social media. The literature was comprehensively reviewed to retrieve relevant empirical studies that particularly investigated the use of social media for civic engagement which provided a basis for the construct of the questionnaire; taken into consideration the delineated dimensions of perceptions, expectations, and motivations. The findings of the study offer practical and useful recommendations for governmental units in Oman and similar contexts in the region to inform better and efficient use of social media tools to interact with citizens in issues related to civic engagement; particularly to make best use of these tools for improving services and developing existing and newer initiatives, and hence, encouraging and strengthening citizens’ involvement for civic engagement.

Keywords: Social Media, Civic Participation, civic engagement, web 2.0, oman, social networking sites

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13 The Development of Noctiluca scintillans Algal Bloom in Coastal Waters of Muscat, Sulanate of Oman

Authors: Aysha Al Sha'aibi

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Algal blooms of the dinoflagellate species Noctiluca scintillans became frequent events in Omani waters. The current study aims at elucidating the abundance, size variation and observations on the feeding mechanism performed by this species during the winter bloom. An attempt was made, to relate observed biological parameters of the Noctiluca population to environmental factors. Field studies spanned the period from December 2014 to April 2015. Samples were collected from Bandar Rawdah (Muscat region) by Bongo nets, twice per week, from the surface and the integrated upper mixed layer. The measured environmental variables were: temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll a, turbidity, nitrite, phosphate, wind speed and rainfall. During the winter bloom (from December 2014 through February 2015), the abundance exhibited the highest concentration on 17 February (640.24×106 cell.L-1) in oblique samples and 83.9x103 cell.L-1 in surface samples, with a subsequent decline up to the end of April. The average number of food vacuoles inside Noctiluca cells was 1.5 per cell; the percentage of feeding Noctiluca compared to the entire population varied from 0.01% to 0.03%. Both the surface area of the Noctiluca symbionts (Pedinomonas noctilucae) and cell diameter were maximal in December. In oblique samples the highest average cell diameter and the surface area of symbiont algae were 751.7 µm and 179.2x103 µm2 respectively. In surface samples, highest average cell diameter and the surface area of symbionts were 760 µm and 284.05x103 µm2 respectively. No significant correlations were detected between Noctiluca’s biological parameters and environmental variables except for the correlation between cell diameter and chlorophyll a, also between symbiotic algae surface area and chlorophyll a. The high correlation of chlorophyll a was as a reason of endosymbiotic algae Pedinomonas noctilucae and green Noctiluca enhanced chlorophyll during bloom. All correlations among biological parameters were significant; they are perhaps one of major factors that mediating high growth rates, generating millions of cell per liter in a short time range. The results gained from this study will provide a beneficial background for understanding deeply the development of coastal algal blooms of Noctiluca scintillans. Moreover, results could be used in different applications related to marine environment.

Keywords: abundance, oman, feeding activities, Noctiluca scintillans

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12 The Influence of Islamic Arts in Omani Weaving Motifs

Authors: Zahra Ahmed Al-Zadjali

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The influence of Islam on arts can be found primarily in calligraphy, arabesque designs and architecture. Also, geometric designs were used quite extensively. Muslim craftsmen produced stunning designs based on simple geometric principles and traditional motifs which were used to decorate many surfaces. The idea of interlacing simple rectilinear lines to form the patterns impressed Arabs. Nomads of Persia, Turks and Mongols were equally impressed with the designs so they begin to use them in their homes in carpet weaving. Islamic designs, motifs and colours which were used became common place and served to influence people’s tastes. Modern life style and contemporary products have changed the style of people’s daily lives, however, people still long for the nomadic way of life. This is clearly reflected in people’s homes. In a great many Muslim homes, Islamic decorative motifs can be seen along with traditional ‘Bedouin’ style furnishing, especially in homes of the Arabian Peninsula.

Keywords: Design, Art, Weaving, oman, craft

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11 Issues and Influences in Academic Choices among Communication Students in Oman

Authors: Bernard Nnamdi Emenyeonu

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The study of communication as a fully-fledged discipline in institutions of higher education in the Sultanate of Oman is relatively young. Its evolution is associated with Oman's Renaissance beginning from 1970, which ushered in an era of modernization in which education, industrialization, expansion, and liberalization of the mass media, provision of infrastructure, and promotion of multilateral commercial ventures were considered among the top priorities of national development plans. Communication studies were pioneered by the sole government university, Sultan Qaboos University, in the 1990s, but so far, the program is taught in Arabic only. In recognition of the need to produce professionals suitably equipped to fit into the expanding media establishments in the Sultanate as well as the widening global market, the government decided to establish programs in which communication would be taught in English language. Under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education, six Colleges of Applied Sciences were established in Oman in 2007. These colleges offer a 4-year Bachelor degree program in communication studies that comprises six areas of specialization: Advertising, Digital Media, International Communication, Journalism, Media Management and Public Relations. Over the years, a trend has emerged where students tend to flock to particular specializations such as Public Relations and Digital Media, while others, such as Advertising and Journalism, continue to draw the least number of students. In some instances, some specializations have had to be frozen due to the dire lack of interest among new students. It has also been observed that female students are more likely to be more biased in choice of specializations. It was therefore the task of this paper to establish, through a survey and focus group interviews, the factors that influence choice of communication studies as well as particular specializations, among Omani Communication Studies undergraduates. Results of the study show that prior to entering into the communication studies program, the majority of students had no idea of what the field entailed. Whatever information they had about communication studies was sourced from friends and relatives rather than more reliable sources such as career fairs or guidance counselors. For the most part, the choice of communication studies as a major was also influenced by factors such as family, friends and prospects for jobs. Another significant finding is the strong association between gender and choice of specializations within the program, with females flocking to digital media while males tended to prefer public relations. Reasons for specialization preferences dwelt strongly on expectations of a good GPA and the promise of a good salary after graduation. Regardless of gender, most students identified careers in news reporting, public relations and advertising as unsuitable for females. Teaching and program presentation were identified as the most suitable for females. Based on these and other results, the paper not only examined the social and cultural factors that are likely to have influenced the respondent's attitude to communication studies, but also discussed the implication for curriculum development and career development in a developing society such as Oman.

Keywords: Media Education, oman, career choice, communication specialization

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10 Audit Committee Financial Expertise and Financial Reporting Timeliness in Emerging Market: The Role of Audit Committee Chair

Authors: Saeed Rabea Baatwah, Zalailah Salleh, Norsiah Ahmad

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This study examines whether audit committee chair with financial expertise enhances the audit committee role in financial reporting quality in emerging market. We investigate this influence by employing the direct effect and moderating effect of audit committee chair with financial expertise on financial reporting timeliness. By using Omani data and the panel data method for two proxies for financial reporting timeliness, we find that audit committee chair with financial expertise enhances the timeliness of financial reporting through making the disclosure of annual reports timely. Further, we report evidence showing that both accounting and non-accounting financial expertise on the audit committee have a positive and significant influence on the timeliness of financial reporting. We also document that the association between financial expertise and the timeliness of financial reporting is more pronounced when the chair of the audit committee has financial expertise. This study is among the first to comprehensively prove that audit committee chair with financial expertise contributes to the quality of financial reporting in emerging market.

Keywords: oman, audit committee, chair with financial expertise, timeliness of financial reporting

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9 Risk Factors Affecting Construction Project Cost in Oman

Authors: Omar Amoudi, Latifa Al Brashdi

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Construction projects are always subject to risks and uncertainties due to its unique and dynamic nature, outdoor work environment, the wide range of skills employed, various parties involved in addition to situation of construction business environment at large. Altogether, these risks and uncertainties affect projects objectives and lead to cost overruns, delay, and poor quality. Construction projects in Oman often experience cost overruns and delay. Managing these risks and reducing their impacts on construction cost requires firstly identifying these risks, and then analyzing their severity on project cost to obtain deep understanding about these risks. This in turn will assist construction managers in managing and tacking these risks. This paper aims to investigate the main risk factors that affect construction projects cost in the Sultanate of Oman. In order to achieve the main aim, literature review was carried out to identify the main risk factors affecting construction cost. Thirty-three risk factors were identified from the literature. Then, a questionnaire survey was designed and distributed among construction professionals (i.e., client, contractor and consultant) to obtain their opinion toward the probability of occurrence for each risk factor and its possible impact on construction project cost. The collected data was analyzed based on qualitative aspects and in several ways. The severity of each risk factor was obtained by multiplying the probability occurrence of a risk factor with its impact. The findings of this study reveal that the most significant risk factors that have high severity impact on construction project cost are: Change of Oil Price, Delay of Materials and Equipment Delivery, Changes in Laws and Regulations, Improper Budgeting, and Contingencies, Lack of Skilled Workforce and Personnel, Delays Caused by Contractor, Delays of Owner Payments, Delays Caused by Client, and Funding Risk. The results can be used as a basis for construction managers to make informed decisions and produce risk response procedures and strategies to tackle these risks and reduce their negative impacts on construction project cost.

Keywords: Risk management, Risk Factors, Construction Projects, oman, construction cost

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8 Food Intake Patterns in Omani University Students

Authors: Nasiruddin Khan, Saud Iqbal

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Arabian Gulf region has undergone enormous development due to oil boom resulting in overwhelming changes in the lifestyle of the population over the past few decades. This study focused on food consumption patterns of Omani university students. Information, on anthropometric measurements, dietary intakes (measured by a food frequency questionnaire) of students was recorded. Anthropometric data revealed 62.5% of the subjects to be of normal weight and approximately 25% being overweight. Female students appeared to be more weight conscious than males. Dietary intakes in terms of servings (Mean ± S.D) per day among normal weight (BMI 18.5 – 24.9) males vs. females were approximately; cereals (7.5 ± 5.9 vs. 4.9 ± 2.9 servings), meat and alternatives (1.9 ± 0.9 vs. 1.5 ± 0.9 servings), dairy foods (0.9 ± 0.8 vs. 1.1 ± 0.9 servings) per day, respectively. Overall 55.3% of both males (average 1.9 servings) as well as females (average 1.7 servings) had severely inadequate intakes of vegetables on a daily basis as per the food guide pyramid recommendations. Only the fruit group intakes were adequate in about 70% of the population. Adequate intakes of dairy and meat and alternatives group were found in only 22% and 32% of the subjects, respectively. These results indicate a significant influence of a modern lifestyle on dietary habits and food selection of the target population.

Keywords: Lifestyle, oman, dietary pattern, food guide pyramid

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7 The Impact of Socio-Cultural and Religious Factors on Omanis Employment in the Hotel Sector

Authors: Masooma Al-Balushi, Tamer Mohamed Atef

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The Sultanate of Oman is located on the South-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea and has borders with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Arabic is the official language. Islam is the official religion. Islam has a great impact on most Omanis, Shari’a law is the law of Oman. The tribal structure plays an essential role in the lives of Omanis. Most people in the Gulf States bear a tribal name rather than a family name. Religion, tribe, and family are highly influential in shaping individuals’ values and behaviors, and have a very noticeable influence on a person’s career choices. Tourism development has been given special attention by the Sultanate of Oman’s government aspiring that the industry would assist in creating direct job opportunities as well as boost the economy through provision of hard currency to improve the balance of payments. This study aims to assess the impact of socio-cultural and religious factors on Omanis employment in the hotel sector. The socio-cultural and religious factors have serious impacts on Omani employment in the hotel sector. Some employees are concerned about the source of income because of the idea that since the hotel business is based on activities such as serving alcohol and pork, gambling, and accommodating unmarried couples, their source of income would be questionable religion wise. For females, the designated job uniform and the interaction with males are major concerns. Ability to fulfil family obligations for married Omanis, and marriage opportunity for singles were other raised concerns. Whilst the future prosperity of the hotel industry depends on the quality of its people, in Oman, the hospitality industry has failed, for a number of reasons, to project an image that could generate interest amongst Omanis. Furthermore, the characteristics and the very nature of the hotel sector are in direct conflict with Islamic doctrines which are embedded in Omani life and society.

Keywords: Society, Islam, Culture, hospitality, Hotel, oman

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6 Thanking as a Compliment Response at Higher Education Institution: A Comparative Study of Omani and Australian Speakers

Authors: Arfat Bait Jamil

Abstract:

This study investigates how the compliment response of thanking is performed by Omani and Australian, lecturers and students, in higher educational settings. Semi-structured interviews and observation records were used to collect data. Thanking responses were aggregated from interviews with Omani lecturers and students in Oman, and from Australian lecturers and students in Australia, wherein they were asked to imagine themselves being complimented on five different compliment topics. After the interviews, they used observation record to note down real-life examples of compliment exchanges, along with their opinions. The findings show that thanking is not a simple compliment response. Depending on the context in which the compliment is delivered, thanking does not always suggest positive thoughts or feelings and compliment approval.

Keywords: Australia, oman, compliment responses, thanking

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5 In silico Analysis of a Causative Mutation in Cadherin-23 Gene Identified in an Omani Family with Hearing Loss

Authors: Mohammed N. Al Kindi, Mazin Al Khabouri, Khalsa Al Lamki, Tommasso Pappuci, Giovani Romeo, Nadia Al Wardy

Abstract:

Hereditary hearing loss is a heterogeneous group of complex disorders with an overall incidence of one in every five hundred newborns presented as syndromic and non-syndromic forms. Cadherin-related 23 (CDH23) is one of the listed deafness causative genes. CDH23 is found to be expressed in the stereocilia of hair cells and the retina photoreceptor cells. Defective CDH23 has been associated mostly with prelingual severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in either syndromic (USH1D) or non-syndromic SNHL (DFNB12). An Omani family diagnosed clinically with severe-profound sensorineural hearing loss was genetically analysed by whole exome sequencing technique. A novel homozygous missense variant, c.A7451C (p.D2484A), in exon 53 of CDH23 was detected. One hundred and thirty control samples were analysed where all were negative for the detected variant. The variant was analysed in silico for pathogenicity verification using several mutation prediction software. The variant proved to be a pathogenic mutation and is reported for the first time in Oman and worldwide. It is concluded that in silico mutation prediction analysis might be used as a useful molecular diagnostics tool benefiting both genetic counseling and mutation verification. The aspartic acid 2484 alanine missense substitution might be the main disease-causing mutation that damages CDH23 function and could be used as a genetic hearing loss marker for this particular Omani family.

Keywords: oman, in silico, Cdh23, d2484a

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4 An Analysis of the Oral Communication Strategies Used by Omani Senior American Literature Students at the Tertiary Level: A Case Study at a Public University in Muscat, Oman

Authors: Susanne Shunnaq

Abstract:

During the past decade, an increasing number of higher education institutions in Oman have sought accreditation in an attempt to assure the quality of their programs. Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), the only public university in the country, has also been seeking accreditation. Hence, the university administration has been encouraging departments to evaluate their programs for development purposes. The Department of English, where 100% of the students are learners of English as a foreign language, already produced a self-study report that outlined the strength and weaknesses of the current program. The department came to the realization that due to a changing local and regional job market, transferrable communication skills are high in demand among stakeholders in the public and private sectors. Failure to equip English literature students, for example, with excellent verbal communicative skills in English may have detrimental effects for undergraduate job-seekers who have to compete for jobs in employment sectors with a predominantly English-speaking workforce. Ongoing extensive discussions about restructuring the current literature program by means of partially replacing literature courses with skills courses, hoping to produce higher quality graduates who are equipped with effective communication skills for local and regional markets, have sparked the idea for this research. The researcher, who is an American Literature specialist at SQU, has set out to investigate to what extent senior American literature students have been able to apply transferable communication skills in an advanced literature course. The study also attempts to unearth performance inhibitors and causes for communication breakdown. The primary data source for the study were audio-recordings of 6 in-class peer-group discussions in an advanced contemporary American literature course during the academic year 2016/2017. The significance of this research lies in the rarity of studies focusing on verbal communication skills in Omani higher education literature classrooms at a time when English programs are in the process of being re-visited and revamped both for accreditation purposes and for meeting job-market demands. The results showed a considerable variation in Omani students' verbal communicative abilities and English proficiency levels. The study also raises crucial questions and provides important recommendations for administrators and teachers alike who are in the process of restructuring English programs in the region and in non-English speaking countries worldwide.

Keywords: Literature, tertiary education, oman, job-market, oral communication skills

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3 An Exploratory Study on Challenges of Public Private Partnership Projects in Oman

Authors: Omar Amoudi, Mariya Khalid

Abstract:

The limitation of the public funds for the infrastructure projects and with the deterioration of international oil prices and the negative consequences on the economies of oil producing and exporting countries, Oman has encouraged the partnership between the public and private sectors. As the private sector has a role in planning, financing, designing, operating and the maintenance of the public services. There is no doubt that, the adoption of Public Private Partnership (PPP) strategy faces many challenges which might affect the project seriously if it is not overcome in earlier time. These challenges depend on the level of understanding of the strategy, the roles and regulations and the availability of resources as well. This research aims at identifying the challenges facing the PPP infrastructure projects in Oman based on the similar previous studies supported by questionnaire survey and semi structured interviews. It also seeks to discuss the rationale for adoption in Oman and uncover the current status of PPP strategy. The identified challenges were ranked according to the importance index of each challenge. After analysis of data, it has observed that, the main challenges facing PPPs projects in Oman are high participation cost, high projects cost and regulation changes. The PPP strategy has to be adopted well and with a high level of experience in order to ensure a successful implementation of PPP projects in Oman.

Keywords: Challenges, Infrastructure, oman, Public Private Partnership (PPP)

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2 Use and Health Effects of Caffeinated Beverages in Omani Students

Authors: Nasiruddin Khan

Abstract:

The increased use of caffeinated beverages and energy drink is posing threat to all ages and gender especially, younger adults. There is a lack of scientific evidence in Oman regarding caffeine and energy drink consumption. Our study aims to demonstrate the prevalence, pattern, knowledge and awareness, and side effects of caffeine intake among university students. This cross-sectional study including (N=365) apparently healthy male and female Omani university students aged 18-30 years, was carried out from February 2018-June 2018. A self-administered questionnaire with various sections was used to obtain information. The prevalence of caffeinated beverage consumption was commonly high among participants (97%). The males preferred Nescafe, coffee (both p < 0.001), espresso (p < 0.022), and soda (p < 0.008) while females consumed more tea (p < 0.029). The awareness about negative health impact of caffeine intake was significantly higher in females rather than males (p < 0.002). The overall prevalence of energy drink consumption was 42.1% (n=149), and higher in males (75%, p < 0.001). More males consumed 3-5 and > 5 cans/day while females used 1-2 cans/day. The starting age of energy drink use was higher in females (16-20 years (51.1%)) as compared to males (11-15 years (33.3%)). Females were more aware of caffeine as energy drink ingredient (p < 0.036) than males. The major source of information about enery drink was family and friends (58.3%). Red Bull was the commonly used brand (55.5%) among participants. Common reasons for high energy drink consumption were energy boost (68.4 %), taste (62.9%), reduce fatigue (52.1%), and better performance (47.3%). Females reported breathing problem, and abnormal heart beat (p < 0.004, 0.054, respectively), while more males reported irritability than females (p < 0.052). The prevalence of caffeinated beverage and energy drink consumption is high among participants. The awareness, and knowledge among university student is not satisfactory and needs immediate action to avoid excess use of such consumption.

Keywords: awareness, oman, energy drink, caffeinated beverages

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1 Depressive Symptoms in Children with Epilepsy Attending a Tertiary Care Hospital in Oman

Authors: Hamood Al Kiyumi, Salim Al Huseini, Khalid Al Risi, Hassan Mirza, Amira Al Hosni, Sanjay Jaju, Asaad Al Habsi

Abstract:

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the proportion of depressive symptoms along with demographic data in children diagnosed with epilepsy in a tertiary care institution in Oman. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted between June 2016 and August 2018. We have included 75 children with age group from five to 12 years old, attending epilepsy clinic at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital who were diagnosed with epilepsy and already on treatment. Patients were excluded if they have mental retardation. Validated Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC) questionnaire was utilized to assess the level of depressive symptoms among children. In addition, we have looked at associated factors including seizure status in the last three months, compliance with antiepileptic medications, type of epilepsy, and number of antiepileptic medications. Results: In this study, we found that depressive symptoms were present in 39 (52%) of patients. We also found that 96% of the patients were compliant to medications. In addition, seizure was present in the last three months in 48% of the sample studies. There was no statistically significant association between any of the studied variables and depression. Conclusions: Although depression is highly prevalent in children with epilepsy, this study did not find any significant association between the CES-DC scores and the studied factors.

Keywords: Epilepsy, Children, Depression, oman

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