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Bank Muscat scholarship programme to serve as bridge to future

Unique chance for youth to regain missed educational opportunity

MUSCAT, 10 January 2012 – BankMuscat, the leading financial services provider in the Sultanate, on Tuesday (10 January 2012) announced 'Jisr al Mustaqbal' (Bridge to future)  youth scholarship programme in execution of the directive of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos to provide relevant educational and training opportunities to Omani youth to develop employable skills.  The comprehensive programme launched as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aims at offering study and vocational training sponsorships for young Omanis - both male and female from low-income and limited income families who have not been able to complete their education for various reasons.

To ensure the continuity and success of the unique programme, the Bank has set aside 20 per cent of its CSR budget for the programme. Scholarships will be distributed to students from all provinces in the country in the ratio of 60 per cent to interior regions and 40 per cent to Muscat region.

Salim Al Kaabi, AGM – Human Resources Management, said: “Jisr al Mustaqbal scholarship programme has been well prepared to ensure the realisation of the objective to offer new opportunities to Omani youth to complete their education. The aim is to help such young Omanis to receive proper education and vocational training that will enable them to develop employable skills and improve their living standards, social and economic status. This will also encourage them to positively participate in the service of society and development of the country."

 The scholarship programme reaches out to Omani youth at two levels. In the first category, secondary school graduates from underprivileged families will be sponsored to pursue undergraduate diplomas at selected colleges and universities. The study programmes will be limited to diploma in Banking, Accounting, Finance or Information Technology, the duration of which will not exceed three and a half years. Students who achieve GPA equal to or higher than 3.50 or equivalent in their diploma studies may, at the sole discretion of the Bank's Management, be offered sponsorship to pursue a Bachelors programme. The sponsorship will cover course registration, tuition fees, cost of books and monthly allowance of RO 75.

The eligibility criteria includes that beneficiaries will be Omani nationals less than 20 years of age. They should not be employed and must have completed Secondary School with at least 70 per cent marks, with the course completed not more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment to college. Candidates applying for sponsorship will be required to clear the placement test conducted by the college. Priority will be given to students with no employment in the family.

In the second category, unemployed youth from low income families who have not completed high school will be sponsored for vocational training. For eligibility, the family of students should be recipients of social welfare and/or from the low income category as defined by the Ministry of Social Development.

The sponsorship for vocational training through colleges and institutes in Oman will cover course registration, tuition fees and cost of books and if required monthly allowance on an ad-hoc basis.

For eligibility, the beneficiaries should be Omani nationals less than 25 years of age. They should not be employed and candidates applying for sponsorship will be required to clear the placement test administered by the college. Priority will be given to students with no employment in the family

Al Kaabi added: “BankMuscat is committed to its corporate social responsibility and thereby contribute towards sustainable development by working closely with local communities with the aim of improving living standards in a manner that serves the national economy and development process at the same time. The scholarship programme will help students from weaker sections of society to acquire employable skills, guaranteeing economic independence to them."

BankMuscat is the first Omani bank to establish a full-fledged CSR department. Considered among core values, the CSR policy stems from the Bank's strong belief in the importance of social responsibility. It reflects the Bank's concern and care for various segments of society. The Bank is of the view that its social responsibility is not merely participation in charitable works and organisation of voluntary campaigns, but responsibility towards all-round development of society.

BankMuscat focuses on all types of projects that fall within the framework of social responsibility and their importance and overall benefit both to society and individuals. The prime consideration includes the benefit reaching the largest number of individuals; the youth and job-seekers and provision of opportunities for the development of skills/human capital. Efforts are also targeted at individuals with special needs to enhance their capabilities with the aim of integrating them into mainstream society.