Al Batinah International School in Sohar, has set its sights on becoming the leading international school in the region. Co-owned as part of a visionary ‘non-profit’ joint venture between Sohar Aluminium and Orpic, the school is currently building multiple state of the art learning spaces designed by leading architects Fielding Nair International, responsible for the architectural design of some of the most innovative school buildings worldwide.
Once completed, at a cost of approximately 8.3 Million Rials, the school will have capacity for over 650 students divided into learning communities of approximately 150 students. This claims Robin Dunbar, Cambridge University anthropologist, is the ideal number for social relationships.
Major hallmarks of the expansion include intelligent buildings with high-quality mobile furniture that can be easily altered and adapted according to the needs of the learner, an ability to automatically adjust temperature and sunlight, and immediate lock-in in the event of a security issue. In addition there is a 1:1 iPad programme, enabling students to easily share their screens with the many WiFi-ready LED screens throughout the school.
Each building’s interior will be coated in memory paint allowing students and teachers to write on the walls like a regular whiteboard. This effectively means that learning can take place at any time and virtually anywhere. Mixing the modern with the traditional, students will have access to private learning stations, as well as regular classrooms, allowing for collaboration and independent study.
Originally founded in 2007 in a villa in Sohar, the school has grown steadily whilst remaining focused on its mission to provide the best international quality education in the region for its learners. ABIS is authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate Primary Years programme, its prestigious Diploma programme, as well as Cambridge University’s IGCSEs. To deliver these programmes the school has highly-qualified, multi-national teachers employed on the basis of their ability to educate and drive the mission of the school forward.
The school’s caring focus on individuals and desire to build a close relationship with its host country has led to the most significant and ambitious scholarship programme in the region. When fully established the Orpic ABIS Assisted Scholarship programme will finance the education of Omani children from the community, with the aim of providing quality education supporting them to become Oman’s leaders of tomorrow.
While remaining committed to expatriates, the school has also developed a new Arabic (Global) section to help Omani students gain the benefits of an international education alongside students from over 30 countries. Whilst mastering both their mother tongue and English, the aim of the school is for Omanis to have access to the knowledge, skills and experiences to be successful and give something back to their country. This year's new global section for ages 3 to 7 years (Kindergarten to Grade 2) is already over 50% full with spaces remaining in all of the grades. The plan is to open up Grades 3, 4 and 5 for Omanis next academic year and to continue adding grades as the school grows.
When asked why the school is so innovative, Head of School, Neil Tomalin, replied: “There are many great schools that don’t have our resources. The most important thing is to have great teachers, great students and a great programme. However, we believe that if you combine these things with a great learning environment, learning culture, and smart innovation, you will achieve something wonderful!”