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When the Covid-19 couldn’t stop Students, Joomla triumph in the Arab nation of Oman.

December-Markathon Education outreach

In the new era of the knowledge-based economy where digitalisation and online learning has become the new norm, how do we keep up with the teaching of Joomla among students especially when the pandemic has greatly impacted us all? Joomla Education Outreach is probably one of the best drivers, if not the only Best to reach out to a larger number of the world population, especially the youth.

Just before the world went into luck down, I moved to the sultanate of Oman – an Arab Nation in the Middle East. After officially resuming duty as a Lecturer at Nizwa College of Technology (Now the University of Technology and Applied Sciences - Nizwa), I was tasked by the management to lead a group of two male and one female student (Loai, Abdulrahman, & Atheer) to a national competition called “Markathon”. The competition was held in March 2020 at the Al Musanna College of Technology – Al Musanna.

The competition required participants to develop a web-based system with a specific target audience; however, these students had no idea what to propose. Hence, I introduced Joomla to them, offered to train and mentor them. The preparation and training took about three weeks or thereabout to complete. Eventually, they build a system that allows students to interact with lecturers and sell products within the university campus. The students were brilliant and fast learners!

nct student rep

In a bid to support the students to win the competition, teaching the Joomla skills became imperative. Learning Joomla is one of the new skills I would recommend all students to acquire today as better opportunity present itself to those who got the skills rather than certificates only.

To cut a long story short, the students presented their project which was built with Joomla, behold – they emerged top in the national “Markathon” earning them 1000 Omani Rial ($2600). The judges were impressed; other college presenters mind was blown away when they witnessed the power of Joomla.

student prize1

Upon the students return to the campus, it was all smiling with congratulatory messages from top management, lecturers and even students. I was proud and felt strongly that Joomla has won in the Arab Nation. The winner students have this to say:

"Sir, you have really helped us, I never know about Joomla I am impressed – thank you Teacher" -- Abdulrahman

"Teacher, you really save us because we have no idea what to do and the time was very short to prepare. Thank you for introducing Joomla - this success is your success. You should teach us e-commerce module" -- Atheer

"We couldn’t have done it without you sir, thank you for introducing to use Joomla for this competition. Thank you for your time, effort even with the short notice" -- Loai

With success from the national competition, colleagues in the faculty and head of department (HOD) desires to know more about Joomla aroused, this prompted me to conduct a seminar for lecturers of the university titled “USING JOOMLA! - A WEB APPLICATION TOOL TO EMPOWER STUDENTS” in June 2020.

Students who had an e-commerce module requested that I teach Joomla or at least become their e-commerce lecturer. I could not assign myself as their lecturer obviously, but I guaranteed to teach them Joomla.

With all this development, myself and the HOD of Business Studies Department discussed the impact of learning Joomla on our students they prepare for work-life after graduation. One of the objectives of the department and the university is to have students employed or be self-employed within 1-3 months after graduation. Additionally, the HOD requested Joomla training session for lecturers in the department so that the Joomla knowledge can further be transferred or shared with as many students as possible.

Evidently, I became the first person who introduced Joomla to the university, and I believe you can do the same in your college or university. Subsequently, Joomla earned a significant spot in the heart of students, colleagues and the university management. A small research shows little to no existence of Joomla in the country, but it is now new dawn for Joomla in Oman.

The Omani government has reinforced its commitment and support to its youth on technical and general skills acquisition as well as entrepreneurship. Thus, this is an opportunity to empower as many Omani youths through the Education Outreach initiative on Joomla skills. This will not only help the youths secure Jobs but will help them become self-reliant.

Since Joomla is evidently new to students in Oman, the intended strategy is to initiate a Joomla user group as a form of an Education Outreach in the university and to subsequently replicate the concept in other colleges and universities in the country. There are two main players for achieving this: training colleagues (lecturers) and students. Lecturers will be able to train students as extra-curricula activities while students can serve as the Covid-19 like virus (pardon my usage of the virus) to supersonically spread the Joomla Love among friends, family and community.

student presentation

Conclusively, it will be selfishness to say that the Education Outreach initiative of Joomla, is the most significant aside from the Joomla Core Development and Security team. You may be wondering why such assertion to the Education Outreach as the most important – The simple reason is that: You may have the best and indispensable product in this world, if it lacks the awareness needed, then it is equal to trash.

Joomla is no doubt one of the BEST & SECURED Open source software in the world. What Joomla needs now is a strong Education Outreach initiative in schools, colleges and universities because most students are youths and youths are the future of the WORLD.

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