First private inclusive school to begin session in September

L-R: Arun Kapur, Abdulhameed Abdullah al Hamdani, one of the Board of Directors of Paradise Valley Private School and Mahesh Verma at Grand Hyatt Muscat to announce the project (Muscat Daily)

Muscat - 

The first private school in Oman to have children with special needs in the mainstream will commence operations in Muscat in September.

Paradise Valley Private School, governed by a distinguished and professional Board of Directors will be an independent, co-educational, inclusive day-boarding school. It aims to serve the demand for high-quality education among the Omani and expatriate communities.

In an exclusive interview to Muscat Daily , Arun Kapur, advisor to the board of Paradise Valley Private School said, “Here, all the children are going to be mainstream. We all have special needs - the only thing is that the degree varies. Same is with those children, it’s just that their degrees are little more. So if some children require occupational therapy, they will be provided. They will not be separated from the other children, because then the whole purpose is lost. This will be an inclusive school. We will be an Omani school which is open to expatriates.”

He is of the opinion that if a child has gone to school in Oman and has not learnt anything about Oman, then it is not a complete education.

The school believes in providing equal learning opportunities and support to all students, including students with special needs, so that they can grow to be the best they can. There will be a department with specialists that looks at inclusion in the school and will provide support to the faculty.

“There will be lots of support for people who are not so great in music, or for example those with Down Syndrome, as their needs are very different,” said Kapur, adding, “We mainstream people learn so much from children whose special needs are at a different degree.”

Paradise Valley Private School will offer Arabic Language Studies, Islamic Studies Programme and Social Studies in Arabic for Arabic speakers, thereby offering seamless transition for Omanis into a high-quality international school. “The school is located near Al Mouj Muscat. It’s a rented premises as of now and we are altering it inside as per the International Baccalaureate organisation and Oman’s Ministry of Education requirements. Most of the work will be completed by the end of June,” said Mahesh Verma, managing director of Paradise Sprig Investment Management Co, the group which owns the school and president of the School Management Committee.

The school will follow the curriculum as recommended by the International Baccalaureate organisation as an applicant for IB candidacy. Starting with primary years (Kindergarten to Grade 3), the school will strive to grow into a full-fledged IB school offering primary years, middle years, diploma and career programmes. The curriculum will be adapted or modified according to students’ needs.

Kapur said that the school is looking at holistic education based on five areas of development: cerebral, emotional, ethical, physical and social - the philosophy of Pallavan Learning Systems.

Verma said, “We will have an open house around mid-July for the students and the parents, when they can interact with the director and the teachers. We are looking at recruiting quality teachers particularly those who have some experience with the IB programme. Our idea is to recruit the best teachers.”

“Initially we will have 20-22 children per class. We are looking at starting with about 120 children till Grade 3,” Verma added. He said that teacher-student ratio will be 1:8.

Verma said that the present building will be ready for children up to Grade 5. “Once we have our own building, the children will be shifted to the new premises, which will have up to Grade 12. There will be no gap in a child’s education.”

“Admissions will be announced this week as we have just received the ministry’s approval for advertisements,” Verma added.

“None of the investors are looking for a quick buck; they are not cutting corners by paying teachers low salaries, etc. We are looking at providing good growing up experience,” Kapur said, adding, “We are not going to compare ourselves to anyone.”

Kapur said, “We aim to provide quality education at affordable fees. I am very impressed at the way the authorities in the country work before giving permission to set up a school.”

In 1990, Kapur started as the founding headmaster of Vasant Valley School. He has nurtured the school to become India’s leading co-educational day school. Since 2008, Kapur, as the founding director, conceptualised and designed the Royal Academy in Bhutan, a project of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. Kapur also serves on the boards of many prestigious schools including the Doon School and the Scindia School. Other Board of Directors of the school are Abdulhameed Abdullah al Hamdani, Khalid Said al Qassaby and Suresh Kumar Virmani.

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