The General Foundation Program (GFP) at the University of Technology and Applied Sciences (UTAS) has been structured as per the government’s directives and in keeping with the University’s vision and mission. The Program rests on four pillars: the English language, Mathematics, Computing, and General Study Skills (GSS). Its curriculum, instruction, and other activities are all inspired by a view on learning as change involving knowledge, strategies, skills, and attitudes, and an understanding of teaching as priming, unveiling, empowering, challenging, guiding, and coaching. Hence stem the GFP’s various instructional methods and interventions, assessment tools, and academic advising and support schemes. Conscious that the curriculum is a cyclical process and the mission assigned to the education sector in Oman’s Vision 2040, the GFP at UTAS considers monitoring and evaluating the necessary stepping stones for it to be and remain relevant, effective, efficient, sustainable, and impactful; in other words, fit for purpose in continually changing local and global (or glocal) contexts.
The essential teaching aims in the GFP, which are in tandem with the learning outcomes and student output, have been stipulated by the OAAA in the “Oman Academic Standards for General Foundation Programs” (2009).
The General Foundation Program at UTAS aims to enable students to attain the required skills for their higher education studies. Specifically, the program aims to:
- Extend the English language skills of students to enable them to communicate confidently and effectively in social, academic, and work-related contexts.
- Ensure that students are equipped with the mathematical understanding and skills to meet the cognitive and practical competencies necessary in various disciplines.
- Ensure that students are equipped with the computing and IT understanding and skills necessary to source, process, and communicate information related to various disciplines.
- Enhance students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, and independent learning skills to succeed in their academic programs.
- Develop students’ fundamental study and academic skills such as managing time and accepting responsibility, research skills, taking notes, and giving Presentations.
The Program consists of four areas: English Language, Mathematics, Computing, and General Study Skills (GSS). The General Study Skills learning outcomes are embedded in all the GFP courses. Each semester, foundation students shall register for all the components of the GFP that they have to successfully complete at a certain level in order to progress to the next level or graduate from the program.
The English Language courses have been structured into four ability levels. Students may enroll in any of the three Mathematics courses whenever they meet the pertinent entry requirements. Students who pass Level 2 English course may enroll on the Computing Skills course in Level 3.The GSS are embedded in the teaching of the other three GFP study areas and assessed through CA components. The GFP structure is flexible as it is designed to offer all GFP courses every semester to meet the needs of all the students.
Each semester, foundation students shall register for all the components of the GFP that they have to successfully complete at a certain level in order to progress to the next level or graduate from the program.
Students are not permitted to postpone a semester of their GFP study except for valid reasons or in insurmountable circumstances upon the approval of the concerned authorities. The period of postponement shall not be calculated from the maximum period of GFP study. Postponement is awarded for one semester and applicable to all GFP components.
Students who successfully complete both the English Language component and the Basic Mathematics course shall be allowed to register for some courses of the first semester of Year One of their academic program, in addition to the remaining GFP courses; Applied/ Pure mathematics and/or Computing Skills. The courses that students can register for are university courses, or college/department courses provided that the remaining GFP course is not a prerequisite for these courses.
The student is entitled to submit a request to review his final grade in any course to the Admission and Registration Center according to the approved form and policies within a maximum period of three official working days from the date of announcing the final result. The student has the right to appeal in one course without fees while certain fees are applied to the other courses. These fees are refundable in case of an error is found in the final grade according to the regulating policies.
Attendance is mandatory upon GFP students for all the curricular components which they have registered. Students are responsible for keeping informed about their own absenteeism percentage.
Attendance shall be taken at the beginning of each lecture. Students shall be marked “Absent” if they arrive later than 10 minutes to class.
The tolerated percentage of absenteeism from GFP mandatory, scheduled learning activities is 15% for English Component and 20% for Mathematics and Computing Skills.
If a student surpasses 15% absenteeism in English or 20% in Mathematics and Computing Skills with a valid health or other compelling excuse supported by official documents and accepted by the department and the registration and admission center, s/he will be considered as withdrawn (W) from that component.
If a student surpasses 15% absenteeism in English or 20% in Mathematics and Computing Skills without a valid excuse, he/she shall be debarred from the Final Exam and shall be awarded an (FW) grade. FW means "failing for unexcused absence".
The following shall be considered valid excuses for absenteeism:
If a student is absent for 10 consecutive days in all courses without a valid excuse, s/he will be considered withdrawn and awarded an (FW).
If a student is absent for 10 consecutive days in all courses with a valid excuse, absenteeism regulations will be applicable to him/her.
Illness or any other health condition provided that the student submits a sick leave certificate issued by a government hospital or polyclinic. Sick leave certificates issued by private hospitals or clinics shall not be accepted unless they have been subsequently certified by the government health centers. A certificate stating that the student has merely been seen by a health practitioner shall not be accepted as a valid excuse for absenteeism.
Students who have medical appointments shall inform their teachers about them in advance and submit valid proof (as described in A) of having been to the appointment.
Students are also excused for having been absent from one or more contact hours in the case of the death of a first degree relative provided that an official document from the authorities is submitted to the course teacher within 3 days.
In the cases of absence due to extra-curricular activities, the prior approval of the concerned department/center shall be required.
Discipline and Order
- All GFP students have to observe the dress code.
- Once registered, a student must follow university rules and regulations of academic conduct and integrity, observe ethical conduct, and avoid all forms or degrees of infraction whether during lectures, in examination halls or elsewhere; whether individually involved, or in association with others.
- Cheating or attempting to cheat in any assessment component or plagiarizing work is not tolerated in UTAS. Students caught cheating, attempting to cheat or plagiarizing will face punitive measures which can include failing the course.
- The health and safety procedures and protocols must be adhered to at all times.
- The physical and intellectual properties of the university and rights of other students and staff members must be safeguarded and respected.
- Any misconduct or breach of the GFP and UTAS rules and regulations or traditions will be deemed a punishable offence and certain disciplinary measures will be applied on violators.