Sultan Qaboos University hosted a talk on “Standards in Education” delivered by H.E. Mr. John Walter, President of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on Monday, 25 February 2019. Mr. Walter began his talk by introducing ISO which is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 164 national standards bodies. “Through its members, ISO brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges”. According to him, ISO standards help to make the world safer, cleaner and more efficient place. “From food safety to computers; from healthcare to new technologies, ISO helps to make positive differences to all our lives”.
Mr. Walter added that International Standards make things work. “They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade”. ISO has published 22533 International Standards and related documents, covering almost every industry, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare. ISO has members from 164 countries and 786 technical committees and subcommittees to take care of standards development. The experts form a technical committee that is responsible for a specific subject area.
Mr. Walter added that International Standards mean that consumers can have confidence that their products are safe, reliable and of good quality. He said that ISO strongly favours regional activities and every country in the world, big or small, has a role to play in ISO and its functioning. He said that Oman has opportunities to get involved in his organization’s activities and the country should speak up and involve more in ensuring International Standards in areas or products that it could offer to other countries.
According to Mr. Walter, by ensuring standards in education, many benefits can be achieved. These include increased accessibility to learners with special needs, personalizing learning process, improved evaluation process and increased credibility. He added that ISO maintains a large repository of resources and teaching materials to promote education about standards. ISO maintains international partnerships in education and contributes to postgraduate courses in standards in many higher educational institutions across the world.
Mr. Walter concluded his talk by explaining how ISO supports its members to maximize the benefits of international standardization and ensure the uptake of ISO standards so as to help to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Economic, environmental and societal dimensions are all directly addressed by ISO standards. Organizations and companies looking to contribute to the SDGs will find that International Standards provide effective tools to help them rise to the challenge.
Earlier, H.E. Mr. John Walter met H.E. Dr. Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, the Vice Chancellor of SQU at his office.