School for tomorrow: National Private School, Oman

Started in 1982, the National Private School (NPS) is one of the best private schools in Muscat, in a competitive market where private schooling is in high demand. A majority of new generation Omani parents tend to send their children to private school because of the flexibility provided in choice of curriculum as well as the use of the bilingual system straddling Arabic and English which is not available in public schools. Finally, private schools usually provide greater focus and concentration on imparting quality learning to children from an early stage, with more robust systems and procedures in place.

The National Private School had a slow start, but went from strength to strength since its ownership moved to entrepreneur Sayyid Barghash Said Al Said and his son in 2006. The entrepreneurs brought to NPS significant experience and knowledge in running private SMEs. As chairman of the school, Mr Barghash made a sizeable contribution towards improving the school’s performance over six years from 2006-12. He brought clear direction to the school in the form of a long term growth strategy encompassing the provision of quality education at competitive and affordable prices.

In order to take the school to the next level, Mr Barghash needed the support of a financing partner to not only fund its expansion but also support the execution of his comprehensive strategy with a well-defined operational plan.

“When I approached Nomou, I found both the finance and support I needed under one roof,” says Mr Barghash.

Nomou provided a loan of US$ 1,886,011 to help the school expand its capacity by 10 additional classrooms to a total of 46, and to fund the construction of a special hall for the use of female students. At the time of Nomou’s intervention, the school had 726 students, and there were more than 143 students in the waiting list.

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On the business support front, the GroFin Oman team took on the mandate of ensuring that the school had clear process and procedures to help manage it effectively, and both authority and accountability had been outlined clearly and were being controlled by the board directly.

“We supplemented the existing strategy by developing robust process and procedures to improve the school performance, as well as helped the entrepreneur to hire a full time specialist in private schooling to improve the quality of teaching,” says Shinil Sukumaran, Assistant Investment Manager at GroFin Oman.

With the construction of a hall for female students with Nomou’s support, the ratio of girls to boys has improved over the years from 0.60 to 0.70. Nomou’s support has also created 19 more jobs for teachers, drivers and administrative staff, especially for Omanis whose strength has gone up from 32 to 46 as well as female staff that has increased from 63 to 73, while sustaining jobs of 121 staff.

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