Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing has been an important tool in stemming the tide of health threats. It is perfectly understandable that the authorities are requiring outgoing travellers to show negative test results prior to departing the Sultanate.
However, for students who are pursuing their studies overseas, I have noticed inconsistency in terms of payment.
My niece is a scholarship student in a neighbouring country. She had to fork out BND80 for the PCR test 72 hours prior to departure, which was a perfectly reasonable requirement. But on arrival at her destination, she was asked to take another test, which again, had to come from her own pocket.
But that is not the real issue.
What we later discovered was that some students have been asked to pay for the test, while others receive waivers. So far, no explanation has been given as to why that is the case.
There is no discernible difference between scholarship and private students either; it’s completely down to luck.
I hope the authorities could launch an investigation into the discrepancy and standardise the requirements for students pursuing their studies overseas.