In a significant development for the academic communities in Oman, the Centre for Preparatory Studies at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) officially inaugurated its IELTS Open Centre in an event graced by Professor Salim Al Harthy, SQU's Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Community Services. The IELTS Open Centre, closely affiliated with the British Council (BC) Oman, strengthens the enduring partnership between BC and SQU.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Dr Zahra Al Lawati, Director of the Centre for Preparatory Studies, SQU, reflected on the journey of the IELTS Centre, which had initially served as a Closed Centre for approximately 12 years. Establishing the IELTS Open Centre aligns with SQU's core community service mission. Dr Zahra expressed her gratitude towards Prof. Salim and the senior SQU administration for their unwavering support, enabling the open centre to fruition. She also extended thanks to the British Council for the long-continued partnership.
Dr. Zahra highlighted the accomplishments of the previous IELTS Closed Centre, emphasising its remarkable performance. A recent audit conducted by Cambridge Assessment classified it as a low-risk centre. On June 12, 2023, the centre was bestowed with the prestigious 'Compliance Excellence Award' by the British Council, Oman.
With the IELTS Open Centre now accessible to a broader community beyond SQU, individuals from various walks of life can take both paper-based and computer-based IELTS tests. The escalating demand for IELTS tests in Oman necessitated the establishment of this open centre. The diverse group of IELTS test takers includes students aspiring to pursue postgraduate studies at various higher education institutions within Oman, students preparing for overseas education, students from private colleges and universities who require an IELTS certificate before graduation, job seekers, and non-Omani residents seeking immigration.
Dr Zahra expressed her optimism that the collaboration between the CPS' IELTS Centre and the British Council will significantly contribute to serving the broader Muscat community and other regions. This development is a pivotal step towards facilitating academic and career aspirations while upholding SQU's commitment to community service.
Prof. Salim Al Harthi, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Community Service stressed the importance of community service and how it aligns with the mission of Sultan Qaboos University. He assured continued support to the endeavours of the CPS in achieving its important role of serving the community.
Simon Green, Exams Director of MENA South for the British Council, expressed his happiness towards this important milestone in strengthening the relationship between the BC and SQU. He wished success for SQU’s IELTS Open Centre and assured help and support from the BC.