Colombo, 7 February, 2007: British Council Sri Lanka is to use the services of the Gateway Language Centres to provide greater opportunities for young learners to take the University of Cambridge ESOL English Examinations from April 2007. The tests, aimed at children aged 7 to 12, are available in three levels: Starters, Movers and Flyers. The objective of this initiative is to make available testing facilities locally at three levels that are affordable to a wider cross-section of the community. This initiative is expected to facilitate young learners, representing all ethnic communities, to achieve a degree of fluency in English they would otherwise be unable to obtain. The MOU in this regard was signed on April between the Country Examinations Manager of the British Council in Sri Lanka, Mr. Philip Rylah, and the Director of the Gateway Language Centre, Dr. Harsha Alles.
“We're extremely pleased to be able to offer opportunities to more students to take Cambridge Young Learners Examinations who might not otherwise have the chance to improve their basic language skills and thereby develop fluency in English,” said Mfs. Gillian Westaway, the Director of the British Council after the signing. “These examinations, which include listening comprehension and speaking tests, will be carried out by trained Gateway staff under the supervision of the British Council. We also welcome this partnership with Gateway Language Center, a well-recognized and experienced language institution. ” Mr. Philip Rylah, the Country Examinations Manager of British Council Sri Lanka added.
The Cambridge Young Learners Examinations provide a positive encouragement to the learners, and a useful guide to the English that they need to learn. All candidates who complete their tests receive awards, which focus on what they can do (rather than what they can't do) and give them credit for having taken part in the test. Awards are graded between 1-5 (represented by 'shields') for each different skill area assessed; Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.
Dr. Alles, Director of Gateway, said that these arrangements will be further expanded in the future through testELT, the newly formed organisation that would function along the same lines as of testIT. testIT (Pvt) Ltd. of which Dr. Alles is a Director, provides courseware and testing services for IT skills qualifications such as e-Citizen, ICDL and ICDL Advanced. In future, testELT expects to provide courseware in the form of printed material as well as e-Learning so that schools or training centres can prepare students using such material and finally send them for examinations to centres close by, thus taking learning to even the most remote areas of the country.
The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Its purpose is to build mutually beneficial relationships between people in the UK and other countries. The British Council, which has been in Sri Lanka since 1949, offers access to UK education and examination information, and organises UK examinations in Sri Lanka under secure conditions, along with a depth of candidate support and exam preparation resources. Qualifications include:
English Tests for Young Learners
General and Business English Qualifications for Adults
Professional and Academic Examinations
UK O and A-Levels