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Abdul Hamid, Gulf News Editor-in-chief, CEO and Executive Director Publications, Al Nisr Publishing and Deep Adhikari, Director Examinations Gulf South Cluster, British Council, at the launch of the new test centre at Gulf News in Dubai on Thursday Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Gulf News, the UAE’s number one English daily newspaper, has launched Cocertify, whereby its offices will be used as the venue for various international certifications and school exams.

On Thursday, Gulf News and the British Council, UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, signed an agreement allowing the Council to use the Gulf News premises off Sheikh Zayed Road as test venue for its IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and other certification exams.

Gulf News
Deep Adhikari and Abdul Hamid Ahmad cut the ribbon while others look on at the launch of the new test centre on Thursday Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Deep Adhikari, British Council Director Examinations Gulf South Cluster, described the agreement as an important partnership between Gulf News and the British Council.

“Gulf News is a centre of information, education and entertainment in the UAE while the British Council is a centre of British education and culture. The partnership between the two organisations will provide greater access to UAE nationals and expats towards education, qualifications and training,” Adhikari pointed out.

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The spacious 150-seater room for paper-based tests at the Gulf News premises Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The British Council in the UAE offers IELTS, an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers, as well as general training and UK visas and immigration (UKVI) tests.

Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Gulf News Editor-in-Chief and CEO & Executive Director Publications at Al Nisr Publishing LLC, said: “We are proud to have this partnership with British Council, which is very well known for its services in education and spreading culture, as well as and helping students to get through their courses in English and paving their pathway to universities in the UK.”

"For us, this relationship has strong synergy — they (British Council) are in education and we are in information. As a media entity, it is also our role to educate the people.

- Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Gulf News Editor-in-Chief and CEO & Executive Director Publications at Al Nisr Publishing

“For us, this relationship has strong synergy — they (British Council) are in education and we are in information. As a media entity, it is also our role to educate the people and we are happy with this partnership which we will take farther and strengthen in the coming days,” he added.

Safety protocols at test venue

The British Council announced on its website that it has resumed booking for future test dates from July 25 onwards.

“The health and safety of test takers and test staff is our number one priority and we have taken the time to put in place all precautions to ensure our customers can test confidently at our test venues,” it added.

Gulf News said all health and safety protocols are being followed at the venue.

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Several rooms have been allocated for speaking tests, where the examiner and examinee are separated by glass acrylic panels Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Anyone who enters Gulf News premises is required to undergo thermal scanning. Wearing of face mask is also a must. Hand sanitisers are available at all touch points.

All rooms used for testing will be sanitised before and after each session.

There is a spacious 150-seater room for paper-based tests, where examinees are required to maintain a two-metre distance at all times. There are also 25-seater rooms for computer-based examinations with the same requirement for a two-metre distance between people.

Mother's Room
Separate room for lactating mothers Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Several rooms have also been allocated for speaking tests, where the examiner and examinee are separated by glass acrylic panels. And there are several dedicated and sanitised rooms for lactating mothers.

The Gulf News test venue is available seven days a week and is close to Business Bay Metro station. There is also a nearby bus stop for Metro feeder buses and sufficient public parking slots.