Yetnayet Sisay is an Education and Behavioural Sciences lecturer in the University of Gondar. The first time she sat for IELTS, she had to travel 664 kms to Addis Ababa. She claims that, ‘When travelling to Addis Ababa, there is a considerable transportation and subsistence cost, not to mention the psychological cost of being away from family and friends.’
Tewodros Leulseged totally agrees with her. Tewodros, who is a physically challenged English Language lecturer in the University of Gondar, sat for IELTS three times in Addis Ababa. Even though he commended the British Council Addis Ababa's exam centre as, ‘easily accessible for all, for both exams and training purposes,’ he noted that he faced considerable hurdles. In his own words, ‘Many hotels are expensive and transport access, especially for the physically challenged, is a big hurdle that discourages many.’
On 22 November, the British Council Ethiopia IELTS team, in collaboration with the University of Gondar, launched its IELTS exam centre in the historical city of Gondar. During the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement, the University of Gondar representatives stated that the centre will be vital in enabling its staff, students and the general community in Gondar and surrounding areas to access the test in the city.
Yetnayet is one of the early beneficiaries. She recently had to sit, again, for IELTS in order to compete for a Master Card scholarship. But this time she was able to sit in Gondar. She scored 7.0. Yetnayet, only 30 years old now, has won the scholarship and will be travelling to Canada to do her PhD.
Appreciating the new centre in Gondar, Yetnayet added that, ‘It’s a big opportunity for us and I want to thank the British Council and the University of Gondar.’
During the launch, Vice President of the University of Gondar, Dr. Gashaw Andargie, and the Country Director of the British Council in Ethiopia, Mr. Peter Brown, signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) and delivered congratulatory speeches.
Peter Brown, during his speech, pointed out that, ‘70% of the Ethiopian population is under the age of 30. With that big number we have to keep in mind that employment numbers will have to grow as well. But I am certain that with the centre, those who are a part of the British Council IELTS testing will have a fighting chance to make their way into great positions.’
After the Addis Ababa and the Mekele exam centres, the Gondar venue is the third one to be established by the British Council in Ethiopia in line with its moto of Creating opportunities worldwide.