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Experiencing real English


ELS Oman has come of age becoming the largest provider of English as a Second Language programmes in the country.
Muhammed Nafie reports


Since ELS Language Centres (ELS) has emerged as the industry leader in English language instruction in the Sultanate, offering first class experience in English language proficiency for academic, professional and everyday purposes. One of the worlds most respected English language providers and training institutes, ELS was introduced in Oman under joint-venture control and guidance of the International Training and Educational Services (ITES) company. With five centres situated in main urban areas of the country and equipped with highly qualified on and off centre teachers comprising native English speakers from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, ELS offers a wide range of English as a Second Language (ESL) programmes designed to help students reach their personal, academic and career goals.

We are purely business-oriented and academic-oriented. ELS specialises in English language, unlike many other institutes and cultural centres that offer such courses, says Hussein Hassnaoui, corporate managing director, Muscat Branch, ELS. We are not part of any organisation and ours is not a non-profit organisation or a cultural arm. ELS is an international brand name and we have gained the trust of a large number of people, institutions, organisations, and ministries. We know the requirements and the scope of the industry.

We do not belong to any other cultural or non-profit centres in the world. We take our own independent decisions based on our requirements. We specialise only in English. We do not provide English with other things. There are institutes that provide English with IT, accounting etc. But we are not providing any other thing along with English.

Down memory lane

Although ELS language centres came into existence as the US State Department-affiliated English Education Institute in the 1950s, it became a private centre in 1961. Nearly three million people from over 140 different countries acquired English language skills suitable for everyday communication and for academic study in foreign colleges and universities.

With more than 600 US universities, colleges and career schools recognising ELS graduation as an enrollment alternative to the TOEFL test, ELS helps a large number of foreign students every year to embark on academic studies around the world. Currently, we have roughly 100 centres all over the world including 50 in the US and 18 in the Middle East, says Hassnaoui.

ELS became a part of the Berlitz International group of companies in 1997. ELS recognition was acknowledged by numerous national governments and multinational companies. US educational institutions enrol ELS graduates with ToEFL requirement and leading companies such as American Express, Bank of America, Citibank, Coca-Cola, DuPont SA, General Electric, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Mobil Oil, Nestle, Price Waterhouse, UNICEF and Xerox have employed ELS programmes.

ELS Language Centres is fully accredited by the government-recognised body responsible for oversight of ESL schools (ACCET) and is affiliated with a number of US organisations such as Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET), American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) American Association of Intensive English Language Programs (AAIEP) and Association of International Educators.

Courses on offer

ELS Oman has carefully designed curricula and courses of study to help students develop the language skills and test-taking techniques needed to succeed in TOEFL iBT, the GMAT, SAT, GRE, TOEIC, IELTS or any other English language proficiency exam.

Intensive English Programme (IEP), ELS most popular programme of study, prepares the students for university study in America and other English speaking countries. A popular course among young Omanis aspiring to improve the chances of a better career and education in Oman, IEP focuses on the communicative approach to teach all key language skills- speaking, listening, pronunciation, vocabulary, reading and writing.

ELS has also designed various business and legal English courses catering to the new professional and industrial requirements. English for Special Purposes (ESP) is a special programme for industry professionals. It offers the employers an opportunity to provide their staff with a customised English programme that focuses on the vocabulary and real-life experiences specific to their industry and specialisation.

A multi-level conversation programme and conversation club of ELS gives an opportunity for the students to participate in informal discussions on current events and interesting topics designed to develop spoken English strengths and combat fluency and pronunciation weaknesses. Beside, ELS offers a fun and exciting Childrens and Young Adult English Language programme during the winter and summer months.

Strategic programmes

Oman ELS has a tie-up with many universities and government and private companies. We have prepared foundation courses for many universities. We have a tie-up with Buraimi University and Al Sharqiyah University, says Hassnaoui.
Apart from General English programmes, ELS has prepared university foundation year programmes for the Tourism College and Nizwa University. Besides, we have implemented a joint project with the Arab Open University (AOU) in Muscat which has given us the opportunity to run the AOU foundation English classes in remote areas such as Nizwa, Sohar, and Salalah.

Moreover, ELS programmes have been employed by Nawras, Oman Mobile, Bank Dhofar, Oman Development Bank, Royal Oman Police and several ministries in the Sultanate.

In another major development, ELS Oman became a testing partner with the worlds largest language assessment company, ETS, to deliver the new TOEFL iBT exam. ELS has expanded its portfolio to include a stream of academic programmes to guide students through a multi-level course in order to achieve successful results on this difficult and important exam.

High on optimism

Elaborating on the interest of Omani students in and their enrollment to various proficiency courses in ELS centres, Hassnoui says, Almost 90 per cent of our students are Omanis, though we have students of other nationalities. They are very eager to learn. We are getting a lot of new requests. They believe in the importance of continuous training updating skills and give a lot of priority to improving themselves.

We inculcate in the students the values of open-mindedness and encourage them to adopt and adapt which is very essential in the communication. We also encourage them to learn by themselves, he adds.

Headquartered in Azaiba, Muscat, ELS Oman has an annex in Al-Hail and branches in Salalah, Sohar and Sur.
 

 


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