Students facing rejection because of poor English

The University of Wollongong in Dubai advises students to attend courses to prepare them for English exams "well ahead of the tests".

A university has said that nearly half of the applications it has received are "facing rejection" because the students do not have the necessary English-language skills. The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) has advised students to attend courses to prepare them for English exams "well ahead of the tests". Commonly, English-language universities require entrants to have achieved a certain score on the International English Language Testing System (Ielts) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (Toefl).

Sandra Lee, register and manager of admissions at UOWD, which opened in 1993 and is based in Dubai Knowledge Village, said students should begin preparing for the exams "well before" applying for admission. "At UOWD, we received a record number of applications for the autumn intake, but shockingly nearly half are facing rejection because they did not meet the Ielts or Toelf criteria. "A little planning on the part of students could have helped them in getting admission to the university of their choice. Ielts exams at UOWD are often booked out up to two months in advance."

Toefl, which dates back to 1964, can now be taken as an internet, computer or paper-based test, while Ielts was introduced in 1989 and exists in an academic version used by universities and in a training version used, for example, for immigration purposes. The university said if students were denied admission because of a poor Ielts or Toefl score they could retake the exams, provided there was enough time before term started, or apply for the spring intake.

"Students should not take the tests lightly as they are running the risk of being denied admission to a university of their choice for failing to meet the admission eligibility criteria," said Ms Lee. UOWD is one of more than 20 branches of foreign universities based at Dubai Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City, both of which are free zones run by Tecom Investments, a Dubai Holding subsidiary.

Over the coming years, universities currently based at Knowledge Village are expected to move to Dubai International Academic City, which, within seven years, is expected to be home to about 40 universities with a total of 40,000 students.

Published: August 21, 2008 04:00 AM