Image from IDP’s website

IDP and British Council, the two partners of the IELTS English language test, today announced that British Council will sell its IELTS business in India to IDP for £130 million on a debt-free, cash-free basis, in a deal expected to complete in August.

All International English Language Testing System tests in India will now be delivered by IDP, and British Council employees working on IELTS in India will join IDP.

IELTS, is a popular English language test for study and migration and is recognised by more than 10,000 organisations around the world as an indicator of English language proficiency.

Andrew Barkla, chief executive of IDP, said “By bringing together two expert teams, test takers can feel confident they are getting the best experience possible when taking their world-leading test. Our test takers can focus on preparing for their test as planned, and our team is here to make sure everything goes smoothly on test day. IELTS’ 30-year history and global partnership model means it has globally-standardised quality and integrity processes already built into every centre’s operations.

“This agreement will see us move forward with expert teams, a strong strategy and a large geographic footprint across India. Together we are well-placed to help more people in India take the first step in achieving their global study, work and career ambitions.”

Kate Ewart-Biggs, interim chief executive of British Council, added: “Distributing IELTS solely through IDP in India will simplify and improve the customer experience for IELTS test takers. As IDP already delivers IELTS in India, the high-quality service provided to IELTS customers will remain the same. To ensure we could continue to deliver on our global cultural relations mission, we explored strategic options for the English examinations business with IDP in India in 2020. The proceeds of the sale will enable British Council to improve its financial position following the impact of Covid-19 on our finances.

“Our wider British Council work will continue in India. We remain committed to realising our goal of building trust and understanding between the United Kingdom and India through arts, education, assessment and the English language. We would like to recognise the hard work of our staff across India who have worked tirelessly for many years and especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. It is our leading British Council IELTS teams in India, now transitioning to IDP, who put their heart and soul into delivering safe and trusted testing services year on year.”

Date published: 1 July 2021

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