In a move to help the British Council regain its footing, its IELTS business in India will be sold to IDP for £130m, on a debt-free and cash-free basis. Once purchased, IDP will be handling all IELTS tests delivered in India, while the British Council employees working for IELTS in India will become part of the IDP team.
Expecting completion of the sale in August, the deal is “customary conditions”. After facing a period of financial challenges during the pandemic, the British Council had been forced to cut down a major number of its language schools since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being one of the most popular English proficiency tests taken for study abroad and migration purposes, Andrew Barkla, IDP CEO, stated that the two expert teams will help make the test-takers feel confident in receiving the best experience while attempting the world-renowned test. He added that the test-takers can work towards acing the test while the IDP team works towards ensuring a seamless and smooth test on the stipulated test dates.
Barkla highlighted the 30-year history and global partnership model of IELTS portrays a “globally standardised quality and integrity processes already built into every centre’s operations”. He also pointed out the possibility of reigniting Indian students global goals, as the agreement will help the organisation move forwards with expert teams, a large geographic footprint as well as a strong strategy. Further, both IDP and IELTS expert teams are capable of helping Indians take the first step towards commencing their global study, career and work ambitions.
As a result of the pandemic, British Council was forced to shut down 44 of the 47 English Language schools, while 195 out of the 223 language test centres were closed. This resulted in the British Council losing out on its main source of income, as per a POLITICO report.
The interim British Council CEO, Kate Ewart-Biggs, emphasised the organisation’s dedication towards the broader British Council services in India. With the sale of IELTS to IDP, the move will help in simplifying and enhancing the customer experience for IELTS, she added. Further, as IDP has been delivering IELTS in India, the high-quality service provided to IELTS customers will remain the same, stated Ewart-Biggs.
In her statement, she highlighted that to achieve their goals on the global cultural relations mission, they had explored strategic options with IDP India in 2020 regarding the English Examinations business. Further, she explained that the sale is expected to help British Council to recover from its financial positioning after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reiterating the organisation’s commitment to continue working with India, Ewart-Biggs highlighted the British Council’s dedication to building trust and understanding between India and the UK, with the help of Arts, Assessment, Education and the English Language.
Concluding her statements, Ewart-Biggs recognised the hard work of the IELTS staff across India who dedicated their lives, tirelessly, to “delivering safe and trusted testing services” every year.
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