The test, which is now accepted in 300 schools, is being used in the Liqaat employment initiative with the Ministry of Labour, which helps match Saudi job seekers with employers. More than 10,000 exams have been administered in the first two quarters of 2012 with a further 5,000 to come by December.
Perry Akins, chairman of iTEP, told The PIE News: “All of the iTEP [exams] have been gaining market share in the region. The iTEP business exams have been utilised extensively within dozens of multinationals operating in Saudi Arabia including Microsoft, McDonald’s, Saudi French Bank…
“The Liqaat initiative is particularly exciting because it is one of several recent instances in which iTEP was chosen over the competition by a large government entity.”
Launched in 2008 to inject competition into the English testing market , iTEP offers USPs of affordability (it costs US$89), flexibility (it can be scheduled in three days) and “comprehensive and precise” scoring.
Akins claims the test already rivals major providers such as TOEFL in “some markets and industries” while being popular in Brazil, China, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and the US. It is also seeing “rapid growth” in India, Indonesia, Japan, Turkey and Vietnam.
“In less than five years, the test has grown to become a market force. Over 100,000 iTEP exams have been administered since it was created,” Akins said.
“In less than five years, the test has grown to become a market force”
He said there was some way to go before the test rivalled the likes of TOEFL in the college and university market. However he claimed its iTEP SLATE – aimed at young learners – had become “the go-to exam” for young learners, while the iTEP Business English exam was winning clients “at a rapid rate”.
He said he hoped the Liqaat programme would inspire similar government tie-ups in other countries. “We believe Liqaat’s active approach to solving the employment problems countries all over the world are facing is exciting, and hope to see it emulated elsewhere.”