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Pearson opens language test centre in Iraq

In a further sign of growth in Iraq’s nascent study abroad market, global education company Pearson opened its first language testing centre in the county last month in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Pearson opened its first language testing centre last month in Erbil, IraqPearson opened its first language testing centre last month in Erbil, Iraq

“By delivering PTE Academic, we can support these students with a secure and fast English language test"

The centre will deliver the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, which is one of the tests commonly used to gauge the language ability of overseas student visa applicants.

Emma Stubbs, Senior Vice President of Pearson’s Language Testing division, said: “The opening of this new test centre supports our objective of providing the PTE Academic test whenever and wherever it is required, so extending our secure English language testing services to institutions and students in Iraq is an exciting milestone for us.”

The centre is being run in partnership with Britannia Educational Services – a leading British-Iraqi language training provider. Rasheda Zaher-Draey, joint founder of Britannia, said the centre would play an important role in supporting young people applying for scholarships through Kurdistan’s Human Capacity Development Program in Higher Education (HCDP) which helped 1,500 Iraqis study abroad last year.

“By delivering PTE Academic, we can support these students with a secure and fast English language test, so that they can apply for visas and programmes at universities to gain access to valuable opportunities to help them have a better future,” Zaher-Draey said.

The opening reflects the reflects the increasing engagement between international education operators and the Iraqi student market, as the country moves towards stability. This month the Iraqi government agreed to expand scholarships to the US, and British operator Levant uncovered significant scholarship-related opportunities in November. As for testing outfits, IELTS already operates through the British Council in Erbil and Baghdad, while TOEFL operates in both cities as well as in Basra.

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