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PTE Academic expands into Iraq, Nigeria

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic is continuing its rapid global expansion with new test centres in Nigeria and Iraq, and has plans to open more test centres in 20 markets this year including Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. It will be working with a UK university in partnership overseas too.

Gate to the palace of the emir of Zazzau in Kaduna, North Nigeria, where one of Pearson's new test centres is located. Photo: Shiraz Chakera

"We have put test centres at the heart of our growth strategy, ensuring that PTE Academic can be accessed all over the world"

“There’s a blockage in the system – and we’re working with Pearson and local universities to resolve that”

“We have put test centres at the heart of our growth strategy, ensuring that PTE Academic can be accessed all over the world,” a Pearson spokesperson told The PIE News.

The education giant is working in Iraq to establish a country-wide network of centres answering demand for English testing, developing partnerships with universities and the HCED and KRG HCDP government scholarship bodies.  “[They] have indicated a clear demand for PTE Academic”, said a spokesperson.

And Pearson has signed an MoU with the University of Leicester to establish test centres worldwide, beginning with a centre that will open this year through a tripartite agreement with the University of Kufa in Iraq.

“There are currently very limited opportunities for English language testing and training [in Iraq],” explained Roger Smith, director of the university’s English Language Teaching Unit. “In order to study in the UK, Iraqi students need a minimum language requirement, both for the universities and for visa purposes,” he said.

“There’s a blockage in the system – and we’re working with Pearson and local universities to resolve that.”

The first of Pearson’s test centres in the Kurdish North of Iraq will be formally announced during Levant Education’s UK Education Tour in March, attended by 20 UK universities and Kurdish Regional Government Ministers and education officials.

Meanwhile, having seen steady growth in Nigeria, Pearson has activated four new test centres in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Owerri since November 2013.

A partner in Nigeria attributed the success of its Port Harcourt centre in part to a suspension of the TOEFL exam in the country

British Canadian International Education Ltd (BCIE), one of Pearson’s partners in Nigeria, attributed the success of its Port Harcourt centre in part to a suspension of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam in the country.

US-based exam provider ETS, which administers the TOEFL and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), announced in November that it had suspended testing for both qualifications indefinitely in Nigeria owing to “security concerns”.

“PTE Port Harcourt centre was launched on 21st November 2013 to cater for the teeming applicants from the southern part of Nigeria who need to meet their basic English language requirements to study abroad,” a BCIE spokesperson said. “With the ban on TOEFL in Nigeria, our centre has witnessed tremendous patronage.”

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