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Australia IELTS English Test Monopoly to End

IELTS English Test Monopoly to End

Chris Evans OK tests language examiners. A MONOPOLY enjoyed by the English language test IELTS is likely to be broken up.

Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Evans has given in-principle approval for rival tests to be officially recognised for checks of English proficiency when overseas students or workers seek visas. “We’re very hopeful. There’s really no objective reason why TOEFL [the US-based Test of English as a Foreign Language] could not be confidently used in the Australian [immigration] context,” said Eileen Tyson, a TOEFL representative in Australia this month for talks.

In April 2008, education broker IDP Australia Pty Ltd or Universities Australia paid $28.7 million to become sole owner of IELTS Australia Pty Ltd.

Not only has it been a monopoly but what has not been widely publicised is that:

IDP Education Pty Ltd is the largest placement service for international students enrolling in Australian educational institutions with 78 student offices in 29 countries. IDP Education is half-owned by Australian universities and half-owned by SEEK Ltd, Australia’s leading online employment and training company.

4 Responses to “Australia IELTS English Test Monopoly to End”

  1. Are Australian and foreign students being ripped off.

    The administration of IELTS English language testing exam has recently came under review following findings of corruption by the Western Australia Corruption and Crime Commission.

    IETLS Australia is a subsidiary of the US based organisation “Seek” . What concerns me is that IELTS has a legislative monopoly in Australia and the cost of sitting the exam in Australia is fixed at $317 whilst the same exam in the United States costs just $185 (even less in most other countries). Efforts to seek an explanation as why Australian exams cost nearly twice as that of other countries have fallen on selectively death ears. It is incumbent on the Australian Government and the Ministers for Immigration and Education to review the legislative monopoly granted to IELTS Australia. The Australian Government should develop and make available its own English testing system which could be administered independently though the Australian Educational network.

    • I tend to agree, initially some years ago there was a need for a more rigorous international English test vs TOEFL, but since then IELTS has obviously become “coachable” and “monopolistic” while TOEFL has been refined to the point of being more valid, reliable, accessible and economic.

      DIAC and the government have been under pressure for some years from e.g. the non profit TOEFL, institutions, agents etc. to open up the monopoly and allow comparable tests to be used e.g. Cambridge, Pitman, ISPLR (Australian) etc. there is no need to “reinvent the wheel”, but no decision is ever made, and deferred…..

      Of course Seek maybe in need of increased revenues to sustain dividends to shareholders (think share price has been under pressure), but they also have another Australian partner, i.e. Universities Australia (formerly Australian Vice Chancellors’ Committee) under the umbrella of IDP a mostly offshore student placement agency…..now sub contracting to US and UK institutions……

      I hope no related public servants and politicians have Seek shares in their portfolios……

      Don’t ever let anyone tell you that Australian corporations and public bodies could be accused of “conflict of interest”, plus lobbying and exerting undue pressure upon government ministers……

      As a minister of Ceausescu once said, monopolies often lead to corruption….

  2. IELTS Australia’s reply:

    Sent: Tuesday, 31 May 2011 14:08
    Subject: Follow up to enquiry

    Thank you for your enquiry regards the cost of sitting the IELTS test.

    The recommended price of an IELTS test is a fair reflection of the cost to administer the test in each country. The costs of labour and venues vary significantly across the world. These factors are taken into account when developing the local price for an IELTS test.

    IELTS Australia


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