Over 400 students from India have been asked to retake the International English Language Testing System popularly known as IELTS by a Canadian college ahead of their 2019 winter session.
In an unprecedented move, Ontario-based Niagara College has sent letters to over 400 Indian students seeking admission into their 2019 winter session asking them to validate their IELTS scores.
The action was taken after the results of an in-house testing revealed that most of the first year international students lacked the required level of proficiency in English, raising questions over the validity of the IELTS scores they had submitted while seeking admission.
The Star newspaper of Canada reported that at least 80 per cent of the students who had failed to demonstrate the standard language proficiency were from India and had taken their IELTS tests at centres in India managed by Australia-based IDP Education.
“We feel it is very important to be certain that these prospective students have the level of English proficiency that they need to succeed, and we want to do this before they invest significant time and money to travel here to study,” said Steve Hudson, Vice President of Niagara College’s academic and learning services in a statement posted on the college website.
IELTS which is jointly owned by IDP Education, the British Council and Cambridge Assessment English, measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication.
The test which is offered in two formats- Academic and General Training - is accepted by most educational institutions in Canada and also in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).
Warwick Freeland, the Managing Director of IELTS/IDP Education told The Star that “the test is recognised for being fair to all test-takers regardless of nationality, cultural background, gender or special needs.”
He further clarified that all test locations are “rigorously monitored” to ensure they are run in accordance with the set standards.
This is, however, not the first time that inconsistencies have been found in the way test is conducted at centres in India.
Earlier SBS Punjabi had come across at least two 'operators' based in India who were openly promising the desired IELTS score in exchange of money.
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