When the British Council Vietnam announced the postponement of all IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and Aptis tests on Thursday, students aspiring to study abroad, were dismayed by the sudden change.
The only explanation given by the British Council Vietnam was that “the situation is beyond our control and affects all foreign language tests.” In the statement released Thursday, they said that the resumption of testing is subject to approval by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), with whom they are working closely to restore operations as soon as possible.
The British Council Vietnam is one of only two licensed organizations in the country duly authorized by the MOET. The other one is IDP Vietnam, whose representatives released the same announcement to its students later that day. They expressed their sympathy to the inconvenienced students, especially those whose plans to go abroad will be delayed.
The MOET will need more than cooperation from the agencies organizing IELTS tests in the country.
At the time that the British Council Vietnam released the indefinite postponement of the foreign language proficiency tests, the education ministry directed relevant local departments to strictly monitor and manage how foreign language tests are executed.
Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language proficiency exams have also been temporarily stopped.
The lack of strict management of the test organizers affected the rights of the takers, the MOET said. The ministry instructed education departments to only allow organizations and individuals to hold foreign language tests when they have permission or renewal issued by the ministry. Violators will face legal sanctions.
Additionally, the MOET urged local authorities to strictly monitor groups and individuals organizing these tests. That way, the authorities are guaranteed the enhanced management and verified affiliation and organization of foreign language tests.
On a global average, 2-3 million people take the IELTS annually. The system is comprised of four skill tests: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing, and is used for academic, professional, and immigration reasons. IELTS is recognized by over 11,000 educational facilities in over 140 countries.
In Vietnam, IELTS signages are everywhere, and almost anybody can just apply and take the tests. It costs around VND4.6 million (USS$185).
However, it is extremely important if you wish to study in an English-speaking country. Almost every program offered by universities would accept a score of 7 or higher, and a good IELTS score can also help apply for different visas faster.
Besides studying abroad, IELTS also helps if you plan on migrating to another country. The test is accepted by governments in more countries than any other English language test as a requirement for permanent residency. The governments of the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand accept IELTS results.