Thursday 01 July 2021


IDP and British Council, two partners of IELTS, the world’s most popular high-stakes English language test, have announced today that British Council will sell its IELTS business in India to IDP. 

This means that all IELTS tests in India will be delivered by IDP.  

Under the terms of the agreement, IDP will acquire 100 per cent of British Council’s India IELTS business for £130 million on a debt free, cash free basis.  The terms also outline that British Council employees working on IELTS in India will become part of the IDP team. The transaction is subject to customary conditions with completion expected to occur in August.  

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is the world’s most popular English language test for study and migration and is trusted by more than 10,000 organisations around the world as a secure and reliable indicator of English language proficiency.  

One of the key benefits of this sale is that customers will see continuity of the test they know and trust.  

Andrew Barkla, CEO of IDP, said this agreement marks the start of a new chapter for IELTS in India.  

'By bringing together two expert teams, test takers can feel confident they are getting the best experience possible when taking their world-leading test,' Mr Barkla said.  

'Our test takers can focus on preparing for their test as planned, and our team is here to make sure everything goes smoothly on test day,' he said.  

'IELTS’ 30-year history and global partnership model means it has globally-standardised quality and integrity processes already built into every centre’s operations. 

Mr Barkla said this agreement will help many people in India reignite their global goals.  

'This agreement will see us move forward with expert teams, a strong strategy and a large geographic footprint across India,' he said. 

'Together we are well-placed to help more people in India take the first step in achieving their global study, work and career ambitions.'

Kate Ewart-Biggs, Interim CEO of British Council, reiterated its commitment to its broader services in India.  

'Distributing IELTS solely through IDP in India will simplify and improve the customer experience for IELTS test takers. As IDP already delivers IELTS in India, the high-quality service provided to IELTS customers will remain the same.'

'To ensure we could continue to deliver on our global cultural relations mission, we explored strategic options for the English examinations business with IDP in India in 2020. The proceeds of the sale will enable British Council to improve its financial position following the impact of COVID-19 on our finances,' Ms Ewart-Biggs said.  

'Our wider British Council work will continue in India. We remain committed to realising our goal of building trust and understanding between the United Kingdom and India through arts, education, assessment and the English language.'

'We would like to recognise the hard work of our staff across India who have worked tirelessly for many years and especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our leading British Council IELTS teams in India, now transitioning to IDP, who put their heart and soul into delivering safe and trusted testing services year on year.'

- ENDS -  

For media enquiries, please contact: 

IDP: Rhys Ryan, Porter Novelli, +61 427 227 719 

British Council: Hayley Willis, Senior Media Manager. +44 (0)7542 268 184 

British Council: Aastha Jindal, Head of Communications, India, +91 9873 76 7744 

For test takers: 

Information for test takers is available here.

About IELTS  

IELTS (the International English Language Testing System) is the world’s most popular English language test for work, study and migration. 

More than 10,000 organisations trust IELTS as a reliable indicator of true-to-life ability to communicate in English. 

IELTS assesses a test taker’s English language proficiency across four skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. 

Delivered on either a computer or paper, IELTS is the only high-stakes language test recognised for migration across Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. 

With a focus on human conversations, IELTS was a pioneer of four-skills English language testing more than 30 years ago. IELTS continues to set the standard for English language testing today. 

About IDP 

IDP is a leader in global education services. As an Australian listed company, we have operations in more than 50 countries and our websites attract 100 million visits a year. 

We specialise in combining human expertise with our leading digital platform to help people get accepted into their ideal course, take an English language test or learn English in our schools. 

Our teams are side by side with our customers every day, at every step from course search through to starting their dream course or career. 

Our data insights are relied upon by organisations around the world to help ensure decisions are informed by the diverse needs, challenges and motivations of students. 

Most of all, we are proud of our people. It is our trusted people and processes which help our customers turn their study or English goals into a launchpad for their career. 

About British Council 

British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.  

Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We received £179 million in grant funding from the UK government in 2021/22. . 

British Council has been present in India for 73 years. In India, British Council creates opportunities for young people to succeed in a global environment by:  

  • supporting higher education, knowledge and research exchange
  • accelerating student mobility between India and the UK
  • enabling high quality education in schools with English language training for teachers, educators and students
  • driving innovation and upskilling in the Arts and Culture sector
  • providing secure access to a wide range of international examinations: professional exams, university exams and English Language tests.