English-language testing provider Pearson has opened a new centre in Islamabad, Pakistan, adding the PTE Academic test to its portfolio of qualifications on offer in the country.
Pearson partnered with JNS Education to open The Peach Testing Centre, where test-takers will have access to the computer-based English test.
“Pakistan is a leading source country for international students”
The test uses AI technology to ensure fair results and has an average turnaround of 1.2 days. It will be offered alongside international GCSEs and international A-levels.
Vice president of product management & delivery, Dan Doyle, told The PIE News that bringing the PTE Academic test to Pakistan was the ‘logical’ choice.
“Pakistan is a leading source country for international students, it’s regularly in the top 15 countries for most of the major receiving countries, so in that respect makes a lot of sense,” he said.
“In some respects it is a bit of an anomaly us not being there. We’ve had a lot of demand from test-takers contacting us directly to actually ask us when we are going to be offering the test in Pakistan. That’s really the reason for why we are beginning to offer it in the country.”
Doyle explained that the reason Pearson has not already opened up in Pakistan was that it had to prioritise offering the test in other countries.
“So we’re now in about 54 countries and we expect substantial expansion. It was really a question of, we couldn’t offer the test everywhere, and because it is such a high stakes exam, we have to prioritise.
“There wasn’t any particular reason over and above the fact we had to prioritise globally. But now is the right time for Pakistan,” he added.
Doyle said that Pearson has a robust security program that sits behind the test with a large team of security professionals.
He expressed his confidence to the extent which the company can deliver the test, safely and securely in Pakistan.
“In the high-stakes assessment in general, as our competitors would also tell you, there are a number of risks associated with the delivery and those aren’t unique to Pakistan,” Doyle explained.
“Pakistan has a certain reputation, but there are risks in every country in which we operate and we have a program to manage those risks,” he added.
Pearson is set to expand and aims to offer the test in all of the major source countries for international students and migrants for work. The goal is to operate in the major cities of these countries.
“I hope that our test takers are pleased that we are offering the test now. We certainly would have intentions to expand provision in Pakistan beyond the existing location as well in time.
“Ultimately we hope our test-takers have a good experience,” Doyle added.