IELTs fees will be refunded to individuals

Yangyel Lhaden

Royal Institute of Management (RIM) will soon be a full-fledged test centre for internet-based English proficiency test called Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Test (TOEFL IBT).

TOEFL IBT is a substitute for International English Language Testing System (IELTs), which was common amongst Bhutanese aspiring to study and work abroad.

It is remotely controlled by Educational Testing Service based in the United States of America whereas IELTs is conducted in partnership with British Council in the United Kingdom’s sub-agent in Kolkata.

RIM officials said they could not conduct IELTs since March last year as it is paper-based and required examiners to come from India. There were also other protocols such as examination papers should reach the country only two days before the examination.

Officials said that without IELTs exam in the country, Bhutanese was travelling to India to do the exam. “So we had to explore conducting TOEFL,” an official said. “We receive about five calls a day inquiring about IELTs.”

RIM has been working for more than seven months to meet the requirements to register as a testing centre for TOEFL IBT.

An official said they are in the last phase of registration. “We will launch TOEFL IBT this year.”

There are four phases to qualify for the certification process as a test centre for TOEFL IBT, which include requirements to meet technical, facility and staff requirement.

Four officials were also trained and are certified as test certified administration and proctor to conduct TOEFL IBT exams.

Officials said TOEFL IBT was most popular after IELTS and accepted in most English-speaking countries.

An official said it was the responsibility of an individual to crosscheck with universities which English test certificate is required before appearing for TOEFL IBT test. “RIM is only a testing centre.”

Meanwhile, RIM is yet to refund money to about 200 people who registered for IELTs exam on March 7 and 27 last year paying Nu 13,250 fees.

RIM’s IELTs and TOEFL coordinator said RIM was processing the refund. “Lengthy bureaucratic procedures for refund and lockdowns in the United Kingdom (UK) and Kolkata delayed the process of refund.”

She said that while people who paid for IELTs inquired whether the money could be transferred for TOEFL IBT exam, the two tests were completely different and the fees have to be paid differently.

The coordinator said British Council in the UK closed the examination sub-agent in Kolkata and RIM had not renewed the contract with other British Council sub-agents.

She said IELTs was on hold and British Council sub-agents in neighbouring countries were interested in providing IELTs exam. “ We are focusing on TOEFL IBT for now.”

She added when the situation improves, RIM would be testing centres for both IELTs and TOEFL IBT.

The coordinator said information regarding TOEFL IBT such the registration fee and score requirements would be announced officially once RIM completes registration process.

Edited by Tashi Dema