The UAE is one of the world’s fastest adopters of computer-delivered IELTS testing, according to the British Council. IELTS - the high-stakes English language test - introduced its computer-delivered version earlier this year.
The UAE now ranks second place globally for the adoption of the new format, behind China in the first place and in front of India, placing third.
To meet the surge in demand, the British Council has opened six computer-delivered IELTS test centres across four cities in the UAE - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Al Ain. In fact, Dubai has one of the highest conversion rates of computer-delivered IELTS, with 24 percent of applicants opting for the new format since its launch.
According to the British Council, the increasing demand for English proficiency testing in the UAE correlates with government initiatives such as Vision 2021, which aim to diversify and grow the economy. English is recognised as a gateway skill for future careers, a critical factor in facilitating business across borders and a way to empower the pool of Emirati talent by providing them with the necessary tools to compete in a global workforce.
While the UAE has the highest English proficiency score of the GCC countries, scoring 47.27 on the EF English Proficiency Index, it still has significant room for improvement when compared to global benchmarks. English training and vocational upskilling will be essential for the transformation of the country into a knowledge-based economy.
Deep Adhikari, Director Examinations Gulf South at British Council, commented, "Computer-delivered IELTS is already increasing convenience, mobility, and choice for all test-takers in the UAE and we are delighted that this new format has been welcomed. We are dedicated to supporting the development of the English language across the country, providing youth with skills for the future."