As a result of the invasion of Ukraine, English language testing providers have announced a pause in activities in Russia. One member emphasised that the acts taken against Ukraine are “antithetical” to global learning and cultural exchange, as well as what international education stands for.
ETS, which administers the TOEFL, GRE, and TOEIC exams, said in a statement that “our hearts and thoughts are with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their freedom, their country, and their lives,” and that it is donating to UNICEF to support its work with affected children and families in Eastern Ukraine and neighbouring regions.
“ETS is suspending testing in Russia and Belarus,” the testing provider said.
IDP, which co-owns IELTS with the British Council and Cambridge Assessment English, announced a halt to IELTS testing in Russia in response to “the situation in Ukraine and the sorrow this has visited upon innocent people.”
“When the time is right, IDP will resume its work to support IELTS test takers in Russia who form part of our international education community,” it said.
“We can confirm that the IELTS partners are not accepting entries for IELTS tests in Russia,” an IELTS spokesperson told The PIE.
Password English Language Testing has “halted sales in Russia and Belarus till further notice,” according to The PIE. Pearson said on March 5 that it would cease the sale and distribution of its products and services in Russia and Belarus. “We are pledging a £1 million gift to NGOs that provide humanitarian relief,” it stated. Trinity College London, an exam board, has also criticised the “devastating” invasion.
“At Trinity we have decided to suspend collaboration with Russian and Belarusian entities that have any connection to us while we await further developments,” its CEO Erez Tocker said on March 8.
Furthermore, he noted, “national boundaries are increasingly dissolving” as the use of remote, online testing grows. Duolingo, the language learning app that delivers the Duolingo English Test, has stated that it has blocked all monetisation in Russia and Belarus, implying that it is not paying taxes to the Russian government and is not selling users a service that it may be unable to supply in the future.
ETS also stated that it “strongly supports the mounting calls for a stop to the invasion of Ukraine’s sovereign nation.” At this time, the exact physical state of the offices in Kyiv is unknown. The most pressing problem is a large number of professional colleagues and students who are still stranded in the city in life-threatening situations.
Global learning and cultural exchange are promoted by international education. Recent measures against Ukraine are diametrically opposed to this and go against all that international educators stand for. Early last month, ranking compilers, along with other multinational education organisations, made operational changes in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A number of them stated that they would no longer “promote Russian universities or Russia as a study destination.
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