TOEFL sees surge in Indian applicants for international secondary education, ETS data reveals

NEW DELHI: The percentage of Indians appearing in TOEFL to pursue secondary education and certifications abroad has seen a gradual increase over the years while those taking the test for immigration purpose has declined, according to Educational Testing Service (ETS). The Princeton-based ETS, which conducts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE), said the trend reflects the shifting aspirations of the younger demographic.
The percentage of Indian test takers for licensure, certification or to attend secondary school abroad, has gone up from 5.83 per cent of the total aspirants in 2021 to 7.77 per cent in 2022. During the same period, the percentage of Indian test takers appearing in TOEFL for employment or immigration has declined from 8.19 per cent to 7.22 per cent.
Top officials at ETS have confirmed that the trend is being observed since 2018.
The data showed that the percentage of Indians appearing in TOEFL to attend a graduate or postgraduate business programme, a graduate or postgraduate programme, other than a business programme, has increased from 70.84 per cent in 2021 to 71.87 per cent in 2022.
“From our data, we observed a growing trend of secondary education students opting for the TOEFL test. This trend is testimony to the shifting aspirations of the younger demographic, especially in their pursuit of international education,” Sachin Jain, the Country Manager of ETS India and South Asia.
There was a 53 per cent growth in Indian TOEFL test takers in 2021 compared to the previous year. In 2022, the number of test takers saw a 59 per cent rise over 2021.
“There are so many industry reports that talk about the number of Indian students heading abroad hitting 2.5 million in the next three to five years. So that, I think, is a very strong macro push that is happening,” Jain said.
“The second thing is, I think there is a lot more, I would say enablement by foreign countries towards Indian talents…. another big macro kind of pull which is happening right from Australia, Canada and the UK, the big destination markets as we call them like all of them have changed,” he added.
The top cities in India with the highest number of test takers are New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Gurugram, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
Starting July 26, ETS executed a series of changes in the English language proficiency test to create an optimal experience for those taking it. Reducing the duration to less than two hours instead of three and allowing the candidates to be able to see their official score release date upon completion of the test, were among a few of the changes.

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