New Delhi: TOEFL test takers in India have grown by 59 per cent since international travel resumed following suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Corresponding with the trend, Indians accounted for 12.3 per cent of the total test takers globally in 2022, up from 7.5 per cent the previous year, showed data from the Princeton-based ETS which conducts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
According to data exclusively accessed by PTI, 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.
"The numbers are clearly indicative of the rising aspirations of Indians in exploring foreign shores. The growth in Indian test takers is in sync with the rise in the number of Indians moving abroad for studies or immigration purposes.
"The trends show that the interest is no longer limited to the US or UK but the destination landscape has widened," Sachin Jain, Country Manager, ETS India and South Asia, told PTI.
He asserted that the number is expected to go up further with countries like Singapore, Australia, France, and Sweden receiving an increased volume of score reports from Indian test takers.
"Canada's Student Direct Stream (SDS), an expedited study permit processing programme for international students who plan to enrol in one of the nation's post-secondary designated learning institutions, has recently approved TOEFL as an accepted test for the purpose. This will definitely increase the test takers from India because so far only one language test was accepted," Jain 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.
TOEFL is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enrol in English-speaking universities. The test is accepted by more than 12,000 institutions in over 160 countries and is universally accepted in popular destinations such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and by over 98 per cent of universities in the UK.
The top US institutions where Indian TOEFL test takers apply are New York University, Columbia University, Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, Arizona State University, and California Institute of Technology, among others.
Similarly in the UK, Indian test takers applied to The University of Hertfordshire, The University of East London, The University of Greenwich, Kingston University, The University of Leicester, The University of the West of Scotland and the University of Northampton, among others.
From 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.
"TOEFL is a 60-year-old test... it is the oldest most widely accepted test for academic English which checks all the boxes of the aspirants. We have revamped the test in a totally different 'avatar' based on what we gathered as clear feedback from Generation Z. They wanted a faster, to-the-point test... so we have provided it without tinkering with the credibility of the test," Jain said.
According to the data shared by the Education Ministry in Parliament, Indians going abroad for higher education touched a six-year high in 2022 at over 7.5 lakh. India surpassed China to become the country with the most international students in the US in 2022.