English Language Teaching Statistics
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Are you curious about about the status of teaching English as a foreign language around the world? Do you want to know if there is a demand for TEFL teachers, or how many TEFL teachers there are, or what the current trends in teaching English? Then stay tuned for some English Language Teaching stastistics.
In order to get a sense of where the industry stands at this moment, and in response to news organisations and media requests, in 2020 The TEFL Academy conducted an in-depth analysis of the industry as a whole.
*If you are a journalist and are interested in English Language Teaching Statistics please do not hesitate to get in touch with us directly for more information
Alongside our analysis we conducted a survey of qualified and aspiring English language teachers. Through this process we have compiled the most up-to-date information on the English language market as a whole.
In this report, we’ll cover the following points:
- The value of the English Language Teaching market
- Language travel and student mobility
- Trends in the EFL market
- Shift to online teaching
- How COVID has impacted TEFL teachers’ journeys
- Attitudes towards teaching abroad in 2020 and beyond
- Teaching English online in 2020 and beyond
1. The value of the English language teaching market
An impressive 20% of the Earth’s population are English language learners— that’s an estimated 1.5 billion people. It’s the world’s most commonly studied foreign language and it is spoken in more than 100 countries. No wonder there are so many TEFL jobs available across the globe. As the world population grows, the number of people looking to study English increases steadily.
In the UK, the ELT market creates £1.4 bn annually by 550,000 international students who travel to study English. This market creates 35,000 jobs for TEFL teachers in the UK.
In South Africa, the English teaching market was worth R870,198,781 (US$65,104,587) in 2018.
2. Language travel and student mobility
Teachers and students travel around the globe to teach and learn English. With the ease of travel and technology advances, it has become easier to connect with people around the world.
As the world becomes a more mobile population, instances for travelling for work and pleasure have increased. There were 4.2 billion air transport journeys in 2018 alone— that’s a 263% increase from 2000.
Education and travel has been widely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. At The TEFL Academy, we wanted to find out more about TEFL teachers’ thoughts on moving abroad concerning the current situation.
3. Trends in the ELT market
Growing globalisation and a drastic rise in online learning and education continue to grow the English language market. A survey conducted by Wall Street English surveyed individuals’ thoughts on learning English as a foreign language, which revealed that 73% believed that learning English will become a necessity in the coming years. In comparison, 65% of these participants thought that the English language helps build relationships around the world.
The language service industry has seen higher growth as world cultures, economies, and the population becomes increasingly interconnected. The global language market has doubled in size since 2009, amounting to a 46.9 billon U.S dollar industry in 2019.
An update in 2022:
According to recent research, by 2029 the English language learning market looks set to reach $69.62 billion globally.
As of October 2022, English is the most studied foreign language in the European Union. The under-18 age group is estimated to be the biggest section of the language learning market by the end of 2022. Similarly, Asia-Pacific is estimated to account for the largest language learning market geographically. As these English teaching statistics show us, there is clearly still a demand for TEFL teachers.
4. Shift to online teaching
The effects of COVID have had a major impact on the ELT markets around the world. With the sudden closure of schools, institutions had to devise new ways to deliver classes.
COVID left many looking for new revenue avenues and working from home has become a requirement for most. The closures of in-classroom schools did not lower the need for TEFL teachers around the world, but instead schools have switched to online learning methods.
Online class enrolments have increased across educational institutions. The amount of students taking at least one online class is now 32% — the highest seen yet. Higher educational institutions are moving towards more online programs and at the beginning the stages of planning Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
“Over half of the net is in English, meaning the new users will have to attain English skills to make full use of information that can be found there.”
-”The rising number of live streaming courses in rural China is expected to drive the growth of the ELT market in China”
–For instance, Busuu (a UK-based online language learning platform)m saw its revenue triple in China and Italy during lockdown. DuoLingo similarly saw an increase in users by 66% in the US, 107% in France, and 109% in Spain!
Online education was on the rise before COVID, but we have seen in the previous months a rapid growth in the industry. There are hundreds of online teaching jobs available online, and the demand for online teachers continues to grow while the travel restrictions remain across the globe.
5. How COVID has impacted TEFL teachers’ journeys
We’ve heard from many of our students and TEFL teachers whose original plans were changed these last few years. Maybe yours have, too? If so, these statistics and findings from our recent survey will definitely make for some interesting reading and some might even surprise you. Some countries have re-opened schools for TEFL teachers currently in the country.
However, many foreign teachers have moved to their home countries during the pandemic which has left many schools without English language teachers. Now that they are re-opened, the schools cannot fill all of their positions due to closed borders. Some employers have resorted to recruiting teachers to teach remotely until foreign teachers can travel once again.
We are following these transitions around the world and providing you updates with the latest developments via verified sources such as the WHO’s Covid advice page.
We asked TEFL teachers the question ‘Has COVID impacted your TEFL journey’?
Has COVID impacted your TEFL journey?
We asked if responders had begun their TEFL journey or become TEFL qualified before COVID reached their country of residence. This was almost an even split but the majority of people (52%) said that they started their TEFL journey after COVID became a feature of their lives.
Did you start your TEFL journey or become TEFL qualified before COVID reached your country of residence?
With our world in this precarious and uncertain place it finds itself in at this time, we wanted to gauge what concerns people had with regards to teaching. Covid itself is surprisingly not the biggest concern for TEFL teachers today, with the availability of jobs and travel restrictions being the most pressing worries.
What concerns do you have, if any, with regards to teaching at this time?
We asked those who have just completed or purchased a TEFL course, what motivated them to do it. The two biggest motivating factors were using the free time that some people experienced during lockdowns and also those who were looking to embark a journey of teaching English abroad.
If you have just completed or purchased a TEFL course, what motivated you to do it now?
Are people still motivated to travel abroad (when it is permitted to do so in their region) despite the macro factors? The answer was overwhelmingly yes! New and experienced TEFL teachers are still keen to travel the world.
Are you interested in teaching abroad once travel restrictions are lifted?
6. Attitudes towards teaching abroad in 2020 and beyond
While people are still motivated and hopefully able to travel soon, how many of our respondents are actually currently abroad? Well, not that many for now. Only 7% of the total respondents are teaching abroad in 2020.
Are you currently teaching abroad?
As we have already seen above, the sentiment for travel is strong despite the fact that an overwhelming majority are not currently teaching abroad. So where do people who are currently studying to become TEFL teachers want to teach? Well the answer to that has two parts. Firstly, teaching online is the most popular choice when put as an option, followed closely by teaching in Europe and Asia.
If you are still studying, where are you planning to teach?
There are a multitude of factors and variables in this COVID era that will influence a person’s decision of where to travel and teach.
If you have taught or are planning to teach abroad, why choose that country?
Does the current rate of COVID in a country that you may teach in concern you?
Despite the overall openness to the online teaching revolution from our respondents, which we detail below, when faced with the scenario of living abroad, 67% said that they would prefer to teach in a classroom as opposed to online.
If living abroad, would you prefer to teach online or in the classroom?
When do you plan to move abroad?
8.Teaching English online in 2020 and beyond
The world has become much more au fait with digital communication and work generally in the past few months. Our survey results in total really drive home the point that qualified and aspiring TEFL teachers are for the most part ready and willing to take up online teaching jobs.
Are you planning to teach online?
We asked if people are aware of the online teaching platforms available to teach English online to which only half responded ‘Yes’. The good news is that there are many platforms out there like Education First, iTalki and Palfish.
The confidence that our respondents show when it comes to their ability to deliver an online lesson is really excellent to see. 75% of people said that they would have no problem adapting their lessons into online content.
Flexible schedules, the comfort of home, and no commute or extra travel expenses are some of the responses that we received when asking what are perceived as the advantages of teaching online. Many other respondents spoke about the benefits of having the option to work from anywhere in the world, including home; being able to teach a wider range of students (different abilities, different nationalities, different reasons for learning English), and being able to work regardless of international travel restrictions.
What would your wage (per hour) expectations be for teaching online?
The vast majority of survey respondents were conscious of the fact that wage expectations are dependent on the country that the person is teaching in. Here are some average expectations in a range of countries/regions;
USA – $20.00 – $30.00.
UK -£15.00 – £20.00.
EU – €15.00 – €20.00.
South Africa – R200 – R300
Do you feel that online/blended learning in EFL teaching (and education in general) will become the dominant delivery method post-COVID?
As a more existential point we posed this question to our respondents to see what they are expecting. A huge majority of 81% believe that in the post-COVID world, online teaching will be the dominant mode of delivery for EFL teaching and education more generally. Interestingly, as of 2022, blended learning is estimated to account for the largest share of the English language learning market.
As we have all come to learn in the last number of years, everything we do and know is subject to change. But, according to TEFL statistics, some things are not changing: the demand for learning English and the demand for TEFL teachers! The TEFL Academy’s market-leading TEFL courses are truly the best way to get qualified to teach, in whatever way you choose.
Note: This blog post was originally published in 2020 but has since been updated.
The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2023
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- processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of you or of another natural person;
- processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or the exercise of official authority vested in the controller; and/or
- processing is necessary for the legitimate interests pursued by us or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.
We collect and use personal information to offer people information, products and services. This policy will apply in all locations where we operate to all forms of information and to all systems used to collect, store, process or transfer information.
With your prior agreement, we may share your data, such as name, email and CV, with potential employers.
- ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is committed to:
- performing privacy impact assessments to protect the privacy and rights of its customers and employees
- protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information it collects, stores, transfers and processes in accordance with law and international good practice, and meeting its legal requirements and contractual obligations
- explaining why it needs personal information, only asking for the personal information it needs and only sharing personal information within the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD and with other organisations as necessary or where the person concerned has given their consent
- allowing people to request access to the personal information it holds on them and to complain if they believe their information has been mishandled
- not keep personal information for longer than necessary
- taking measures to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals whose personal information may be transferred to countries with differing data protection laws
- ensuring that actual or suspected breaches of information security are reported and investigated
- assessing and measuring the maturity of its information security controls annually
- applying these standards to its supply chain and delivery partners.
We will provide adequate and appropriate resources to implement this policy and will ensure it is communicated and understood.
- We also use other organisations to process your personal information in order to carry out services on our behalf. We use them to:
- Provide customer service, surveys and marketing
- Personalise our services
- Process payments
- Carry out fraud and other legal investigations
Where we use another organisation, we make sure that your personal information is protected and remains in our control.
- We also, in certain situations, share personal information with government bodies and law enforcement bodies. Where we do share personal information with these types of organisations we’ll make sure it’s protected, as far as it is reasonably possible.
We’ll use your personal information to send you direct marketing and to better identify products and services that interest you. We do that if you’re one of our customers or if you’ve been in touch with us another way (such as registering to attend an ELEARNING FUTURES LTD event).
This means we’ll:
- create a profile about you to better understand you as a customer and tailor the communications we send you (including our marketing messages);
- tell you about other products and services you might be interested in;
- try to identify products and services you’re interested in; and
We use the following for marketing and to identify the products and services you’re interested in.
- Your contact details. This includes your name, gender, address, phone number, date of birth and email address.
- Information from cookies and tags placed on your connected devices.
- Information from other organisations such as aggregated demographic data and publicly available sources like the electoral roll and business directories.
- Details of the products and services you’ve bought and how you use them.
We’ll send you information (about the products and services we provide) by phone, post, email, text message, online banner advertising. We also use the information we have about you to personalise these messages wherever we can as we believe it is important to make them relevant to you. We do this because we have a legitimate business interest in keeping you up to date with our products and services. We also check that you are happy for us to send you marketing messages before we do so. In each message we send, you also have the option to opt-out.
We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.