New insights: trends shaping the future of global ELT
3 January 2024

New insights: trends shaping the future of global ELT

In December, our insight partner BONARD released a new research report on trends shaping the future of global English language teaching.

The report examines patterns emerging in 2023 across the eight major ELT host destinations resulting from uneven pandemic recovery rates. It also highlights three emerging trends that will impact 2024 and beyond. 

Read the report for the full insights 

2022 and 2023 recovery rates

According to the report, in 2022 the UK recorded the second-highest volume of student weeks globally, with Australia taking first place.

Globally the sector recovered 63% of its pre-pandemic student week volume.  Malta was the only destination to outperform its 2019 levels, with the other source countries having a long way to go to reach pre-pandemic student numbers and weeks.

Based on the year-to-date information available, the report estimates the global sector will reach 90%–95% of its 2019 market volume in 2023. However, it notes that the recovery will vary across the different destinations.

Our own QUIC data indicates the UK ELT sector will have reached ~80% of its 2019 market volume in 2023.

Key factors shaping global recovery this year included:

  • slower recovery in the junior market
  • strong recovery in Australia 
  • staff and accommodation capacity 
  • visa backlogs and refusals
  • increased costs.

Shifts in global source markets 

Latin America showed the greatest rebound in 2022, and the initial data for 2023 points to continued growth, mostly to Australia and Canada. 

Japan outperformed China to become the largest source market in Asia, largely as a result of ongoing travel restrictions in China. A rebound in Chinese group travel is expected in the summer of 2024. 

Italy, the largest source market for junior students, lagged behind other EU markets in returning to the 'new normal'. Although the market has continued to recover in 2023, it is still trailing other European source markets and has not reached its pre-pandemic volumes.

Emerging trends shaping English language education worldwide 

The study also identifies three significant emerging trends shaping English language education worldwide that will continue into 2024 and beyond. These are:

  • the improved quality of in-country English language education in many source countries
  • the rise of transnational education (TNE)
  • the growth within Asia of Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines as intra-regional ELT host destinations.

Adapting to these changes and capitalising on opportunities will be crucial for the sector's growth and success.

Read the report for the full insights 

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