India is emerging as one of the key markets for PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic after China. London-headquartered Pearson, the largest educational houses globally, has entered into the proficiency test in 2009 through PTE Academic, a computer-based test for international students aimed at assessing their proficiency in English language in an academic environment.
In an interview with Itishree Samal, PTE Academic global sales director Carl Rhymer shares how India is a priority market for PTE and its plans for the Indian markets.
Q. Being a late entrant in the English testing market for international students, how has been the response for PTE Academic?
A. Pearson forayed into the English language testing space through PTE Academic in 2009. Over the three years, we have been seeing a tremendous growth. Last year, we grew more than 500 per cent over the previous year in terms of students appeared for the tests globally. Now, our tests have been accepted across 3,300 programmes and universities including Harvard Business School and Yale University.
Q. Where does India stand in your global map?
A. There is a growing interest in international education among Indian students and currently India is ranked the second largest market for us after China. Along with these two markets, we are also seeing markets like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka growing as major markets for PTE Academic.
Q. How big is the market opportunity in India?
A. Every year, roughly around 200,000 students appear for these tests in India for both higher studies and immigration. The Indian market looks positive, we expect a tremendous growth in demand for the tests in the Indian markets. Competing with the global leaders, our focus will be to make the tests more accessible and bringing in more technology in the tests so that the reach will be wider and on a secure platform.
Q. What are your growth plans for India in the coming years?
A. Currently, we have 10 language testing centres across the major cities. We are planning to expand our operations to the Tier II and Tier III cities with a focus to make it accessible for all. We are also looking at having strong partnerships with institutions and education agencies to ensure easy access and turnaround for its language tests and to increase the reach of our tests. The English language test is expected to have a good share of the Indian education market in the coming years.