British ELT numbers down 82% due to COVID

A new study from English UK highlights the severe impact that the pandemic has had on the country’s ELT sector this year. The study, which was prepared by industry research specialists BONARD, relies on survey responses from 145 reporting centres (representing 43% of all ELT enrolments in the UK) which were then extrapolated to the entire English UK membership.

Apr 5, 2020 ICEF Monitor

On average, responding centres reported enrolment declines of 82% for the first three quarters of 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. The following charts highlight the quarter-by-quarter decreases reported by English UK members.

The Q3 indicators above are the most significant, not only in the proportionate decline indicated here but also because that period corresponds to the peak summer season. Compared with the 301,631 weeks delivered in Q3 2019, responding member centres anticipate providing a total of just over 53,000 student weeks in 2020 (a collective decline of roughly 250,000 student weeks). Projected over the entire English UK membership, this would suggest a total drop for Q3 2020 alone of more than 500,000 student weeks.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the UK ELT industry has been unprecedented,” notes the study, “and the findings of this survey show a dramatic fall in business…Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the UK ELT sector was relatively well positioned for further growth – the 2019 Student Statistics Report showed that the market had increased by 1% on 2018 in terms of student numbers – a third consecutive increase since 2017.”

This pattern is reflected in the following summary of total student enrolments in British ELT centres from 2011 to 2019, and then for the first three quarters of this year.

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