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India to have its version of TOEFL

delhi Updated: May 11, 2010 01:04 IST
Swaha Sahoo
Swaha Sahoo
Hindustan Times
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With the demand for English language skills increasing across the country, India has come up with its own standardised English language test on the lines of TOEFL and IELTS.

The English and Foreign Language University in Hyderabad has formed the All-India English Language Testing Authority that will conduct the first standardised test on May 30.

“Both TOEFL and IELTS are tests needed by the US and the UK respectively for students and professionals wanting to study or work in those countries. It is not taken widely by Indians or even those wanting a proficiency certificate for the Indian market,” said Vice-Chancellor Abhai Maurya.

The tests will have three levels — Class X, graduation and post-graduation — and students will be awarded proficiency certificates.

“We are already in talks with the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) to conduct an English proficiency test for Class X pass-outs since they will have no board exam from this year,” said Maurya.

At Rs 1,500 the test is much cheaper than its foreign counterparts, which cost around Rs 8,000 per sitting. The test will include reading and writing and subsequently test speaking and listening skills.

The testing authority is also talking to University of Cambridge, which conducts various assessment tests worldwide.

The demand for English language has been on the rise in India. According to the Annual Survey in Education Report, 2005 — conducted by NGO Pratham — 16.4 per cent of rural children surveyed attended private English-medium schools. The figure jumped to 26 per cent by 2008.

Government schools have also woken up to the importance of teaching students the Queen’s language. Seven states, including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Punjab, have tied up with the British Council, India, to train their English teachers.