The Duolingo English Test reduces barriers to higher education for English learners

Hyderabad, 4th April 2024: In the dynamic landscape of higher education, high-stakes proficiency testing is a must, and the Duolingo English Test (DET) has emerged at the forefront of innovation, leading the charge in redefining English language assessment. With its pioneering blend of advanced assessment science and human-in-the-loop AI, the DET remains steadfast in its mission to democratize access to higher education opportunities for students worldwide.

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India is the largest market for the Duolingo English Test

India stands as the largest market for the DET, with the highest volume of test-takers planning to pursue graduate degrees in fields such as business, computer science, math, and engineering. In 2023, students in India applied to programs in over 83 countries, marking a 9% increase in countries from last year.

Hyderabad emerges as the top city for DET test-takers, reflecting the city’s pronounced demand for international education opportunities, particularly in the United States. The DET’s impact extends beyond urban centers, reaching students in smaller cities and towns, including those in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 7 of the top 25 cities for DET test-takers are in AP & Telangana, with Warangal, Nellore, and Khammam making it to the list.

Tara Kapur, Market Lead, India, Duolingo English Test says, “By disrupting the way English proficiency tests can be taken, from the traditional test-center model, we are unlocking opportunities for thousands of test-takers who may have otherwise struggled to pursue international education. In AP and Telangana in particular, we see a very high volume of students taking the DET, not only from Hyderabad but from a lot of smaller cities and towns, showcasing the need for a more accessible test in the region. This growing demand for the DET year on year reflects a global appetite for convenient, reliable, and affordable English assessment, aligning with Duolingo’s mission to democratize access to quality education.”

The Duolingo English Test around the world

Accepted by over 5000 programs in more than 100 countries, the DET transcends geographical boundaries, offering a universally recognized English language proficiency assessment. From prestigious institutions like the University of Toronto and Imperial College London to the top 25 highest-enrollment universities for international students in the US, the DET’s acceptance underscores its relevance on the global stage. In 2023 alone, the DET was taken in almost 40,000 locations reaffirming its status as a trusted assessment tool for students from diverse locales. Since its launch in 2016, India, China, Brazil, Nigeria, and Malaysia represent the highest test-taker volumes historically, highlighting the DET’s widespread global adoption.

Empowering refugee education:

In line with its commitment to inclusive education, the DET has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to launch the Duolingo University Access Program. Through initiatives like fee waivers and personalized guidance for refugee students from countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan, and Myanmar, the DET is ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder access to education aspirations for students across India and beyond.

Emma McLeavey-Weeder, Lead Strategic Engagement, Duolingo English Test, underscores the importance of collaboration with UNHCR, stating, “Duolingo is proud to endorse the UNHCR’s 15 by 30 pledge. Through this initiative, 25 refugee students from India, Iraq, and South Africa have gained access to world-class education across the globe. Notably, two Rohingya students from India have been granted student visas in Canada, marking a historic first.”

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