Impact of Covid-19 on International TEFL Industry

By: Ciaran Maidwell

The number of people obtaining online TEFL qualifications has seen a global increase following the outbreak of Coivd-19, an international survey reveals. Conducted by The TEFL Academy, the leading course provider of teaching English as a foreign language, the survey highlights the impact that travel restrictions and social-distancing measures have had on the global TEFL industry.

“While over 90% of TEFL teachers are not currently teaching abroad, our data suggests that there will be an explosion of travel in the coming months, once global restrictions are relaxed. Sixty percent of those wanting to teach abroad say they are more concerned about job availability than the threat of Covid-19, with only 34% voicing concern about the virus,” says Tom Gibbons, Director at The TEFL Academy.

According to the survey, more than half of the teachers currently holding or studying towards a TEFL qualification began their studies during the Covid-19 lockdown. Of those, 13% lost their jobs due to Covid-19 and are looking to teach online, 45% are interested in teaching English abroad once travel restrictions are lifted, and 47% want to use their free time to upskill themselves.

Job availability shouldn’t be a concern for potential travellers, says Gibbons; “While many schools that offer English as a foreign language have closed down, teacher recruitment is on the rise. Due to social distancing measures, which are set to be in place for the foreseeable future, there will need to be fewer students in each classroom. This means that, if the total number of students stays the same, schools will require more teachers.”

“Despite the shift to online teaching and current restrictions, teaching English as a foreign language is still considered a ticket to the world. The TEFL industry has managed to stay on track thanks to the versatility of the qualification, which has provided a productive way to spend lockdown, a means of securing income during a difficult time, and an opportunity to think beyond Covid-19,” says Gibbons.

Offering accessible, flexible and cost-effective ways to get TEFL qualified, The TEFL Academy provides internationally accredited and regulated online courses. To help teachers understand the current status of the TEFL industry, as well as plan for 2021, The TEFL Academy have put together a comprehensive resource with information around travel restrictions for popular destinations, current trends in the teaching English market and statistics for the growth of online teaching. For more information, visit

Bandile Mathebula

Award wining writer and Journalist. Founding Editor In Chief at Sibizi News. Managing Director at Sibizi Media. Vice-Chairman at Ignite Young Minds SA. I have worked in the media industry for the past 7 years working across different brands and industries.

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