Educational Testing Service (ETS), the promoter of the TOEFL test, has decided to provide 25,000 additional places on the Chinese mainland for people taking the internet version of its test, TOEFL iBT.
The additional places will be available from July to December this year, according to China's National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA) on Tuesday, US-based ETS's partner on the Chinese mainland.
"We will offer 14 TOEFL iBT administrations by the end of this year with the support of the Chinese side," said Paul A. Ramsey, senior vice president of ETS' Global Division.
"We are working on several fronts, expanding seat capacity at existing test centers and opening new test centers," he said.
The TOEFL iBT registration website is being monitored to ensure an open, fair test registration process, Ramsey added.
Every year, about 75,000 people take the test on the Chinese mainland, and the number is on the rise as more people seek opportunities to study abroad.
ETS' major rival in the English-testing market in China is IELTS which tested more than 140,000 candidates in 2006, a rise of nearly 40 percent on the previous year.
At present, more than 6,000 colleges and universities in 110 countries rely on TOEFL to measure the English-language skills of their students.
ETS launched internet-based TOEFL test in China's mainland in September 2006.
Most Chinese primary school students start learning English in the second grade, at the age of eight. A total of 200 million Chinese people are learning foreign languages, with English the most popular choice.
(Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2007)