Athabasca University is latest Canadian varsity to exclude Nigerians from IELTS

THE Athabasca University in Canada has excluded Nigeria from its list of countries requiring students to provide proof of English proficiency before admission.

This follows a request by Olumuyiwa Igbalajobi, a Nigerian postdoctoral research fellow in Canada, who called the university’s attention to a list of select universities from Nigeria that meet the institution’s English language requirement.

He also argued that English is the official language of business in Nigeria, hence no need for further tests.

Established in 1989, the International English Language Testing System, IELTS, has risen in popularity, endorsed by over 10,000 organisations in more than 140 countries.

The average cost of writing IELTS is $283 as of 2021. This figure is arrived at by dividing the average of all English Language testing revenue by the total number of IELTS tests conducted in 2021.


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“It’s bad to request IELTS from African countries colonized by the British.

“I have written about 12 universities to date. I will continue to identify universities with stale lists and those who wouldn’t recognise Nigeria as an English-speaking country,” Igbalajobi said.

Agreeing to his demand, Athabasca University deleted Nigeria from its list of countries to write IELTS, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and other English tests before enrollment.

    Athabasca University joins the list of universities in Canada that has delisted Nigeria from its list of non-English speaking countries after Igbalajobi started sending emails to different schools.

    On June 7, the University of Alberta, Canada, removed Nigerian students wanting to study in the university from its IELTS requirement following a request by Igbalajobi.

    In acknowledging his email, Alberta university noted that Igbalajobi’s email “surfaced an important issue of discrepancies between ELP exempted countries as listed across Canadian post-secondary institutions”.

    It noted that it will work with its U15 partners to make the reference list consistent but will “in the meantime, add Nigeria to the list”.

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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