IELTS: Over 35,000 Nigerians query why they should take English proficiency tests

NIGERIA’S Twittersphere has been set abuzz as netizens question why Nigerians should take the English proficiency tests, also known as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

An online petition initiated by Policy Shapers, an open-source policy platform calling for reforms to the policy of foreign institutions asking for English proficiency tests, generated the buzz with different reactions from Nigerians on Twitter.

The petition, which has been signed by over 35,000 people as of 01:50 pm on January 26, is addressed to Secretary of the UK Home Office Priti Patel.


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Many foreign universities abroad demand the IELTS as a requirement for admitting international students.

While the IELTS tests are expensive, and fees more than double the minimum wage in Nigeria, the test results are valid only for two years.

The average cost of taking the IELTS test in Nigeria ranges from N83,000($200.5) for academic and general tests to N89,500 ($216.2) for UK visas and immigration tests.

In comparison, the French DELF & DALF proficiency tests for non-native speakers cost N16,000($38.55) and N19,000($45.7), but the certificate is valid for life.

Of the 27 Anglophone countries in Africa who list English as one of their official languages, the UK Home Office did not exempt any from taking the test.

However, the UK Home Office exempted citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and 10 other countries from taking the test.

    The #ReformIELTSPolicy campaign on Twitter, also initiated by Policy Shapers, received the endorsement of the Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo, who also believes that Nigerians deserve an exemption from the test as former British colonies.

    The endorsement was received during an engagement with 2021 Mandela Washington Fellows and US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

    The ICIR collated the divergent tweets of Nigerians on the issue. Below are the tweets.

    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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