© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
IELTS: Should English proficiency tests be cancelled or reviewed? Nigerians react
REACTING to a report published by The ICIR on Friday, Nigerians have faulted the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for being “exploitative” and “unfairly burdensome”.
The report had identified certain odd qualities about the IELTS, an English proficiency test jointly managed by the British Council, IDP Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English. The test is often written by non-native English speakers seeking to migrate to or study in countries where English is the main language.
Nigerians are required to write the test to gain admission into universities or obtain a visa to European countries even though they are from a country where English is both the official language and medium of instruction in schools. IELTS has, however, been more difficult to pass than a simple measure of comprehension and speaking skills, even for native speakers of English.
The tests are also expensive, with fees more than double the minimum wage in Nigeria; yet the test results are only valid for two years.
Checks show that the UK government’s earning from conducting IELTS, N228 billion, is nearly 1700 per cent higher than the amount spent annually on beneficiaries of its Chevening Scholarship, estimated at N12.7 billion.
Responding to a summary of The ICIR‘s findings shared on Twitter, some Nigerians criticised the IELTS and called for either its cancellation or modification. Others seized the opportunity to call attention to the poor standard of living in Nigeria, inadequate quality of education, and flaws of local examination bodies.
Here are some of the comments:
Going by this stat, it shows the IELTS test is one of the instrumentalities of our former colonisers to keep the exploitative relationship. For obvious reasons, testing for English proficiency should not come with such financial and academic burden. — Kayode Oyeniran @Kay_niran