26,000 People Sign Petition To Stop English Test For Nigerians

Over 26,000 people have signed a petition on change.org to stop foreign institutions from demanding an English proficiency test, the International English Language Testing System, from Nigerians.

The petition, which was initiated by a youth-led open-source platform for policy ideas that address the world’s most pressing challenges called Policy Shapers, was addressed to the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, Priti Patel.

According to the reports, no country in Africa, out of the 27 who list English as one of their official languages is on the Home Office list of countries exempted from taking the test.

As Nigeria’s language of instruction at various levels of education is primarily English, the petition calls for an end to foreign institutions’ demands for the International English Language Testing System from Nigerians.

Meanwhile, the UK Home Office has expected Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and ten other countries from those who would require the test.

Policy Shapers said it had requested modalities the UK Home Office put in place to measure English proficiency in the 18 countries on its list as it expressed the belief that same should be applied to Nigeria and other Anglophone countries on the continent.

However, there has been no response as regards this from the Home Office, the group claimed.

It further argued that a test that costs more than three times the minimum wage and the result expires in two years, should not be required of Nigerians since the country is predominantly English speaking.

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The petitions read;

“Why should Nigerians be made to write English language proficiency examinations that cost more than thrice our minimum wage ($210) and the result expires every two years?.

“The UK Home Office has a list of 18 countries whose citizens are exempt from writing an English proficiency test (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.) when they seek to study or migrate to the UK, including; Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Malta, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, to mention a few. 

“However, it will interest you to know that there is no Anglophone African country (out of 20+ English-speaking countries on the continent) on the Home Office list. Not Nigeria, not Ghana, not Kenya, not South Africa. Not Even One. Despite the fact that these African countries are former British colonies and belong to the Commonwealth! Why?.

“The Home Office told the BBC, who did a report on this issue, that for a country to be listed on its IELTS Exemption list, 51% of its population must speak English as a first language. 

“Fair enough right? Since October we have written to the Home Office as a collective of campaigners requesting for the modalities it put in place to measure English proficiency in the 18 countries on its list as we believe same should be applied to Nigeria and other Anglophone countries on the continent.

“More than three months after our initial email and several follow-up emails (plus tons of social media posts), the UK Home Office has refused to respond to this urgent request.”

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