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Thursday, December 1, 2022

IELTS: Nigerians query why they should take English proficiency tests

An online petition started by Policy Shapers, an open-source policy platform, advocating for improvements to the policy of foreign institutions requiring English proficiency exams sparked a lot of discussion on Twitter among Nigerians.  

The petition is addressed to Priti Patel, Secretary of the UK Home Office, and has received over 35,000 signatures as of 01:50 p.m. on January 26. 

Should the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) be scrapped or revised? Nigerians have reacted. Nigerians are perplexed as to why they must verify their English proficiency every two years.  

Many overseas colleges need the IELTS as a prerequisite for international students to be admitted.  

While IELTS examinations are costly, with prices more than double the Nigerian minimum salary, the test results are only valid for two years. 

In Nigeria, the average cost of taking the IELTS exam is N83,000 ($200.5) for academic and general tests and N89,500 ($216.2) for UK visas and immigration tests. 

The DELF and DALF competence examinations in French for non-native speakers cost N16,000 ($38.55) and N19,000 ($45.7), respectively, however the certificate is valid for life.  

The UK Home Office did not exclude any of the 27 Anglophone countries in Africa that declare English as one of their official languages from taking the exam.  

Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and ten other nations were spared from taking the exam, according to the UK Home Office. 

The #ReformIELTSPolicy campaign on Twitter, which was also started by Policy Shapers, gained the support of Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who feels that Nigerians, as former British colonies, deserve an exemption from the exam. 

The endorsement came at a meeting with Mary Beth Leonard, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, and the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellows.  

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