UK Home Office Insists on Nigerians Taking English Proficiency Tests

UK Home Office Insists on Nigerians Taking English Proficiency Tests

Nigerian students who wish to travel abroad in furtherance of their studies are usually required to take English proficiency tests.

However, Nigerians are beginning to wonder if it is right that they have to take the tests and this was shown with the over 60,000 signatures on a petition on change.org

The petition was to put to a stop the requirement of English proficiency test for Nigerians before they can study abroad.

However, the UK Home office has made it clear that that will remain the status quo till they are convinced otherwise.

Ebenezar Wikina who is the founder of Policy Shapers, an open-source policy platform, reached out to the UK Home Office to show its criteria for determining countries that should take the English proficiency test.

A lot of universities overseas require students seeking admission to pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

However complaints from Nigerians are equally stemming from the fact that the fees paid for the IELTS tests are on the expensive side.

In fact, what is been paid is actually more than double the minimum wage in the country. This is coupled with the fact that the results are only valid for two years, after which you will have to take another one if you still have plans of studying abroad.

The UK Home office weighing in on the matter stated that Nigeria does not yet meet the requirements needed for it to be included on the Majority English Speaking Country (MESC) list.

To be on the MESC list, they stated that there must be evidence that more than half of the citizens of the said country speak English as a first language.

Presently, there are 27 Anglophone countries in Africa that are not regarded as English speaking countries by the UK Home Office.

Countries that are not required to take the IELTS include Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as 10 other countries.

The UK Home office stated that the evidence relied upon to make this decision include publicly available evidence for instance official censuses.

They also rely on other academic sources and when required will have consultations with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

They went on to add that the list of countries exempted from taking the tests are reviewed periodically and necessary updates made. However, from all evidence available to them, Nigeria is yet to meet the needed requirements.

Ebenezar Wikina pointed out that the campaign will not stop, but that stakeholders are going to have a meeting to decide on the next step to take in the light of the response gotten from the UK Home office.

Remember that the #ReformIELTSPolicy campaign on Twitter was initiated by Policy Shapers and has gotten a lot of support and endorsement including that of Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of Nigeria.

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