Nearly 26,000 Nigerians have signed a Change.org petition to end the demand for English proficiency tests from Nigerians seeking to study or work overseas.
“Stop asking Nigerians to write IELTS,” read the petition, which was started by Policy Shapers.
Because English is the primary medium of instruction in Nigeria at all levels of education, the petition calls for an end to international institutions’ requests that Nigerians take the International English Language Testing System.
The group noted in the petition, which was sent to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, that no Anglophone African country is exempt from taking the English Language test despite being a member of the Commonwealth.
Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and ten other countries have been excused from the test, according to the report.
Policy Shapers said it had asked the UK Home Office for the protocols it has put in place to assess English competency in the 18 nations on its list, and that it believes the same should be applied to Nigeria and other Anglophone countries on the continent.
The Home Office, on the other hand, has not responded to this, according to the organisation.
The petition reads, “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.”