Over 25,000 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 think tank, 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.
Meanwhile, the UK Home Office has exempted 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.
Many foreign universities, who are either in English speaking countries or have courses taught in the language, demand the IELTS as a requirement for admitting international students.
However, Policy Shapers argue 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.
Speaking with The PUNCH, Founder of Policy Shapers, Ebenezar Wikina, stated that the campaign became necessary after observing that many Nigerians had lost opportunities because they could not afford the cost of the test despite having tertiary education in the English language.
He added, “While advocating for this as a team, we found that there were many more young Africans who felt strongly about the issue, so we set up a task force with over 70 volunteers and we have all been working to push the movement together. Everything came together organically. At the moment, our petition has over 25,000 signatures with more than 2,000 comments in support of this advocacy movement.”