By John Ikani
Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has thrown his weight behind the campaign to exempt Nigerian students from sitting for English Proficiency tests whenever they apply for scholarships and opportunities abroad.
The campaign with hashtags #ReformIELTSPolicy and #NOIELTSNigeria was one among major concerns which Osinbajo lent his voice to when the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellows in Nigeria had an engagement session with his office and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.
Conceived by Harvard-trained Journalist Ebenezar Wikina, the advocacy against English proficiency tests required of Africans from commonwealth nations is fast gaining momentum with heated conversations in the media.
The movement draws attention to cogent reasons why Nigerians who speak English as an official language should be exempted from sitting for the exploitative tests which cost about $210 and expire every two years.
Nigerians deserve concession – VP
Lending his voice to the campaign, Osinbajo said: “I entirely agree that as an English-speaking country, we should be beneficiaries of some concession as opposed to being forced every two years to take the same test especially if one has passed it before.
“This is something that we should really work on. I will ask the Minister of Education as well as the Minister of Youths and Sports exactly what is going on about this.”
We’ll keep conversations going and sustain pressure – Campaigners
Speaking with Heritage Times, campaigners of #ReformIELTSPolicy and #NOIELTSNigeria led by Wikina said they are working towards engaging the Ministries of Education, Youth & Sports, and Foreign Affairs to engage the UK Home Office on the matter.
Wikina who is also the founder of Policy Shapers, added that he and 50 other campaigners have written to the UK Home Office requesting for the measurement parameters to prove that 51% of Nigeria’s population (and the other 20+ English-speaking countries in Africa) speak English as a first language to be excluded from sitting for English Proficiency tests.
See screenshots of the mail sent to the UK Home Office below.