By Sylvia Felix
Policy Shapers and 72,000 supporters have petitioned the British government over Nigeria’s inclusion in the Majority English Speaking Countries (MESC) list.
The organization said the petition was borne out of the fact that Nigeria was colonized by the British and speaks English as its first language. Also, it’s raised concerns over the high cost and life span of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
To buttress this, the Founder of Policy Shapers, Mr. Ebenezer Wikina said subjecting Nigerians to write the English proficiency exams to be certified English proficient is not ideal.
Ebenezer while speaking on episode 290 of Hit 95.9 FM Calabar topical radio program – The Dialogue With Agba Jalingo, which airs Sundays, 6:15 pm to 7 pm said it is marginalization on African English speaking countries and also an avenue to make money.
His words: “I don’t think there is any benefit whatsoever. The only benefit is that they (the British government) use it to make a profit because the exam currently costs almost N90,000 and the result of the exam which is the craziest part of this conversation is that it expires every two years.”
Affirming the position of Policy Shapers, a Business Consultant based in Tennessee, United States of America, Mr. Charles Akwari posited that apart from the capitalist interest in the proficiency exams, African countries are being marginalized compared to their counterparts.
According to him, “It is not just the money aspect, it is some kind of insult to Nigerians because most of us have traveled out and we have gone to these countries that are exempted from writing these exams and one Jamaica. I can’t understand them; I can understand the British and American very well but I can’t understand Jamaicans, how they speak their own English and these people are exempted from writing these exams. We Nigerians, people from Ghana, Kenya that are proven to be highly skilled when it comes to the English language are not exempted at all.
“We feel like it comes not just in a place of capitalism; it comes from a place of marginalization in the sense that we are being taken for granted. At some point in time capitalism will eventually play a role because IELTS has over time been shown as a high gross exam across the globe. The last report shows that they made £460,000 which is billions of Naira.”
Mr. Charles went on to state that the highest takers of IELTS are from Africa. “So they are making money from this exam and that is why it is only valid for two years to keep that returns process. It is on a high scale, you write an exam for your Masters and after two years it expires, maybe you want to go for a Ph.D. you have to write it again after you have studied in that country for two years; is it not enough to say it is over?” He questioned.
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