It has always been a policy for Universities in the US and other European countries for international students who are seeking admission to write and pass an English proficiency test before they are offered admission. Higher Education Institutes in the United States acknowledge the Economic and Educational advantages of international students. Even though non-native English speakers (NNES) provide proof of English language proficiency for admission missions, many battles with the English requirement. IELTS and TOEFL are English language proficiency examination that is mandatory to be taken by international candidates who are willing to study or work in a country where English is the dominant medium of communication. The most prominent countries where IELTS and TOEFL are rated high as a prerequisite for university admissions are the UK, New Zealand, the USA, and Canada. The exam primarily assesses the ability of test-takers to communicate in the four basic English language skills which are listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
In discrepancy, there are disadvantages to this kind of testing. The fact that this test will be done once every year means that it cannot be a real determinant of a student’s academic abilities. According to the No Child Left Behind Act, each state is assumed to create its own method to assess the performance of every student. In line with that mandate, some states have intentionally set a lower margin than other states. Effectively, a student could perform excellently in one state but when compared to the national aggregate, he or she may not be that much proficient.
As a result of this, a lot of foreign students have to write this examination multiple times in order to be offered admission. This proficiency test costs about 75,000 Naira per sitting and is valid for just 2 years.
A Nigerian student Ebenezar Wikina succeeded in making one of the Universities (Nexford University) change its policy. This said young man gained admission to study for a business degree but was denied admission because he needed to present the proof of his result to indicate he passed the English proficiency test.
The young man decided he would rather forfeit the degree and went ahead to verbally challenge the University.
Ebenezar has been an advocate against the English proficiency test that is being required of Africans from commonwealth nations since 2015.
In an exclusive interview he granted legit.ng he said he had never written the English proficiency test and was strongly advocating against it for the past 6 years.
He thought that he sees no reason why countries like the African Nation be made to prove that they could speak English. He continued by saying that our system was already built on English and that Nigeria was colonized by the British the real owners of the English Language.
He also added that our first language of contact aside from the mother tongue was the English language. So he doesn’t see any reason why it should be a factor to be considered before offering admission to foreign students.
Ebenezar opined that our schools, churches are all operated using the English Language as a medium of communication. So why should it be a thing of major consideration to want to test one’s proficiency in the language?
Ebenezar also stressed that The UK Home Office has stated that a country is qualified to be listed as an English-speaking country if 51% of its population speak English and Nigeria has over 51% English-speaking citizens, but the US Home Office has not been engaged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to tackle this.
Ebenezar is the founding father of Policy Shapers world’s first open-source platform for Policy ideas led by young people like him. He is also coordinator on advocacy at PIND a corporate organization established by chevron.
To his credit, he has bagged himself quite a number of awards from notable organizations and got nominated for an award in 2016, and 2018 for future awards.