MPs want Ghanaian students exempted from mandatory English proficiency tests for UK and US universities

MPs want Ghanaian students exempted from mandatory English proficiency tests for UK and US universities

A move has been initiated by Ghana‘s legislature to exempt Ghanaians who wish to study abroad from taking English Proficiency Examinations as a requirement to gain admission to foreign universities.

This issue was brought bare after a statement delivered by the legislator for South Dayi, Rockson–Nelson Dafeamekpor.

Mr. Dafeamekpor was of the view, that being a member of the Commonwealth and English being Ghana’s official language and with our education no one is able to progress beyond Junior High School without a pass in English language, indicating that it was unfair to ask Ghanaian students to write a proficiency examination before being granted admission to schools in other countries especially the US and the UK.

He added that such a system appears to be a means to profiteering for the UK government, citing that it is strange for Ghanaian students, like other Anglophone countries in Africa, to write language tests such as the IELTS, and TOEFL before being offered admission to UK and US schools.

Other legislators who contributed to the statement supported it adding their voice to the fact that Ghanaian students must be exempted from taking such tests while others also want the cost of the exam, often averaged at ₤150 to be reduced.

Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, after the debate called on the Education Committee to liaise with the Foreign Affairs Committee to probe the issue and reveal the circumstances under which Ghanaian students are mandated to write and pass such English Language Examinations before being offered jobs and admissions into tertiary institutions in the United Kingdom.

 A similar campaign in Nigeria, where over 35,000 people signed a petition calling for the removal of the requirement sparked the Ghanaians legislators to also start such a move for Ghana.

According to a  request by the founder of Policy Shapers, Ebenezer Wikina, an open-source policy platform for the removal of the requirement brought a response from the UK Ministry of Home Affairs which said for a country to be recognised as a Most English-Speaking Country, there must be evidence that more than half of the population speak English as their first language.

The letter revealed that there are at least 27 English-speaking countries on the continent that do not meet that threshold.

“We, along with other academic sources, rely on publicly available evidence, such as official census, to make this decision. If additional evidence is required, we may also consult with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development Offices. Based on the information we currently have available, Nigeria does not meet the requirements. This list is periodically reviewed and updated, and new countries are added as they are found meeting the requirements,” excerpts of the letter read.

By: Stella Annan | Twitter @activetvgh

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