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Larry Madowo laments ‘recolonization’ with English tests for foreigners

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an exam which a foreigner intending to migrate to countries where English is the native language has to take.  These countries include the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America and Canada. The purpose of this migration might be to work, love or study in the aforementioned countries.

According to the official IELTS website, one’s ability to listen, read, write and speak English is assessed and one is graded on a scale of 1-9. IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council; IDP IELTS; and Cambridge University Press & Assessment. It is globally recognized by more than 11,000 employers, universities, schools and immigration bodies including 3,400 institutions in the USA.

In Kenya, the test costs between Sh22,000 and Sh32,000; and while it is highly accredited, CNN International’s Africa Correspondent from Kenya, Mr Larry Madowo, is of the opinion that this test is just a form of recolonization by the British on its former colonies.

“First, they impose English on you with colonization. Then you pay them to ‘test’ if your English is good enough to be worthy of their country. Is there a word for that in English?” asked Mr Madowo on Friday as he shared a photo of a British Council IELTS test underway.

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His sentiments elicited a barrage of comments on the implications of the English exam as sampled by Nairobi News below:

“It makes no sense at all. Like seriously, in Kenya English is taught in schools, it’s also a national language. Why Kenyans are subjected to that makes no sense. And just incase they forgot, we are also a British colony so our syllabus is adapted from theirs.. in Swahili we call it ukora na wizi (criminal and thievery),” said Lilian Mumina.

“It really sucks, imagine having done all your studies in English from grade one to achieving your master’s degree, but in the event you need to further it to say PhD , they’ll ask you to prove it, really? But that’s not all, you bow down and decide to do the test . You get you good band but they tell you it expires in two years. Explain to me how your knowledge degenerates! If that’s the case, then all professions should have their accredited degrees and certification redone after sometime because as they assume it degenerates,” opined Thaddeus Kiplimo.

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“I don’t see anything wrong in this, not at all. For the longest time we have continued to scream “slavery” “daylight robbery” . We will continue to moan about it. But truth is that, these are ways the west makes money. How is Africa making money? What are we charging other countries? What value are we providing and putting a cost to? What are we selling so that others can buy? We shall continue to complain until we begin to make changes within our own communities,” countered Chijioke Anyacho.

“Finally someone said this. I have 5 offers to stuff abroad. 4 of which require an English test that will cost me an arm and leg. I decided to just not pay. The other offer requires quite a lump-sum to just study. I might just study in Kenya,” said Caroline Kimani.

“We need to teach Swahili and African heritage and charge them to see if they are worthy to be among us too,” said Robert Ogada.

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