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Why Is The English Language Skill Of Nigerian Graduate So Appalling?

Why is the English Language skills of Nigerian graduates appalling? Is the fault of teachers, parents, government or students? Is it the lack of sufficient Internet time to prepare their resumes?

We received hundreds of application for job positions in our start-up company within 24 hours of publicizing them. Without even bothering to look at the suitability of the applicants for the positions, 90% of the CVs( yes 90% so far) deserve to be disqualified because of poor English Language skills:

[list]

[li]bad grammar.[/li]

[li]Spelling mistakes.[/li]

[li]Beginning sentences and proper nouns with small letters.[/li]

[li]Not following application instructions.[/li]

[/list]

If our microscopic experience is anything to go by then, the comments that the quality of Nigerian graduates are nothing to write about may be sadly true.

Uche k. Oparah

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157 answers

Are courses in Nigerian universities taught in english. Because nigerian graduates are the worst speakers of the queen's language.

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Normally I like to be a silent bystander on these posts but I must confess this has been one of the most hilarious that I've read on NL for a while.

Walahi it has been humorous. There have been some very good points that quite a few people have posted here and perhaps a few silly ones. I won't name names to protect the innocent and the guilty.

I'll add my own 0.02c, we're living in a very competitive world right now. It takes a lot to stay at the forefront of the pack. You would be doing yourself an injustice if you didn't do all that's in your power to ensure you have a good shot at competing as effectively as you can.

At the end of the day, if you can speak/write English well, you will benefit; if you can't you alone will also bear the brunt. It's all about choices and what you decide to do with them. Whatever a man sows that will he also reap.

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Like you for example.

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Wel wel, i think' the enviroment, nd ppl u associate with ( ur peers) could be d major cause. But av in mind tht som pple can speak bt wouldn't knw hw 2 write.

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what our universities are teaching undergraduate has nothing to do with improving their language. a true student should individually study so as to improve their skill. they are not to be spoon fed anylonger. it is left to the individual to embark on a total man development

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YOUNG MAN, BETTER REMOVE THE LOG IN UR OWN EYES B4 U REMOVE THE TINY PARTICLE IN ANOTHERS EYE. 4 VERILY I SAY UNTO U; WITH THE SAME MANNER THOU JUDGE OTHERS, SO SHALL THOU BE JUDGED.

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uchek or whatever u call urself, better remove the log in ur own eyes b4 u remove the tiny particle in anothers eye.

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Actually we as Nigerian tends to spend the whole of our time speaking our indigenous language .

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At last this topic has been noted and discussed. I myself being a Nigerian living in the UK have found the use of grammar by Nigerian graduates quite appalling, yet there is this claim that the Nigerian standard of Education as being very high, which by the way is only recognised by Nigerians. I do believe as others have commented, that this may be due to Nigerians buying their certificates at different levels, Lecturers and teachers sleeping with female students and giving them high marks in their exam papers, poor quality of teachers and lecturers and the whole issue of fraud and mismanagement in our government system and our educational institutions.

So don't let us deceive ourselves any longer OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IS NOT AS GOOD AS WE THINK IT IS, SO LETS MAKE A CHANGE.

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Ermmmmmmmm they are people (even Companies) who could take care of your CV,

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too bad. i keep askn my self same que without any answer

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THANKS 4 UR OBSERVATIONS.

BUT IN REAL ANALYSIS, IT IS A CASE OF THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK.

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That is wat I want us all to understand.

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Having a distinction in English Language doesn’t mean you are more equipped to be a speaker in the house of parliament, and then you mentioned pronunciation; well,so practically you’re saying that an Indian with an Indian accent would be at disadvantage because he/she couldn’t pronounce a word with the queens accent. This is another draw back on the Nigerian economy and an increase of unemployment. Tell me which role does English language play when securing an engineering position, or an analyst or an accountant?

I live in England, the best person gets the Job and not the person who could waffle his way through a job interview, they are so many people working in Europe, in high powered roles but their English is hideous, but as time goes on, they learn or improve, but these people are valuable to their organisation because of their skills to carry out their job is more important to them, other than how good their English is. Indians, Asians, Eastern Europeans etc. all have very good jobs despite the fact that their ability to speak fluent English is below the acceptable level, but its not an issue.

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http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/arts/article01//indexn2_html?pdate=290609&ptitle=At%20Forum%20experts%20says%20literature,%20mother-tongue,%20bedrock%20of%20culture

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NO NO NO

Its an ability,  far from a Skill

An ability to speak it fluently

An ability to read it,

So if English Language is a skill, then Hausa language is also a skill.

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Exactly. All these excuses are so pathetic

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Na Xpo dey cause am jo.

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PLEASE RESOUND IT TO THEIR HEARING!

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Sometimes, we tend to overdo, critiquing people for their mastery of a foreign language, when the natives sometimes make mistakes when expressing themselves.

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Is English Language a SKILL?

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I believe the educational system in Nigeria, sad but true, is bad so to say. It has always been a two-way phenomenon. As much as I will not like to dispute the fact that some graduates have poor English Language skills, I can't totally blame it on the educational system. I believe the society in which most of these people have lived and still live has a greater influence on them than their School's social circle. However, I do believe their School has a cogent role to play in their usage of the language. Nevertheless, we have some graduates who I believe to be brimming with good use of English Language even better than their teachers -- I have come across a few myself.

On the other hand, we have some brilliant high School kids who are far better, in all ramifications, when compared with these supposedly "bad" users of English Language. I'd like to predicate my belief on the fact that most of them are more centralized on educational articles and don't bother to get involved with other non-educational texts. Nigeria has produced very good graduates.

@Poster

I wonder which company you dey work for wey be say you sef no fit write better English. If you no fit speak or write the language beta how you go fit sabi the one wey correct pass your own!!! Abegiiii no dey post this kind thing again! GREEN WHITE GREEN FOR LIFE!!!!

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Abegi. Nobody holy pass. even The English make mistakes. So what's the big deal? Rubbish.

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I think spoken English depends largely on upbringing, more than what people learn in school. Some people learn their native tongue first, and when they finally learn English, they can't get that accent away. Personally, I can't say that I learnt English in school as much as I learnt it at home.

Plus, as someone said, a lot of people only limit themselves to academic texts. Some of them have wrong English, and even when they have correct English, you can't use academic diction in some kinds of conversations.

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@Poster

Your English Language usage skills are questionable. You sounded so sanctimonious and felt like you were all righteous about your whole assertions. Newsflash!! You're a joke to the language itself. You could have had someone in your "office" vet your post before displaying your utter foolish attempt at parading your ignorance about Nigerian education.

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Abeg, as far as we understand each other, no problem. Besides, English language is another man's property, and not ours.

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@okokomeji

Issues of correct dictions, Whites never stressed that your sentences must be always correct as far as you are communicating and making sense. I have heard a lot of white Americans making silly blunders in the public, both common people and celebrities. One program like that, they used to interview white folks on the streets, especially down south, they would tell you they can't speak good English; because they didn't go to school and nobody laughed at them.

Just like you see professional African Americans speaking Ebonics; “we was, they was, the things was, “ I bet you would laugh at them,  Main while, they could speak fluently than you as far as American society is concerned. No matter how sound is your queens English, you need to start from the scratch when you get to America. Other people can testify to this.

Thank you, please tell them. I am not different and guilty of same thing, I speak ebonics most at time doesn't mean I cannot communicate or did not do excellently well at school. In fact, my team and I participated at few business plan competitions both in DC, FL and other statewide club competitions. In all, we was inducted into the Greek Honor Business Society, and most Nigerians I know of graduate Magna and Summa cumlaude, and its the same guys that tutor people in maths, and engineering with their broken English like people claim. That is why I said in my previous post that we are not experts and I can be guilty at times and English and communication is what you define it to be.

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@okokomeji, omo you guys did it big ooooooo, me on the other hand was just walking all over time square taking pictures with nothing really to do after leaving wall street during the day.

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@poster,

I am only worried about polishing my Yoruba, complete with the accent and you are talking about English.

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Thank you for the translation but you see, my sister $real too is concerned. But am concerned about her expression too!! Anyway, Nigeria is still a force to reckon with despite the hard economic times there and i still do enjoy visiting.

Now when i come in August i will be visiting a Chief in Kalabar. I guess you call them IGWE. Well Nairaland is truly African.

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@cystein,

Wahala-Problem.

Oga- @MUZBO.

Ashawo-Prostitute.

Pikin-@poster.

Kaikai- I don't gerrit!

Odeku- Role model of those who say they don't need english.

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Hehehehe,

I think i should start with you as an example. The following are the reasons why Nigeria is where it is today, as far as the queens language is concerned.

1. The use of pidgin everywhere from Parents to teachers to the neighborhood.

2. Influx of local terminology to express stature and emotions. E.G., Wahala, Oga, Ashawo, Pikin, Odeku, Kaikai,

Now thats where the problem is. Just find the English names of such and it shall be well.

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There is a huge difference as the U.S classifies it; speaking, reading and writing. While most students speak fluently and read perfectly, how often in times do we make mistakes and errors in writing? The true fact is that we make errors quite often, even unknowingly. Speaking and reading falls under (communication), and writing falls under (composition). Writing components require structuring and grammatical punctuations, and that's why we have Microsoft word for spell check and punctuations. Nevertheless, the reverse is the case for several other individuals whom English is a Second Language (ESOL), or English as a Foreign Language (EFL), so you see how TOEFL comes to play.

Besides writing errors, how effective do we use punctuations? Most people would agree with me that quite a huge number of graduates who claim to be writing experts still make same mistakes. When are we supposed to break a sentence with a comma, where and when? Where do we use question mark, how often should we hyphenate, where and when? How do you address references, perhaps quotations, and the list goes on. I mean shouldn't we all consider this as part of errors? I think we should, and I am not perfect, but I write using MLA standard and format and also I proof read my work. I encourage everyone to do the same also because writing errors is not uncommon.

I believe the message the poster was trying to pass accross was that he was not claiming to be the expert, however, certain graduates who can neither communicate through speaking, reading nor writing, hence, they posses poor communication skills. Although he made few mistake, at least you can read the content of what he wrote. Would you compare him to someone who could barely write half the content he wrote with misplaced, incorrect words? Answer, NO.

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I guess you did not proof-read your post because if you did,then you are one among the bandwagon of the joneses.

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hehehe, y free english lesson?

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I believe the poster is not talking about a couple of spelling mistakes but serious grammatical errors. Everone makes mistakes, but come on, if u r a graduate, u need to be able to (when needed) speak english and put together a paragraph without dropping grammatical bombs. And i dont think u can blame anybody but urself at that level.

Many ppl have said that English ppl are worse. I can assure u dat u r talking about school dropouts. Any university graduate can in the least put together a CV, Covering Letter and Application Form without mistakes. I mean most applications are made online and r filtered by programs. Trust me, with many of them, if you have more than 2 mistakes (can be anything from missing a letter to not using Capitals when u should) then u should not even have bothered. Your application will not see the light of day.

I also noticed (and aint surpried) that many ppl decided to scrutinise the posters grammar. Lets be serious here. We are not talking about writing a post on Nairaland (Last i checked NL aint paying me). We are talking about Job applications. If u cant write good English then, when can you? I mean with spell checkers and even getting other ppl to do your application for you. And i also know that u guys know that we aint talking about the odd "not obvious" mistakes. Recently i was in a business center one day that and the clerk was typing up a proposal for a guy. The proposal was in excess of 2 mill but the guy spelt "miscellaneous" "missalenus" (or something like that. It was so bad it took me a few seconds to realise what he was actually tryna spell) And the clerk did not even try to correct it or use spell check.

I think many job seekers that have not been able to secure decent jobs, should take a good look at what they r bringing to the table and how they can improve that. I also think it helps to speak english more than pidgin or your native language at least until u get 2 a decent level. And look for ppl that will correct u cuz many ppl wont.

By the way i welcome corrections to my grammar. Ill never turn down a free English lesson

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Yet another heap of applesauce. . . . . . .Can u hear yourself?

How exactly is my language going to put foot on me table?

It is people like you who go about with fake beliefs that speaking good English is not necessary once you are an Engineer/Technician.

You don't have a prayer. . . . . .Engineers also have to submit theses, design projects, solve problems, and communication skills.

Who writes the manuals on your mobile phones and other electronic devices? Lawyers and Poets?

There's no excuse. . . . . .every Nigerian must be able to write/speak in English Language(It's the official language).

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It is becos dem didnt have good tisha.

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please members what is the cost of land at badagry and its environs

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so where did you throw Nigerian pidgin English in this your post?

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Wavemasta you have written well

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The poster has spoken abi written the truth and most of us know, even if he made minor mistakes. i make them too sometimes i refer to my dictionary in my computer just to straighten things up. I spend time at the romantic section all you need to do is go there and read some posts. its just sad. I guess the emphasis should be ''some graduates'' and this is true. You need to hear some people speak, and even write i mean u'd be amazed. Some people are here talking ''what about Asians'' Is English language their lingua franca?

i think so many people dont read simple books they are not interested. i blame some of the so called primary schools we have around too. My cousins in primary school keep making silly silly mistakes calling a girl ''he'' mixing plural and singular. ''i dont wants it'' That's how all the nonsense starts.

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Its appalling these people who say "English is not my mother tongue". I knew many chinese friends who were good academically, but could not express themselves well in english or in an interview, and were losing out big time. Some of them were carrying around pocket translators.

When you go for an interview in an international company and get knocked out because you cannot speak good english, we will see posts on NL saying that there are no jobs in this country or that its all about "connections". Or better yet, posts putting down people with good grades from school,

Thats when you will hear people saying "It's just the grace of God".

You don't know you are in a race and only the person with the most skills will get to the top.

Stay there and say "it's not my mother tongue".

The OP made typing errors, instead if you to look at his post as a wake up call, all of you are criticizing him.

The hell most of us experience is caused by ourselves over 90% of the time.

No one is saying, do not speak your mother tongue. But your mother tongue is not going to serve you in todays market place. Except if you are Sunny Ade, and are going to get a grammy.

I won't be surprised if I get some bad remarks, but what's my own,

I correct and help foreign students here with their English, when I speak, people are shocked, especially when they know I am Nigerian, now when their impression of Nigerians will be improved favorably.

When I am with my people, if I choose to, I can flow in my language, no big deal,

Be deceiving yourselves and making excuses.

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why didnt you tell the Brits this before stowing away to Tottenham?

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dear mr man,u have written and as well imagine but ur own case critical,complex above all amend urs.

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Who cares about English spelling mistakes and grammar? We shouldn't be speaking the language anyway.

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@olalekan1, I don't gerrit! Please quote me so that I gerrit. What local 'dalect'

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A lot of blame has been placed on the tutors . . . without a doubt, they're partly to be blamed . . . but not totally . . . the so-called graduates . . . parents/guardians . . . and every instructor at every point of an individual's developmental stages - all share a large proportion of the blame.

Education is a life-long exercise . . . it begins right from birth, continues for a lifetime, and ends in the grave . . . a lot of parents assume that it is unnecessary to educate a child of 0-5 years . . . the assumption is that he/she is too young to understand anything at that stage . . . that's a blatant lie . . . they can, and they do grasp a lot of things at that stage - languages, values, norms, etc.

Medical doctors would tell you that a mother can communicate with her unborn child whilst still at the foetus stage.

However, the most important person in your life is YOU . . . whether dealing with personal or interpersonal issues . . . no person can do it for YOU . . . by the same token, education is all about self-development . . . by constantly reading, writing, and speaking . . . from infanthood through adulthood . . . these skills are not acquired overnight . . . if a person decides not to develop these skills as an infant, it's impossible for a lecturer to shove them down his/her throat as an adult.

Our reading culture as a people, a nation, and even the world at large; is near extinction. People watch TV and listen to the radio now more than they read . . .

The internet, media, etc are all good sources of information/education . . . but when talking about spoken or written English . . . nothing can take the place of READING.

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The yardstick for competence in a language is whether or not you can seduce a girl/boy in that language. Ask yourselves what language do Nigerian students use in their most intimate moments. If it is English and it is verifiable, then they rare competent in it. Forget about grammar, spelling etc, we have technology to do those.

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