Why Pakistanis are struggling with IELTS?


The International English Language Testing System exam has been a nightmare for many students I meet in Islamabad and Lahore as their dreams of cultivating educational goals in English speaking countries solely remain a daydream if they do not perform well in the exam and achieve the desired band score. Ranging from Academic and General IELTS to Life Skill A1 and Life Skill B2 and UKVI, a majority of the test-takers I’ve observed lag behind in their receptive area of English; such as Listening and Reading.

To start with, our educated public has turned a blind eye to the most devastating factor inflicted upon them by our educational institutes, where reading habits are not fostered which renders the IELTS test-takers helpless on the day of the exam.

Unlike other exams for which knowledge is gained, IELTS test-takers are required to undergo an English Enhancement Course to acquire the four modules of IELTS as the latter assesses English acquisition which is sadly not prioritized in the educational institutes. It is true that a majority of students from O and A level backgrounds perform well in the receptive area, however, they still lag behind in essay writing.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), education in Pakistan is imparted in English. However, students spend years upon years not even learning the language properly through which they ought to learn as they seek to unearth Science, Mathematics, IT, Business, Biology, Chemistry and English literature. Students of literature and language I’ve trained have sadly adopted Shakespearean language, which renders their proficiency useless in applying their skills in the real world and IELTS exam’s.

The reality is quite alarming! I on and off visit book shops and libraries to catch-up on reading and I have observed that quite a few Pakistani teenagers read and buy books (which is encouraging!). However, it frustrates me to see they’re only busy in academic books required for their courses. Allington has seamlessly dressed up my feelings where he says, “The reason our students do not study is not they are illiterate, but they are alliterate. Meaning, they know how to but they choose not to”, further Jorge Luis Borges comments that  “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library”. Had these students found pleasure and Heaven in libraries, we would have no factionalism, extremism and plagiarism in Pakistan. The students are not being sensitised about reading, they’re instead finding pleasure on online surfing social networking sites which inevitably make them susceptible to approsexia, who in turn lose their concentration power.

Apart from academic institutes, it is also the parents’ utmost responsibility to provide their children with books and instill in them an insubduable love for books so that they may acquire reading skills right from their childhood. All grownups are urged to embark upon an intellectual journey by reading books of their interest other than the academic ones. Since readers are leaders in every area of life, I can guarantee that those who are IELTS or any exam’s aspirants, adopt speed reading skills with at least 600 words per minute, this will drastically change your life, improve your receptive area of English and it will subconsciously influence your language production.

Author: Yasir Ahmed

Western Polytechnic Pty Ltd trading as Australian Pacific Institute of Technology