November 15, 2005

Citizenship test

I was reading recently about the new citizenship tests immigrants are now required to take and, though I'm not sure I had considered beforehand what what might be included, I was surprised at the level of knowledge the test required the candidate to have.

One of the people who'd recently taken the test said:
'I wasn't quite sure with a true-or-false question which asked if the heir to the throne can marry anyone who isn't Protestant.'

Other example questions, from the BBC website, based on information in the official test booklet, included:
– There are four national saints' days in the UK, one for each nation. Which order do they fall in the calendar?
– Where does the myth of Father Christmas come from?
– Almost 60m people live in the UK. By what factor do the native-born English outnumber their Scots or Welsh neighbours?

Why are immigrants being forced to take a test that many British citizens (definitely including the 15-year old chavs I worked with, mentioned in the comments following my previous entry) would themselves fail?

On the other hand, will taking a test to prove their knowledge of British culture really make immigrants feel more integrated?

- 7 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. The citizenship test to me is a good idea. I do find some of the quoted questions a little strange, and I have to admit I couldn't answer some of them.
    But if foreign nationals are being made to take the test, I believe so should the British born population to remind us occasionally of our identity.

    Being British, I felt rather guilty for not remembering the whole story behind bonfire night (I was running through it in my head in case one of my foreign flatmates asked me about all of the fireworks going off everywhere).

    15 Nov 2005, 14:45

  2. Well I would apparently make a poor citizen because I don't know any of the answers.

    The fact that my entire ancestry is from the UK is irrelevant.

    I had better pack now. Not sure where I should go though?

    15 Nov 2005, 14:55

  3. I think it's a good idea. I should point out at this point that the questions are multiple choice. This does make the whole thing rather easier, as I've seen some of the options.

    And I think we should all know the stuff that's on there – people don't give enough of a shit about the country they live in any more.

    That said, I'm not particularly patriotic, so it doesn't bother me personally that I don't know a huge amount about the UK. I'm outa here as soon as poss…


    15 Nov 2005, 15:20

  4. I agree that it's a good idea in principle – but whoever wrote the questions for it was clearly taking the piss.

    15 Nov 2005, 16:37

  5. I'm quite happy with this test. They know it's coming and get to revise, plus there's not that much history on it (which despite being a historian I would oppose for variou reasons), it's mostly about stuff that's common in today's society. I love the one about what to do if you spill someone' pint in a pub…

    15 Nov 2005, 17:18

  6. But are they actually gaining anything from the test when the information is either not known by most native Britons, better acquired by spending an evening in the pub or just common courtesy?

    15 Nov 2005, 20:05

  7. Sharon Adames

    I Think this test is silly as if british people had to take this test to get a passport then not many people would have one.

    They should have tested this on british citizens 1st!!!

    28 Apr 2006, 11:37

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