Saturday, 10 December 2011

The British Citizenship Test

In order to acquire British citizenship and settle in the UK permanently, it is now necessary to pass the "British Citizenship test". This is a 24 multiple choice test (the questions are randomly selected by computer) and 18 questions must be answered correctly in order to pass (75%). A book "Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship" is the basis for the test. Officially produced materials are available from The Stationery Office.

There is, for £3.99 "The Official Life in the UK Test" app available (press here).
Of course, if you were born a British citizen - then you NEVER have to take the test. I guess it's true of many countries - often citizens by choice know more about the country - and how its government works - than many who are entitled to citizenship by birth and who have always lived here. My fear is that in the UK ignorance of our system is regarded as both acceptable - and even taken pride in. (As a political campaigner I've heard so many times the comment "I don't know anything about politics" - often accompanied by a look that implies - "and I couldn't give a ****"). Who benefits from this rejoicing in ignorance? Not the individuals who express it - but it's useful for politicians and the others who actually get to exercise power. If people knew, they might be less willing to put up with what is done in their name.

An attempt was made to encourage the teaching of citizenship in schools. It became a statutory part of the 11-16 curriculum - but that is now under review by the Government. There are many concerns about its future. (For further information see here).

Are you British? How would you fare on the test? Try it here

Over the coming weeks I will be exploring some of the topics in the Life in the 'United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship book'