Thursday, October 20, 2011

Everyone seems to agree with me on the UK citizenship test

Readers will be aware of my previous criticisms of the UK's citizenship test and my recent BBC interview (go to 23 mins 20 seconds). My primary criticisms:

1. The citizenship test must be updated and revised. There are questions about departments that no longer exist, programmes that no longer run, and demographic figures about 10 years out of date.

2. The citizenship test should include new questions, especially on British history. The problems with the test are not merely out of date answers, but the range of questions on offer.

First, the Prime Minister confirmed -- within two hours of my interview's broadcast -- that the Life in the UK citizenship test will be updated and it will include questions on British history.

Secondly, I see that on 14th October the writer Ian Jack also argues for the inclusion of British history and culture (in his essay "Sadly I don't know enough about life in Britain to be allowed to remain here").

So it seems unanimous. I'll get a better sense of the potential unanimity after my talk tomorrow on this subject -- with local MP Chi Onwurah -- at a migration and immigration in Tyneside conference.

UPDATE: Greatly enjoyed the conference on migration hosted by the Tyneside Irish Centre. Excellent papers and discussion on an important topic of high interest.


Richard Baron said...

I wonder how many questions on British history can reasonably be asked. As Sellar and Yeatman tell us, there are only two Memorable Dates. And there would be no academic consensus on the answers to questions that required the identification of Good Things or Bad Kings.

The Brooks Blog said...

There need not be many at all. The test currently has 24 questions. A few would be better than what there is -- and the two dates would be a good start.