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中国日报网 2013-06-17 10:05



Emperor Claudius on a bronze sestertius. The man who invaded Britain in AD 43 features in the Life in the UK test.



A test taken by around 150,000 would-be British citizens each year is just a "bad pub quiz" with too much focus on culture and history at the expense of practical knowledge, an academic has said.

The Life in the UK test, which must be passed to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in Britain, does not require practical necessities in everyday life, Durham University's Dr Thom Brooks said.

But it is required that new citizens know "trivial" facts such as the year Emperor Claudius invaded Britain, the year that Sake Dean Mahomet launched the first curry house in the country and the age of Big Ben.

Brooks, a US immigrant who sat and passed the test in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2009, becoming a British citizen in 2011, said the test is a key part of immigration policy but is unfit for purpose in its current form.

"The Life In The UK test has become a bad pub quiz. It has gone from testing practical trivia to the purely trivial and is a major opportunity lost," he said.

"The biggest surprise is the lack of attention successive governments have paid to ensuring the test is fair and not out of date, a surprise even bigger than the sometimes-shocking questions that can be found on the test," said Brooks, a reader in law at Durham Law School.

"Many citizens that were born and bred in the UK would struggle to know the answers to many of these questions.

"Britain will not be more cohesive because more have heard about the Battle of Trafalgar, but rather if future citizens understand better how to participate in daily British life and make a contribution."

The latest edition of the test took effect from 25 March and was based on the third edition of the handbook Life in the United Kingdom.

Brooks argues that the test is inconsistent in what it requires new citizens to know. They are not required to know the number of MPs in Westminster but are required to know the number of representatives in the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno, vice-chairman of the all party parliamentary group on migration, welcomed Brooks's report, launched at a lecture at Durham University on Thursday evening.

"I am delighted to echo his call that the test, which is both impractical and irrelevant as it stands, be reformed," he said.

"Surely future Britons should better understand how to participate in daily life, instead of knowing by rote which emperor invaded Britain in AD 43?"

Brooks stops short of recommending that the test is ditched, but instead said it should be reformed so that it is no longer "impractical, inconsistent, trivial, gender imbalanced, outdated and ineffective".

The test requires new citizens to know the date of birth and death of nearly 30 men in British history but only four women. No women artists, musicians or poets are mentioned.

Much of the information in the accompanying official handbook does not appear to be part of the test, Brooks said.

The handbook contains about 3,000 facts including five telephone numbers, 34 websites, 278 historical dates and several brief excerpts of British poetry.

Of the 400 official practice questions and answers in one of three official test handbooks, no telephone numbers, no websites, no poetry and only a few dates are mentioned.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We've stripped out mundane information about water meters, train timetables, and using the internet. The new test rightly focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British. Instead of telling people how to claim benefits it encourages participation in British life.

"This is just part of our work to help ensure migrants are ready and able to integrate into British society and forms part of our changes which have broken the automatic link between temporary and permanent migration.

"We have made radical changes to the immigration system and are determined to reduce net migration from the hundred of thousands into the tens of thousands by the end of this parliament. The latest figures show these reforms are working, with net migration falling by more than a third since 2010."

A Conservative party spokesman said: "Dr Brooks is a self-confessed 'active member' of the Labour party, so it's no surprise that he prefers Labour's flawed old test which told people how to claim benefits rather than encourage participation in British life."



英国杜伦大学(Durham University)法学院的汤姆·布鲁克斯(Thom Brooks)博士表示,想要获得英国永久居留签证的外国人必须通过“英国生活”入籍测试,此测试并不需要受试者掌握日常生活的实用知识。

但是,它需要新公民知道一些“琐碎”的事实,例如克劳狄一世入侵英国的年代、Sake Dean Mahomet开设英国第一家咖喱餐馆的年代以及大本钟(Big Ben)的岁数。

布鲁克斯是一名美国移民,他于2009年在泰茵河上的纽卡斯尔(Newcastle upon Tyne)参加并通过了考试,于2011年成为英国公民。他称此测试是移民政策的关键部分,但它现在的形式不符合它的目的。




“英国不会变得更加团结紧密,因为会有越来越多的人知道特拉法加大海战(Battle of Trafalgar)。未来的公民应该更好地理解如何参与英国的日常生活,并做出自己的一份贡献。”

《英国生活》测试书的最新版从3月25日起开始生效,基于《英国生活》(Life in the United Kingdom)手册的第三版。

布鲁克斯争论到,测试对新公民的要求是前后矛盾的。受试者不需要知道威斯敏斯特(Westminster)的议员人数,却要知道威尔士议会(Welsh Assembly)、苏格兰议会(Scottish Parliament)以及北爱尔兰议会(Northern Ireland Assembly)的代表人数。

兰迪德诺(Llandudno)的罗伯茨勋爵(Lord Roberts)是跨党派议会移民小组的副主席,他对布鲁克斯在13日晚间在杜兰大学讲座上提出的报告很是赞同。













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(翻译:袁凌子 编辑:Julie)



















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