Tuesday, 22 January 2013

There was one of those thoroughly

irritating articles in the state newspaper yesterday claiming that the residents of the UK and New Zealand know less about Australia than the Swedes, the Dutch, the Finns and the French. Even the Americans and the Colombians are supposed to know more about Australia than the English or the Kiwis. Nonsense.
This is is of course the results of the "citizenship test" which they are talking about. The Swedes who sat it apparently scored 98.1% and the UK residents scored 95.8%. I doubt that the results mean anything at all. I have no doubt that UK residents know as much about Australia as the Swedes, probably rather more in fact.
They may not necessarily know the answers to everything in the citizenship test but they will know a lot about Australia. They will know more than almost anyone else doing the test. What they know may be even more important than what is in the citizenship test.
Out of interest I once did a version of the UK citizenship test - and yes I passed without difficulty. All the same it had a good deal to do with the fact that I have lived in the UK and my general knowledge is probably reasonably good.  I did not study for the test. I doubt people from the UK or New Zealand study for the Australian citizenship test. They assume, rightly, that life in each other's countries is sufficiently the same for it to be able to be understood.
I took a look at a version of the Australian citizenship test and I suspect that most Australians would score less than the Swedes or the Brits and perhaps not much more than the Kiwis (who scored a lowly 72.6%) indeed they may score even less.
The problem is that most people will study for a citizenship test. Most will score well enough to pass and then they will, just like Australians, forget most of that information. It is of less importance than knowing your neighbours and living in the community.

3 comments:

Donna Hosie said...

I certainly studied for the Australian Citizenship test - and scored 99%.

I remember at least 25% of the questions were on Indiginous culture, reform and laws. The kind of question which you could not guess an answer.

virtualquilter said...

'It is of less importance than knowing your neighbours and living in the community.'

Exactly!

catdownunder said...

Good for you Donna - but I suspect you take an intelligent interest in a vast range of things, more so than most people!