Citizenship Test Wars Rage In Germany

Nations increasingly are instituting tests for immigrants in order to determine if they are qualified to become citizens. Such tests have been around for over a hundred years and, ordinarily, immigrants are provided tutoring which enables them to get past the test in the same manner people cram for their driver’s test. However, the German government has spent over a year developing a new test for immigrants that already has aroused anger among groups which represent the Turkish community. There are 310 questions one must study and 33 of them will be on the test given the individual. A passing score is 17 out of 33. The questions are from three categories: ‘Life in a Democracy,” “History and Responsibility.” and “People and Society.” According to Green Party leader Volker Beck, the test “expects knowledge that Germans only have after they have studied law for a semester.”

I decided to take several of the sample questions in order to determine if I could pass. I have two master degrees in history and have extensively studied European history. I was able to score about 60% on one of the tests I took. Of course, I had not studied for a test. I suspect people who come to a new country, as did my parents, and work and raise families make the best future citizens.