New citizenship tests still not ready

The government said that the delayed test change is just a small element of an ongoing discussion concerning a new citizenship agreement

The plan to scrap the heavily criticised citizenship test (indfødsretsprøven) and replace with it the more modern test (statsborgerskabsprøven) could very well be postponed a second time, despite the government’s own law catalogue stating that it should have occurred two months ago.

The plan to swap tests was postponed to March, but it looks as if the next group of about 2,500 potential new Danes will face the indfødsretsprøve after all when tested about their knowledge of Denmark on June 7.

Even if the plan is set in motion in March, Poul Neergaard, the head of language centre Københavns Sprogcenter, doubts that the new statsborgerskabsprøve will be ready in time for the next group of would-be citizens.

“I find it very hard to believe that the new test will be ready for this summer,” Neergaard told Berlingske newspaper. “Time is required to print and distribute the new material and the applicants need time to study the new curriculum. If a new test means a new syllabus, we don’t think that it’s fair to have the test on such short notice.”

The delay of a new test to replace the current citizenship exam, which is so difficult that even Danes have trouble passing it, was criticised from both sides of the political spectrum.

“It’s simply unreasonable that the government has erroneously promised so many people that the citizenship rules would be changed, including that meaningless indfødsretsprøve about everything from Struensee [a German doctor whose story was featured in the film 'A Royal Affair'] to Olympic medals won by the women’s handball team,” Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, a spokesperson for far-left party Enhedslisten, told Berlingske.

Members of Liberal Alliance (LA) have also voiced their opinion, contending that the government is dragging its feet purposely and even Dansk Folkeparti (DF), who are vehemently against changing the test, are wondering when the promised changes will occur.

The Justice Ministry has revealed that the delay is due to continuous discussions about a new citizenship agreement that includes a number of aspects other than the test change.

“It’s a regrettable situation that we have been delayed with the test, especially because it is in high demand,” Karina Lorentzen Dehnhardt, a spokesperson for Socialistisk Folkeparti, told Berlingske. “We are working as fast as we can in realising the legal aspects and we are disappointed that we are behind schedule. But I will say that the plans have in no way been shelved.”

The last indfødsretsprøven test was held in December, when more than 2,500 applicants were tested in their knowledge of Danish history and society in the hope of gaining citizenship.

The deadline to apply to take the next citizenship test is May 3. If you want to know how you would fare, you can test yourself with this mock version of indfødsretsprøven.

Factfile | Citizenship

–          To gain Danish citizenship, applicants must prove that they know Danish culture, history and society by passing the indfødsretsprøve, which is organised twice a year in language schools around the country.

–          The test is multiple-choice and in order to pass, the applicant must answer 32 out of the 40 questions correctly. Each test has new questions and applicants have 45 minutes to take the test.

–          In order to prepare for the test, applicants should read up on the curriculum that is provided by the Ministry for Children and Education.

–          In order to gain Danish citizenship, applicants must already have permanent residence and an address in Denmark, be debt free, self sufficient and speak proper Danish.

–          The main difference between holding permanent residence and being a citizen is that citizens have the right to vote.

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