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Saturday, Jan 23, 2021

British citizenship test handbook accused of including 'false information' on UK history

British citizenship test handbook accused of including 'false information' on UK history

A handbook issued by the Government for people who are preparing to take the UK citizenship test is "demonstrably false", academics claim.
The group of academics made the claims in the History Journal in a jointly signed letter claiming the official handbook, which the Life in the UK test is based on, creates a distorted version of history when it comes to discussing slavery and empire. This, the group says, directly counters the values of tolerance and fairness the test purports to promote.

In the letter, the historians have detailed how the handbook that was created by the Home Office is “fundamentally misleading and in places demonstrably false”.

It added: "The handbook promotes the misleading view that the Empire came to an end simply because the British decided it was the right thing to do."

The letters then stresses how the handbook presents a distorted view of slavery, adding: “The abolition of slavery is treated as a British achievement, in which enslaved people themselves played no part.

The letter continued: “The book is equally silent about colonial protests, uprisings, and independence movements.”

The signatories then ask for changes to be brought about as a "matter of urgency."

They end by saying that "Until the history chapter has been corrected and rewritten, it should be formally withdrawn from the test."

Latest figures by the Home Office show that 125,346 individuals applied for naturalisation in 2019 and almost all will have had to pass the test before applying.

In response to the concerns, a Home Office spokesperson said: “Given the breadth of British history, the Life in the UK handbook provides a starting point to explore our past and help those seeking to live permanently in the UK gain a basic understanding of our society, culture and historical references which occur in everyday conversations.

“We have published several editions of the handbook since it was launched and will continue to keep its contents under review and consider any feedback we receive.”

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