Canadian citizenship test for high school students
Canadian citizenship test were taken last year, under the supervision of the Historica-Dominion Institute , by high school students across Canada. They took a similar test than the one all immigrants have to pass in order to become Canadian citizens. Immigrants have to take a citizenship test that contains 20 multiple choice questions to be answered in 30 minutes. They are tested on many different subjects such as Canada’s symbols, history, geography, justice system and so on. Immigrants are expected to know the rights and responsibilities of being a Canadian citizen. They are tested on the meaning of Canadian citizenship, the duties and expectations associated with it. And this is fair, potential Canadians should after all know what being a Canadian entitles, and what Canada is about.
The results were worrying. The national average score for this high school citizenship test was 68%. The passing mark for the official test is 75%, meaning that, on average, high school students in Canada would fail to qualify for citizenship in their own country.
Why not ask of our students to have the same knowledge of Canada than immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship? If we don’t expect students to have a certain knowledge of Canada’s heritage and government, how can we expect them to engage in civic activities?
The solution would be to create a mandatory Canadian citizenship test for high school students. The citizenship class would address basic questions about who we are and where we come from, and show the meaning and importance of Canadian citizenship. The official citizenship study guide is 63 pages long and offer a comprehensive understanding of Canada. This study guide could be part of the study book list for high school students. After all, it is only fair to test them after they study it. The current high school curriculum might not be enough to really cover all the information presented in this guide.
Research shows that knowledge is a key driver of civic engagement. During the federal election of 2011, a study showed that young people who talked about politics at home where twice likely to vote compared to those who did not. Knowledge is power, and can boost the self-confidence of young people towards political and/or civic activities.
Many countries in the world have established successful mandatory high school citizenship classes. In Canada, only B.C. and Ontario have civic classes.
Jeremy Diamond, a director at The Historica-Dominion Institute, said “but taking — and passing — the test should be more than a social experiment, a class project or a source of national embarrassment”. Indeed it should trigger more youth engagement in dialogue, politics and in their communities.
Do you agree that Canada needs mandatory Canadian citizenship test for high school students?