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Germans obliged to take integration test – Re-education upon failure

Germans will be obliged to take integration test – Re-education upon failure

Germans obliged to take integration test - Re-education upon failure
(c) EvgeniT via Pixabay

 

Today, the German office for migration and refugees (BAMF) published a report which admitted a partial failure of their current approach of teaching migrants and refugees the German language and culture via so-called Integration Courses (Integrationskurs). Yet the problem doesn’t lie on the side of the migrants, but rather on the side of the culture they seek to integrate in.

 

90% of Germans would fail an integration test

“Those who have created these integration courses especially the part where participants are supposed to learn about the German culture, social life, history and politics must have lived in a different Germany that anyone we interviewed. We asked about 2000 Germans the same questions course participants have to answer and 90% would have failed that same test,” said the head of intercultural studies at Viadrina University Frankfurt Oder, Prof. Dr. Hans Deutschendorf. “It almost sounds like an April Fool’s Joke,” he continues, “but we simply can’t ignore the evidence any longer.”
Ironically about 92% of the migrants pass that test (see official statistics of the BAMF here).
As a consequence the BAMF in cooperation with the ESF (European Social Fund) have worked out a new approach to optimize the integration process: All Germans citizens (18 and above) will be obliged to take the same integration test migrants have to take.

“We can’t have a situations where migrants end up to be the better Germans,” states Dr. Willer Nixsagsehör of the BAMF. It’s time the citizens of this country brush up their knowledge about the culture they expect others to learn about.

 

Political and Social Re-Education of Native Germans

Those who fail the test, will be obliged to spend 100 hours in so-called re-integration processes (Re-Integrationsprozess or short: RIP). That’s how many classroom-hours current integration course participants have to spend to learn everything relevant about the German culture therefore it should be more than enough for native Germans. Those courses can be taken in the evenings or on the weekends after work hours and will last between 3-6 months.

 

Proper Language trainings

It has become also blatantly obvious that High German, the language that is being taught in current integration courses and that ironically is even being used to teach German in those courses, is only spoken by about 3,14% of the German population (that’s pretty exactly the exact number of citizens of Hannover the capital of Lower Saxony). Though through some miraculous circumstance most Germans understand each other even in extreme situations (check this seemingly miraculous example of inter-dialectal communication) it would be humanly impossible for anyone to learn all 250 remaining German dialects. The new initiative therefore aims at making regular High German training obligatory for those who fail their High German oral exam which will be conducted via various institutions like the Goethe Institut or the Volkshochschulen over the coming ten years with all German citizens born after 1945. Participants will be randomly assigned to their exams so some Germans might still have a couple of years before they will have to face re-education. “We hope that everyone will take matters into their own hands and start brushing up on their language skills voluntarily.”

 

Heavy support from the EU

While the budget of approximately 600 billion EUR (that’s approximately 1000 EUR per German citizen) for the next ten years might seem steep at first glance, the economical benefit of a better integration on both sides and of fewer language related issues among Germans themselves will soon make up for this investment. The European Union is also heavily funding this project with 75% of the costs which is no surprise as Germany is the EU’s strongest link.

 

Similar consequences as for migrants

Those who fail their re-integration process, will have to face grave consequences e.g. loss of voting rights and continuous re-education until passing the test. “In a democracy we can’t have people vote, who have no clue why and what they actually vote for.”, says Prof. Deutschendorf. He continues: “We also think that the Germans will become more empathetic with migrants that had and still have to go through the same experience, especially when they realize how irrelevant this kind of knowledge actually is and when they are subsequently threatened with harsh consequences.”

Currently integration course participants might face shortenings of their already rather limited state welfare or non-prolongation of their right to stay.

 

Merkel welcomes new approach

Woman chancellor Merkel welcomes this initiative and, setting a good example, is already participating in one of the first model re-integration courses herself together with her favorite party member Horst Seehofer of the CSU, hoping to pass her test by the end of her current term. “I wouldn’t bet my house on Horst passing though”, Merkel said only half-jokingly.

Beam of hope for German citizens

We at smarterGerman are already developing a course for German natives to help them pass their Integrationstest with flying colors and to become better citizens of this beautiful Merkelocracy. How is your German today? Can you already answer the following questions from the final test of current integration courses? Give it a try. The questions are in German of course.

TEST: COULD YOU INTEGRATE INTO THE GERMAN CULTURE (CLICK HERE)?

 

 

Germans obliged to take integration test - Re-education upon failure
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Racist Germans soon Obliged to take ASSimilation Courses

german integration courses
© fgmsp via Pixabay

Germany is Reacting to Growing Population

In 2016, Germany welcomed 2.136.954 immigrants and said good bye to 997.552 emigrants (https://de.statista.com/themen/46/einwanderung/). That left a net influx of 1.139.403 people mostly from other cultures (some were Germans returning to their roots)

To guarantee a successful integration of all new citizens, the BAMF (Bundesamt für Migräne und Flüche) has been working on a new edict according to which “difficult” natives are obliged to take so called assimilation courses (short: ASS, not kidding, Ass (n) means ace in German), so Klaus Besserwisser, unofficial spokesperson of the BAMF today. All chambers agreed unanimous that the edict will be become effective today on the first of April 2017.

 

Assimilation for a Better Understanding

The assimilation courses will last 7 months and teach participants the basics (B1) in either High Arabic or the Romanian language as well as the basics of the chosen culture as most immigrants in 2016 came from these countries.

In only 3.5hrs per day participants will study the language and culture of Germany’s newest inhabitants. Highly educated natives as well as common folks from various Arabic countries and from different regions in Romania will teach them everything there is to know about their cultures, values and religions. 
The lessons will be held exclusively in the target language to simulate the pain migrants experience when sitting in integration courses. This way Besserwisser hopes to strengthen the empathy on side of the native Germans who at times struggle heavily with adapting to the changes that meeting new people evokes.

With this approach the BAMF hopes to reduce the gap between native Germans and new German inhabitants and is confident to have found a good addition to the already existing Integration Courses.

Both Sides need to come Closer Together

Integration Courses oblige current migrants to study the German language up to level B1 within 7 months and only 3 hours of study time per day. To make sure they get the most out of this opportunity, participants have to sign in and sign out every single day they attend. They are also lucky to be able to participate in a two week crash course on German politics, culture, religion, society and basic legal matters. In the last decade this approach has been proven to provide immigrants with a solid foundation of cultural knowledge and confident language skills. As many as 60% of course participants pass their B1 exam at the end of an Integration Course which Besserwisser contributes to the outstanding performance of institutions conducting those courses and the genius idea to teach the German language by only using German so that every course participant understands equally nothing and doesn’t feel behind the other participants.

Like in the integration courses, the group size of the new assimilation courses is usually limited to 30 students only and while attendance is voluntary for most native Germans, Germans who have been noticed for racist slurs e.g. on Facebook, Twitter or in public are obliged to participate. The BAMF plans to arrange a special social media task force whose sole task will be to scan the internet for hateful and racist posts and comments to make sure the ASS-courses are filled accordingly. This way Besserwisser says, the courses will become profitable within the next 24 months.

A Win-Win Situation

At the end of the ASS-course participants will take a language exam on level B1 and a multiple choice test with 33 questions (out of 365) about politics, culture, religion, history and society of the culture they have chose.

Successful participants will be granted amnesty in case they had been convicted or a free hand enlargement operation to better cope with their inferiority complex. Voluntary participants will receive the infamous German “feuchter Händedruck”, literally: a wet handshake for their efforts as it is already tradition with all those teachers in integration courses all over Germany.

Integrations Courses for Germans
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What to do when your passport gets stolen?

What to Do if Your Passport Gets Lost or Stolen
© Pixabay

To add to the already stressful situation of losing your passport, you may not know what to do when you lose it in another country. Admittedly, there is some variance based on what your country of origin is, and where you may have lost your documents (or had it stolen), but these are some tips you can follow.

In any case, it is a good practice – even if you still have your passport! – to retain a photocopy of the first page of your passport for your records. Store this copy in a safe place. This way, if your passport does get lost or stolen, you can more easily replace it (see Step 3).

First: Inform local Authorities, if possible.

Second: Inform your nearest Embassy/Consulate of your Country of Origin.

For the second step, obviously this depends on your country of origin, but the procedure for nationals and permanent residents of the United States of America is outlined here  and the government of the United Kingdom encourages people to cancel their passport at once to avoid identity fraud.

Third: Go through the Process to replace your Passport.

This process may vary, but the embassy/consulate you contacted in Step 2 will be able to help you. For US citizens, the documents you might need in order to replace a lost or stolen passport might include:

  • Police report, if available
  • Evidence of US citizenship (birth certificate, copy of existing passport)
  • Identification
  • Travel itinerary, if relevant

These are just some of the documents you may need, but because of these, it is a good plan to keep photocopies of important identification documents in a safe place in case a situation like this does arise. If you are a UK citizen in Germany, you may also want to check this page.

If you are a member of armed forces abroad, special requirements and procedures may apply. Again, check with your embassy/consulate, and also the branch of the armed forces to which you belong, for assistance.

What to Do if Your Passport Gets Lost or Stolen