Learner driver in theory test race row

AN INDONESIAN woman today claimed she had been the victim of racial discrimination after a driving theory test paper was not available for her in her own language.

AN INDONESIAN woman today claimed she had been the victim of racial discrimination after a driving theory test paper was not available for her in her own language.

Angeliz Mitchell, 30, is making a formal complaint to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), saying there was no way she could complete the test paper because she could not understand the questions.

She was told a paper was not available in her native tongue, Vahasa Indonesian, and she was not allowed to take a dictionary into the exam with her.

Mrs Mitchell, a hairdresser at Jim and Donna's Hairdressers in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, said: “It's not fair because I didn't understand some of the more difficult questions.

“The test papers are available in many other languages, so why if they don't have my language can I not take a dictionary in?

“I can't find the answers in the dictionary.”

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Mrs Mitchell, of Runnacles Way, Felixstowe, was advised that if there was something she didn't understand to put her hand up and ask. However, she felt this was impractical, as there were many questions that she struggled to understand.

She intends to make a complaint because she is very keen to learn to drive but doesn't want to keep paying for exams that she cannot understand.

“I feel I've been racially discriminated against because it was not made possible for me to understand the exam,” she said.

The DSA said the theory tests are available with voiceovers in 21 languages, including Albanian, Arabic, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri and Turkish.

A spokeswoman for the DSA said: “If a person's first language is not English, or they can not read or understand written English well, they can request a voiceover in one of 21 languages. A voiceover allows a person to hear the theory test instructions and questions through headphones.

“The questions will automatically be read out, and a person can hear the answer options by touching the text on the screen.”

She said the agency would provide translator-assisted tests at a cost - though Mrs Mitchell says she was not informed of this.

Have you had similar problems? Should the tests be available in more languages? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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