Should I be Concerned?

My tourguide course being led on our first tiyul

There is obviously a tremendous amount of material that the tourguide course covers, both experiential and more academic. And when the two years of the course come to a close, there is still a large and intense exam that each student needs to pass in order to become licensed. People often mention how difficult they’ve heard this exam is (there are both written and oral portions to be passed). But I’ve always told them I wasn’t too worried about it.

I figured that I have a pretty good memory for facts and details, and I’m also rather comfortable in front of a group, speaking publicly. So sure, it might have been my cocky ego coming through, but I always figured that when it all came down to it at the end of the two years, I wouldn’t have too difficult a time passing the exam. Of course I’d have to prepare, and I wouldn’t just cruise through it. But I assumed that I’d be fine with it when push came to shove.

This morning, however, I read this story in the Jerusalem Post. It raises suspicions that the Ministry of Tourism may be creating artificial quotas to reduce the number of licensed tourguides, potentially in order to make sure all licensed tourguides have enough work.

On the exam that was just administered this past November, there was only an approximately 25% pass rate across the board at many schools. In the past, the passage rate was significantly higher.

Mina Ganem, head of the professional training department of the Tourism Ministry, confirmed that the November test scores were lower than usual. She said that 52% of applicants passed, compared to 90% for those who took the same test in the summer.

But while the Ministry denies any “foul play” or hidden quotas, some of the students who failed suspect the Ministry is not being forthcoming.

“I think the Tour Guides Union and the Tourism Ministry are in cahoots to prevent people from taking up jobs. It’s a matter of the veteran Israelis not wanting competition from newcomers,” said [Gil] Zohar.

While I recognize that this is still two years away for me, and while I also have an ego that lets me think/hope (or potentially deceive myself into thinking) that I’d be in that top 25% anyway, it doesn’t really make me happy to read.

So, should I be concerned?

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