- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 18, 2003

CAIRO, Jan. 18 (UPI) — Egyptian Radio application exams for hiring new announcers and correspondents showed most of the applicants were "terribly shallow" in general knowledge, broadcasting officials said Saturday.

They said that the majority of applicants lacked the basic knowledge required for the job, adding they could not name the Egyptian ports, the major Egyptian publications or the capitals of Arab countries.

Sources at the government-owned radio, who supervised the exams, said only 40 among 30,000 applicants passed the first part of the test. They said that those who passed also require "a long time to train and prepare before they can actually work" as newscasters or reporters.

The official al-Ahram daily quoted the director of programs at Egypt Radio, Najwa al-Toubi, as saying a number of applicants failed to name the Egyptian provinces and their number.

She said they also fell short of naming major international news agencies and did not know where the International Court of Justice was located.

The paper quoted another member of the employment committee, Aziza al-Jamal, as saying that a number of applicants did not know the most prominent Egyptian writers.

Al-Jamal said one of the applicants answered that 23, rather than 22, members made up the Arab League, including 10 European countries.

She added that another applicant answered that Tony Blair was an American actor, no pun intended.

Other radio employment committee members complained that the exams showed many of the Arabic language university graduates had low lingual standards.

They said some of them could not even write the letters properly, and failed to properly pronounce some of the words.

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