Tuesday , April 16 2024
Home / Travel / Tourism / School of Tourist Guides reopens in Athens after seven years

School of Tourist Guides reopens in Athens after seven years

A pledge by Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura to reopen the Athens Guide School was met via a Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD) issued by the tourism and education ministries on Wednesday, which ordered that the school reopen after seven years.

The guide school, which had provided vocational training to tour guides, was shut down in 2010.
Kountoura had pledged to reopen the school, noting that the training and education of tour guides was a high priority issue for the ministry, and finally obtained the necessary funds for the school to resume operating once again, in line with the proposals of the tourism ministry and the national guides’ federation.

The JMD approving the guide school’s operating rules was published in the government gazette.

According to athensnewsagency, the school will function as a post-secondary vocational training school that accepts Greek citizens, EU citizens and non-EU citizens on a points-based system provided they are legally resident in Greek and fluent in the Greek language.

Up to 70 pct of the places in the school will be filled with school leavers and 30 pct by holders of a tertiary education degree.

Based on a decision of the Tourism Minister to be issued in the coming period, the precise date for the start of classes and other details will be issued in the coming weeks.

The measure forms part of the effort to improve state tourism training, which is a priority for the tourism ministry.

The School closed in 2010 due to financial issues. In these seven years, archaeologists and history graduates could could obtain a license as tourist guide after attending a 2-month seminar. The cost for the seminars is 900 euros, while the School was free of charge. At the same time, changes in language certification were introduced. There is no more “language interview” but just a language certificate needed.

This change caused shortage of  fully skilled tourist guides to meet the needs of the new trends as the number of tourists from China and Russia increased in recent years.

“There are lots of tourist guides speaking only English,” the chairwoman of the Panhellenic Association of Licensed Tourist Guides underlined a year ago, stressing the need to reopen the school and upgrade the Tourist Guides’ education again. She also underlined that there are a lot of tourist guides operating without license.

Guides’ School Background by the Greek Tourist Guides’ Federation (POXEN) -also older post

The Guides’ Schools are public schools operating in Athens and Thessaloniki on a permanent basis and housed in buildings owned by the Ministry of Tourism, and also on Crete (Herakleion), Lesvos , Corfu and Rhodes islands , depending on the needs of the tourism market.

They formerly belonged to the GNTO (Greek National Tourism Organisation), later to the Schools of Tourism Professions (STE) and till a while ago to the Organisation of Tourism Education and Training (OTEK) which was recently abolished and since then the Guides’ Schools passed directly to the Ministry of Tourism. They are vocational schools, i.e. their studies are directly linked to the profession and the title of tourist guide, the tourism labor market and its needs.

The duration of studies is 5 semesters (1.090 hours), while students are first of all selected after passing the proficiency exam in one or more foreign languages, ​​which must be spoken before they study to become tourist guides. After a successful language examination, candidates are examined in history, essay and geography of Greece. Graduates of the University Departments of History & Archaeology are admitted without any examination in their field and they also have some exemptions from the courses that may have been taught to them at the University. Recently foreign languages ​​certificates and institute diplomas or degrees of foreign literature are accepted, without language assessment of the future guide, but this fact has lead to a lower level of foreign languages’ knowledge the tourist guides speak.

Without any exception, students have to attend classes and educational tours (field trips) of the Guides’ Schools and to take a written proficiency exam after each semester, while their final diplomatic exam is oral. After the successful attendance of the whole program, the graduates receive their guiding diploma and a professional identity of tourist guide for Greece by the Ministry of Tourism.

The courses include not only history and archeology of Greece of all periods, but also the necessary practice in field trips, as well as contemporary topics such as art history, geography, economy , traditions, national issues, religion, flora and fauna, etc. The aim is that the guide will be able to present the whole Greek culture and our country in general, answering frequently asked questions to our visitors, facing unexpected situations on a trip and to positively influencing our guests and the way they see Greece.

PS apparently the Ministry came into its senses after the project train guides in two months failed.

Check Also

Hydro-biological Station of Rhodes warns of jellyfish

The Hydro-biological Station of Rhodes issued a statement on Tuesday about the tropical jellyfish that …