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Only 40% of firefighter job candidates pass spelling test: Brigade chief calls literacy standard seen 'pathetic'
01 February 2017 @ 10:44

SIX in 10 applicants for firefighters' jobs in the centre-northern cathedral city of Burgos failed at the first hurdle – on their spelling.

Out of a total of 62 candidates, when it came to the dictation test part of their interview procedure – one of four tests in a 'knock-out' round including general knowledge, local knowledge and mathematical problem-solving – a total of 38 were excluded because of spelling mistakes.

Fire chief Julio Estébanez says this result is 'pathetic', especially considering the test required 'only fifth-form level spelling abilities'.

Mistakes included mixing up 's' and 'x'; 'll' and 'y', and adding or omitting the silent 'h'.

The phrase 'Saúl se hallaba en la cocina' ('Saúl was in the kitchen') was spelt at 'Saúl se hayaba'; the word hojaldres (pastries) was written commonly as ojaldres; and la receta se había echado en el olvido (literally, 'the recipe had fallen into oblivion') was spelt hechado en el olvido.

Other common confusion was seen with esclavo ('slave') spelt as exclavo; extirpar ('extract' or 'surgically remove') as estirpar; exagerado ('exaggerated') as esagerado, and asfixia ('asphyxia' or 'suffocation') as axfisia.

To apply to be a firefighter, candidates normally have to be graduates or hold a similar level of vocational qualification, and have to sit civil service exams, known as oposiciones.

Estébanez said he was appalled that anyone with this level of qualifications should make such basic spelling errors.

The dictation test carried a maximum of two points towards the total, and anyone who failed to achieve 0.8 points, or 40%, would be automatically excluded.


Like 1


watchmanager said:
04 February 2017 @ 11:55

Whilst going through the ranks we were always told
"You can't throw books at a fire"!
However, I do agree that you have to have a good level of education, as the job of a Bombero is quite diverse. It's not just pointing water onto a fire anymore!
Having said that, I find comfort in the fact that the majority of Spanish find it hard to spell, especially using the examples with regards the non existing 'H'.
Periodically, the Spanish government does make changes to the language but for the life of me I'll never know why they want to keep the 'H'.

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