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Dissatisfied University Teachers Plan Protest

Czech university teachers plan a protest event to point out the underfinancing of social science and humanities departments at universities. Photo: Freepik.

Prague, March 4 (CTK) – Dissatisfied university teachers plan a protest event to point out the underfinancing of social science and humanities departments at universities, they want to highlight the situation through lectures and debates on March 28, Petr Baierl and Frantisek Kratochvil told CTK yesterday.

Baierl and Kratochvil, from the trade union of university workers (VOS), said that mainly faculties of arts but also other faculties will join the protest.

“The problem of the fatally underfinanced social science and humanities programmes, respective of a large part of the university sector… still has not been solved adequately by the responsible authorities…We are declaring the Hour of Truth on the Teachers’ Day (March 28). Within it, the public and university students will be openly informed about the utter neglection of university education and about the shamefully underfinanced salaries,” the organisers said. 

Support for the dissatisfied teachers’ petition was previously expressed, for example, by the academic senates of the Faculties of Arts of Charles University (UK), the Ostrava University, the Pardubice University and the Hradec Kralove University.

Directors of some institutes of the Academy of Sciences, too, have called for steps to solve the financial situation in research and humanities and social sciences.

The teachers are yet to discuss the concrete form of the planned protest. For the time being, they plan mainly discussion meetings to inform students and the public about the situation at universities, said Kratochvil, who heads the Asian studies department at the Faculty of Arts of the Palacky University in Olomouc, north Moravia.

With regard to the situation, he did not rule out that a strike may be declared in the future.

The organisers of the protests and signatories of a petition in support of the aforementioned departments, demand to be granted the same wages as those enjoyed by other university programmes.

Jakub Jirsa, from the UK Faculty of Arts, pointed out a huge gap between the wage of the teachers in equal positions but at different faculties of UK.

In 2021, the median monthly wage of a professor at the Hussite Theological Faculty was 34,646 crowns, at the Evangelical Theological Faculty 47,050 crowns and at the Faculty of Arts 47,473 crowns. On the other hand, the median wage of professors teaching at UK’s Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and at the 2nd and 3rd Medical Faculty was over 90,000 crowns, Jirsa said.

Palacky University’s Faculty of Arts dean Jan Stejskal warned that social science and humanities departments may end up with a shortage of teachers and may be forced to restrict their education programmes.

The situation of university teachers’ wages has been dealt with by a working team at the Education Ministry with the aim to find out whether the difference between the wages of teachers at individual faculties is a systemic flaw.

The Council of Higher Education Institutions (RVS) wants a change in the financing of universities, whose budget should be either a clearly defined part of the Czech Education Ministry’s budget or it should be set at 0.6 percent of GDP at least, the RVS agreed at its meeting in February.

($1 = 22.145 crowns)


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