In 2022, 1,937 academics worked in faculties of philosophy (FF), humanities and similar faculties, 4.5 percent less than five years ago. This follows from the data provided to ČTK by the Senior Director of the Higher Education Division of the Ministry of Education (MŠMT), Radka Vildova, and from the explanation sent to Novinka on Friday by representatives of the Ministry of Education.
Since 2018, the number of students in universities has started to increase, and people from demographically strong years have started applying to them. Last year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Education and Culture, 276,632 people studied at public universities in the Czech Republic, which is six percent more than five years ago. Higher education institutions had 30,665 employees, of which academic staff constituted half.
School representatives have previously pointed out that it is necessary to increase the budgets of universities due to the expected significant increase in students interested in studying as a result of population growth. At the same time, many academics from humanities faculties now complain about low pay and underfunding of universities and their workplaces.
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Therefore, representatives of the Ministry and universities are discussing how to improve it. The working group of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Ministry of Education and Culture proposed that the budget of universities should be exceptionally increased to 901 million CZK this year. He also suggested focusing on possible changes in the range of fields. According to Wilde, the Ministry of Education and Culture will present on May 12 an analysis of the data provided to the office by the rectors and proposals for changes in university funding.
Even within universities there are differences
According to the task force, mainly assistant professors are now underpaid. “Many of these professionals, who usually hold doctorates, leave universities to teach in elementary or secondary schools,” pointed out John Stejskal, president of FF’s Deans Association.
Assistant professors in philosophy, humanities, and theology departments have the lowest salaries compared to their colleagues in other departments. Last year, according to the Ministry of Education and Culture, their average salary was CZK 44,500 per month.
“The average salary of assistant professors in many faculty groups does not reach the average salary of secondary school teachers of 52,497 kroner,” Wildova said.
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These are Health and Social Faculties (45,900 CZK), Law Faculties (49,300), Philosophy, Humanities and Theology Faculties (44,500), Arts Faculties (44,800) and Agricultural and Veterinary Faculties (48,900).
According to the ministry’s task force, salaries of workers in similar faculties of different universities also differ. While one from the humanities and social sciences paid its workers an average of 37,000 CZK per month, at another university it was around 70,000. According to the Ministry of Education and Culture, there is a need to make the activities of universities more efficient. According to Wildová and some rectors, one possible solution is, for example, cooperation between universities in linking study programs.
According to the working group’s proposal, the budget for public universities should increase to CZK 10.8 billion in 2024, CZK 13.8 billion in 2025, and CZK 16.8 billion in 2026 compared to this year. Expenditure on higher education is targeted to reach 0.65 percent of GDP.
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