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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Lacking Job Security and Benefits, Many Arab Professors Lose Interest in Academia

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University professors’ problems are not limited to work contracts or the lack of supportive bodies. They face other problems such as the lack of external and internal training opportunities, work compensation and the provision of housing and transportation for employees from far away cities or areas. The universities also do not provide the professors with free computers or internet services on campus. (See a related article, “Not Just Money: Arab-Region Researchers Face a Complex Web of Barriers.”)

Some professors interviewed by Al-Fanar Media also pointed out an absence of incentives for scientific research, and unjust procedures for promotion.

“Academic work has become a burden on university professors,” said an Algerian university professor, who asked not to be named. “There are no incentives to work. This leads to a lack of passion and has turned teaching into a difficult profession.”

The negative consequences of the lack of job benefits are not limited to professors, but affect the entire educational process, especially as many professors stop working (see a related article, “A Professors’ Strike in Libya Reveals a Troubled University System”) and seek opportunities abroad, which causes a great loss in human resources. (See the related articles, “Tunisian Professors Flee the Country for Better Salaries” and New Professors Frozen Out at Lebanese University.)

The failure of officials to respond to professors’ complaints  “pushes many to abandon this profession,” said Asmaa El-Essealy, an assistant professor of ceramic arts at Tanta University, in Egypt.

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Mamdouh Taj, an assistant professor at the library department at Omdurman Islamic University, in Sudan, said the consequences are devastating.

“The results are catastrophic for Sudanese universities, with an estimation of about 13,000 qualified professors who emigrated in recent years to the Arab Gulf states and Europe,” he said. “The lack of interest in improving the status of professors was reflected in a lower quality of university education and the levels of graduates alike.”

Amr El-Tohamy, Tarek Abd El-Galil, Eman Kamel, Aisha Elgayar, Naziha Boussaidi and Roufan Nahhas contributed to this report.

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