Student with laptop at Bezalel library 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
MK Amram Mitzna, the chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, pledged on
Tuesday to address the need of finding a solution to reduce the number of
subcontracted lecturers in the higher education system.
request of Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On and MK Dov Henin, Mitzna will appoint
a subcommittee to examine the issue, which will be ready to formulate
recommendations on the subject by the end of the academic year.
decision was made during a committee meeting that came after a report by the
Knesset Research and Information Center indicating that some 66 percent of
public college lecturers are employed from outside of the higher education
They are subcontracted workers without job security, title or
future academic growth.
The research, which was initiated by Gal-On and
Henin, also showed that about 37% of the lecturers in private colleges are
external teachers and in universities, about 40% of the teaching positions are
occupied by either junior faculty or foreign fellows.
In addition, a
study recently published by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies
– as part
of its forthcoming State of the Nation Report 2013 – revealed that Israel’s top
universities have fewer senior faculty positions today than they did four
The figures showed that between 1973 and 2010, student
population in research universities expanded by 157% and the number of students
in the entire higher education system – including colleges – rose by 428%. Yet,
the number of senior faculty rose by only 9% in research universities, while the
overall number of senior academic faculty in all of the colleges and
universities rose by only 40%.
The size of the academic faculty at the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University has declined over the
past three and a half decades, and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
has also lost over a quarter of the faculty positions that it had nearly four
Between 1977 and 2010, the number of students per senior
faculty member has more than doubled.
The Taub Center study added that
universities in Israel brought in external lecturers in rapidly increasing
numbers to replace the tenured and tenure-track research faculty and fill the
In 1986, the external teachers represented 13% of the
senior research faculty. By 2010, this ratio had risen to 46%. Almost half of
the university lecturers today are not on the research faculty.
Education Committee of the Knesset must come to grips with this employment
system or at least reduce the extent of the phenomenon,” Gal-On said during the
“The future of higher education, the future of Israeli
society is in the hands of all those teachers currently employed in substandard
“If we want to save the academia, if we wish to stop the
brain drain and let successful researchers rise here, we urgently need to
eliminate this method and allocate the resources and funds needed to stop
employing workers like slaves.”
MK Henin added that “the problematic
employment of teachers from outside, without standard conditions and without job
security, has become the norm in the academic system and is responsible for the
phenomenon of brain drain.”
“There is a need here for rapid change,” he
“Instead of the revolving door used to bring young researchers
back to Israel, we have to adopt a policy of keeping them here and now.”