April 19, 2024

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A professor teaches a class at Pompeu Fabra University, in a file image.
A professor teaches a class at Pompeu Fabra University, in a file image.Quique Garcia (EFE)

The shock plan promoted by the Department of Universities to reduce the precariousness of university professors, endowed with 65 million, will result in the creation of 820 teaching posts (mostly reading) in the next three years. The number is large, but it will only reach 15% of the potential associate professors (5,270) who could benefit from the plan. The counselor Joaquim Nadal has highlighted that “it is the beginning to reverse a situation that, as a consequence of the crisis, placed the universities in a paralysis of their staff”. “Probably zero is not possible, but in 10 years we could be in trouble in a testimonial situation. For those who think that it is little, this is better than nothing ”, the counselor stressed.

The problem arose with the crisis 15 years ago, when the opposition tap was closed, so the only way that the universities found to hire teaching staff to replace retirements was to resort to the figure of the associate professor. Over the years, the flow timidly began to open, but until 2017 the rate of 100% retirement replacement was not recovered. In the last two years it has stood at 120% in order to recover some ground lost during the cuts.

Currently the universities have a total of 9,000 associate professors, with temporary contracts and precarious salaries, which represents 48% of the entire staff. Of these, 5,270 have contracts for five or more years at the same university. The new Law on Universities, the LOSU, obliges campuses to reduce said precariousness and have a minimum of 51% civil servants (Catalan universities are currently at 30%).

For this reason, the Generalitat decided to launch the so-called crash plan for generational relief and against precariousness, which will have a total of 65 million for three years. It starts this year with 15 million (10 for teachers and 5 for administrative staff), and will continue with 10 million in the next two years, to which the amount from previous years will be consolidated.

The forecast is to create a total of 820 places in three years. Most of them will be vacancies for reading professors, also a temporary contract, but full-time, but with salaries that can double that of the current associate, also temporary, but with part-time hours of a maximum of six hours of class per week.

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As for the administrative staff, the universities asked for new, more trained profiles so that they can adapt to the new needs, so positions will be created that could be used to incorporate new staff or to promote existing ones.

The objective of the plan is to reduce the excess of the figures of temporary and precarious teachers, such as associates, but also to help rejuvenate the workforce, at a time when a large volume of retirements is expected. Thus, this year 217 are expected, but 724 in the next three years. And it is that 30% of university teachers are over 60 years of age.

In this way, universities begin to create a flood of places. In addition to those covered by the shock plan, the campuses also plan to convene additional ones, also focused on reducing these more precarious contracts and that the campuses will finance with their own funds. Thus, the UB announces 60 additional places, the UPC 50 or the Lleida 22, also for lecturers. At the same time, the Serra Húnter plan will have 19 million to create 72 places, the majority of readers. 2.4 million will also be available to stabilize and prolong the academic career of 60 postdocs.

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