Raising the retirement age for university professors in Syria… What’s behind it?

A shortage of teaching staff in Syrian universities, due to the emigration of a large number of university professors, and another section going to private universities, has left a void in public universities, and this seems to have led to the creation of alternatives, including internal delegation on the one hand, and increasing the retirement age for other professors of On the other hand.

Controversy over retirement

Various questions, controversies and divisions among professors, raised by the draft law that the Council of Ministers is working on to amend the University Organization Act, and increase the retirement age for university professors by five years to become (Professor 75 years) old in the new project, Assistant -professor 70 years old, the teacher 65 years old, and the addition of members of the technical staff of The rank of business supervisor and business manager to become 65 years old, instead of 60 at present), according to a report by the local ” Athar Press” website, yesterday, Thursday.

Where a number of professors in theoretical branches see the project as an opportunity to obtain compensation, especially compensation for the first and second sabbatical until the end of life, while some in the scientific branches, working in private universities, and have external work and consultations, considered it illogical for a university professor to enter the age of 70 years in a stadium that houses 600 male and female students in educational conditions and tools that do not serve it, and in their opinion is it more appropriate to leave the field open to the younger generation to present their creativity.

The report quoted one of the professors (67 years old), who is a topographical expert, as saying that he enjoys giving a lecture to master’s or doctoral students in their small numbers (about 20 students). It must accompany becomes of an action plan to take advantage of these lasting experiences and not to expand just for the sake of expansion, and there are many ideas, and the Ministry of Higher Education should move to take advantage of these experiences, and distance education can be one of these ideas or create an educational channel and open dialogue sessions with these experiences to benefit from trying them out.

On the other hand, other professors believe that the expansion project deters young people from taking their chances, especially since science is in a constant acceleration, especially technical, software and languages. Improving the wages of a university professor in public universities, such as a part-time professor in private universities, paying attention to scientific research, increasing the remuneration for the study of master’s and doctoral theses, increasing the remuneration for writing a book, setting up strict controls for transfer to the rank of professor, and the compensation for those who move to this rank very rewarding need after retirement.

Another professor believes that addressing the shortage of teaching staff is by opening up the internal delegation, and not relying only on external delegation, as many young people go on external delegations and do not return, pointing out that registration for master’s and doctoral degrees are open, and it is possible to take a large number of Teaching Assistants, especially from the specialties with a large shortage to solve the problem of shortage.

For her part, a university professor asked on her Facebook page: “Is raising the retirement age for faculty members the solution?” She added, “The number of faculty members, according to data from higher education, decreased by 20 percent between 2011 and 2020. , despite this. The large shortage was announced during the ten years only for one competition to appoint faculty members, which marred by many faults.”

According to the professor, the largest decrease was in the category of teachers, which is approaching a quarter of the numbers, as the number of teachers decreased by 23.4 percent between 2011 and 2020, and the largest numbers were among the teaching assistants, in which the percentage of drop reached 26.84%, considering that public universities are no longer able to convince a segment Young people are employed in it, but instead play the role of a deterrent for continuity and survival in it.

Read: Increase in private university tuition fees in Syria

Shortage of university cadres

Universities have not been exempt from the damaging effects of the conflict in Syria, as most of them have lost a large part of their teaching staff due to travel outside the country, retirement or other reasons. Given their preference for private universities, which offer the best financial returns, there can be a large gap between the number of cadres required and the number of cadres available. This can affect the quality of the education process in universities, which can have an impact on how they are ranked.

A previous report by Al-Hol.net quoted the head of the Department of Mechanical Design Engineering at the Faculty of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Damascus University, Khaled Sharaf, as saying that the essential factors are the main reason contributing to the shortage of educational cadres in universities, what are the difficult living conditions, low wages, and displacement Faculty members to work in institutions and private institutions. Due to the harsh conditions, the high rates of poverty and the high cost of living, there is a high rate of brain and cadre migration to other countries.

According to Sharaf, the majority of Damascus University graduate students sent by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to study abroad have not returned.

This shortage of cadres has negatively affected the classification of Syrian universities. It is well known that universities are classified according to many criteria, including the ratio of faculty to the number of students, the quality of education, the level of faculty members, both the academic level of faculty members , published scientific research, and the scope The presence of the university in research on the Internet, but the shortage of teaching staff, has led to the decline of Syrian universities and their classification on a global scale.

The shortage of cadres and staff at universities has also created a clear delay in the issuance of results and documents for students and university certificates, and this has left a clear impact on students in Syria.

In the same context, a study by the Harmon Center for Studies, on higher education and its future, concluded that the destruction of the infrastructure of Syrian universities as a result of the civil conflict in the country; University education in Syria after 2011 has been characterized by disintegration and collapse in most Syrian universities, especially in areas that have seen devastating military fighting; Where some colleges and educational facilities affiliated to universities were partially destroyed, and some were completely destroyed; As well as a clear cut in the budget of government spending on higher education during the previous years.

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Remote universities and the issue of recognition

In the context of the recognition of remote universities, a controversy recently arose in Syria, regarding the legality of the opening of the British University for Distance Education, to issue official statements confirming that this university is not recognized in Syria, and that it is not licensed by the Ministry. of Higher Education and Scientific Research, but only recognized is The Syrian Virtual University affiliated with the Ministry of Higher Education, according to a previous report by “Al-Hol Net.”

At the end of last month, Hassan Al-Nouri, the former Minister of Administrative Development and the former presidential candidate, announced through a video clip the launch of the doctoral program in business administration through distance learning at the American Leadership University in Florida. , in collaboration with the MHR Academy, highlights the possibility of registering students who want to obtain a PhD in Syria.

However, those in charge of this university indicated that until now it is not recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, but it is recognized in several countries abroad, as they say, in addition to the recognition of the degree by private sector companies within Syria.

For his part, the Director of Scientific Research at the Ministry of Higher Education, Yasser Khadra, explained that the recognition of any non-Syrian educational institution takes place according to specific rules established by the Council for Higher Education in the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research by Resolution No. 339 of 16/7/2020, according to the report.

Also read: Syrian universities… Continue with farce of exam questions

According to a previous report by Al-Hol Net, the situation of Syrian universities deteriorated significantly after 2011 and became at the lowest levels due to the increasing level of corruption, the lack of resources, the stagnation of educational curricula, the militarization of university campuses and brain drain, and thus the destruction of the entire higher education system, as confirmed by many From researchers in international universities, including the University of “Cambridge”.

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