We are teachers and students of the humanities and social sciences. We are concerned about the disparagement and undervaluing of our subjects of study: the science of people and society. Long-term systemic inequities in the support for science and higher education have recently escalated and threaten the further cultivation of the humanities and their transmission to the next generation.
On International Teachers‘ Day, we want to celebrate the gradual progress being made to remedy the situation of teachers in primary and secondary schools, but to remind the nation that universities have been forgotten. Teachers in university are teachers too. University-level cultivation of the humanities and social sciences is a prerequisite for working with these skills elsewhere: at other education levels, in cultural institutions, and in the government.
Protest is the last resort for us; we would rather devote our time to research, to teaching or studying, or raising our voices on other issues. However, the situation in many workplaces (marked by the departure of talented professionals, and the exhaustion of others; the need to find second or third jobs and the resulting fragmentation of attention needed; the inability to offer prospects to the younger generation, which we are largely losing) forces us to protest publicly. Academic senates, university unions, doctoral student initiatives and student associations are coming together in the preparation of protests.
What are we asking for?
For our teaching work, which includes independent research to advance the current state of research internationally, we are asking for a salary to at least equivalent the average salary in secondary schools. It is scandalous that the basic salary of university teachers in the humanities does not even reach the minimum decent wage.
We call for the correction of the disparity between the various disciplines to be corrected as soon as possible, through the distribution of funds for salaries. We consider it unfair and unlawful for teachers in humanities faculties to receive on average half the salary of their colleagues in other faculties, at the same university for the same work. Our teaching work is just as demanding as theirs. The results of our scientific research are of at least the same quality and internationally recognised.
We support the demand made by the Czech Rectors Conference for a substantial increase in the total amount of funds for higher education so that the proportion of expenditure on higher education in relation to GDP is finally comparable to the average for OECD countries.
We support the demand of the Association of Deans of Faculties of Arts for a rescue grant designated for the humanities and related social sciences, which would provide immediate help in their current dire financial situation and would be a necessary first step before a systemic solution.
We call for a dramatic improvement in the current undignified financial situation of PhD students,As the future of our disciplines depends on their talent and research, uninterrupted by concerns for basic financial survival.