Salary Increment to Enhance Teachers' Productivity

Dec 4 , 2022
By Abraham Tekle

The founder of the Addis Abeba University, Emperor Haile Selassie, tried to modernise education during his reign. Designed to meet the west's standard, the facility kept a firm hold over what happened inside the compound. Its leaders went to the extent of censuring the first student newspapers.

The tight censorship of thoughts and actions might have been one of the symbolic factors that frustrated students and pushed them to demand changes in his Imperial rule. The unrest began to boil among university students in the 1960s, becoming a full-fledged movement in the following decade, when these students started their push for sweeping political and social changes.

History recorded what unfolded.

Fast forward to this date, it is the teachers' turn to strike. Their purpose has little to do with the censorship of ideas but with the question of survival. They struggle to cope with their salaries to survive the skyrocketed cost of living, particularly in the capital. Teachers and their technical assistants working in all universities have petitioned the Minister of Education and members of Parliament through their associations, warning that they will go on strike for an indefinite period beginning this week unless their demands are met.

Leaders of these associations have also warned that actions the teachers might take will bring crises, affecting the educational processes primarily for the students. They complained the Ministry is affecting the quality of education and has become a setback failing to respond to teachers' demands and ignoring them.

Teachers are being forced into poverty by universities. The most significant disruption in the learning and teaching process is financial instability.

A university lecturer gets a gross monthly salary of close to 11,305 Br. High school teachers with undergraduate degrees are paid 12,500 Br, and those with post-graduate degrees receive more. Our academician cannot pay their bills and are in a difficult situation to cope with. It needs a thorough understanding and solving mechanisms. If the authorities in the education sector fail to respond to their plight, the disruption can affect students and the learning schedule as the pandemic did before.

Education is the net effect of development; it is indispensable to building a society. There is no better time for the government to do the right thing for teachers. Its officials need to pay attention to these demands and come to terms through negotiations. The Ministry should be flexible in addressing the issue. Any short-term agreement leads to more chaos in the future. Both parties should deal with the strike as the university academicians deserve better treatment. So do students need to stop paying the price for something they have no part in.

The strike the university community warns about would require engagement in good faith. If the long-term plan is managed well, satisfying the teachers' demands, their productivity will show up soon. However, none of this will be easy. But if the demands are not addressed in time, they might end up in an even worse situation than the Emperor's time, where a simple campaign can spread to other institutions much quicker in the digital era.

The Ministry should reach out to the lecturers and show solidarity. Academicians are the foundation for the future we crave to see, as skilled human capital plays a vital role in building a nation. Policymakers should think about and mobilise resources and implement a system that benefits academics through career ladders. Acknowledging their current plight and having the will to engage them in earnest would do good to ease the already tense situation.

PUBLISHED ON Dec 04,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1179]

( is a graduate of Journalism and Communications from AAU and Fortune’s Deputy Editor-in-Chief whose interests are the value of society and accurate information.

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