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Part-time college teachers complain of pay inequality

Part-time college teachers complain of pay inequality

Taipei, April 30 (CNA) Part-time university teachers asked the Ministry of Education Monday to take more seriously the problem of a widening wage gap between them and full-time faculty. Members of the Taiwan Higher Education Union said many part-time college instructors, whose numbers have increased by 63 percent over the last decade, only earn the minimum monthly wage of around NT$18,900 (US$647.90) despite sometimes having to shoulder workloads equal to those of their full-time peers. The union members summarized seven other types of atypical employment commonly seen on university campuses, including interns, research assistants and contract administrative workers, and demanded reasonable treatment for them. These non-standard employees are exploited by the universities, the members added. As the number of full-time faculty positions are reduced, universities tend to hire several part-time instructors, particularly new doctoral graduates, to share the work of one full-time one, said the union members. Part-time teachers are not eligible for the same teaching and research resources since they cannot apply for research projects independently, and they also miss out on pensions and insurance, they added. Moreover, female part-time instructors are not allowed to take maternity leave, which is tantamount to a ban on them becoming pregnant, they added. Representatives of the National Taiwan University union also said the principle of the scholarship system has been twisted and violated because universities treat scholarship and grant recipients as part-time workers. Some low-income students who receive grants are expected to work for as much as 50 hours per semester on campus, they pointed out. In response, the ministry said in a statement that universities are free to determine wages according to each part-time teacher's contribution. Further, it went on, learning is not limited to classes. Through internships and research assistant jobs, students can also gain more hands-on experience. The ministry said the flexible employment of educators and researchers, as well as the diverse forms of learning available in universities, are different from what the union referred to as atypical labor and should not be compared with the normal labor market. (By Lin Szu-yu and Kendra Lin)


Updated : 2021-02-26 04:37 GMT+08:00