Public university teachers demand pay raise

KABUL (Pajhwok): Professors and lecturers of public universities say their salaries and privileges have decreased by 38 percent some months ago

Given the hike in prices of essential items and an increase in job-related obligations, they argue, their salaries must go up.

However, the Ministry of Higher Education (MoH) says it has repeatedly shared the issue of professors’ salaries with the Economic Commission.

According to reports, the caretaker government announced its policy on salary payments to government employees on December 22, 2021.

Under the new procedure, the basic pay of public universities’ professors was fixed at 7,000 afghanis. But their privileges differ based on academic qualifications.

A full professor is paid 46,000afs, associate professor 40,000afs, assistant professor 34,000afs, senior lecturer 25,000afs, lecturer 22,000afs and a junior lecturer 20500afs.

In addition to the basic pay and privileges, a professor holding a PhD is paid an additional 3,000afs, a master’s means an extra 2,000afs and a bachelor’s degree an additional 1,000afs.

Previously, the basic salary of a public university professor was 9,900afs. But a full professor was paid 65,000afs, an associate processor 55,000afs, an assistant professor 45,000afs, a senior lecturer 35,000afs, a lecturer 30,00afs and a junior lecturer 25,000afs.

In addition to the basic pay and privileges, the holder of a PhD degree is paid an extra 6,000afs, masters 4,000afs and bachelor 2,000afs.

Pay doesn’t meet needs

A lecturer at Laghman University, who did not want to be named, complained of pay cuts at a time when their teaching obligations had doubled.

In the past, he added, a lecturer would teach three subjects for six hours. But now they have to teach three subjects for 12 hours.

He grumbled about difficulties in making ends meet with current salaries because prices of food items were higher than ever before.

“When his monthly salary does not meet his/her needs, a lecturer is forced to engage in other activities which may keep him away from studies and research…”

He urged the government to raise their salaries so that lecturers could devote their time to teaching students with undivided attention.

Rahimullah Zirak, a lecturer at the journalism faculty of Kabul University, urged the MoHE to reconsider its decision on cutting teachers’ salaries.

With the separation of classes for girls and boys across the country, he claimed, their responsibilities had increased while their current salaries could not meet their needs.

He recalled: “In the past, teachers of public universities also taught one or half hour in private universities to supplement their incomes.”

But now MoHE has banned professors of public universities from teaching at private universities. “Given our professional obligations, our salaries should not have been slashed.”

Janat Gul Zazai, a lecturer at Paktia University, called his salary too low.  Besides meeting daily needs, he noted, teachers had to do research, write essays and study a variety of books.

“With their current salaries, lectures are unable to do research, because they find it hard meeting their daily needs. The MoHE must pay us at least as much as we got before.”

A number of other lecturers held similar views, urging higher-ups to consider their case sympathetically.

Lotfullah Khairkhwa, deputy minister of higher education, told Pajhwok that salaries had been reduced of all government servants.

He added: “Current salaries’ procedure will not remain the same, we have taken this issue to the Economic Commission many times. Our view is a lecturer deserves more than anyone else.”


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