April 16, 2021

The University scares foreign talent for their salaries and paperwork | Society

The University scares foreign talent for their salaries and paperwork | Society

In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, with a constant flow of teachers from one country to another, very few foreigners want to work in Spain. In 2017, according to data from the government assessment agency, ANECA, only 20 teachers from universities in the European Union were certified to practice in this country through the specific path planned for it. Only 2.2% of the teachers of the public were foreign last year (2,291) compared to 5.5% of private (1,041). The Red European Education Information Eurydice notes that in 2013 – last available data – in Germany 10.5% of teachers were foreigners, 13.5% in Sweden, 27.3% in the UK or 43% in Switzerland. This percentage is expected to increase in the internationalization of higher education.

"Universities need people who have other experiences, but they do not necessarily have to be foreigners," says Josep Pallarès, general director of Planning in the Field of Universities of Catalonia. "That the teacher has a culture of exchange, that is more permeable to absorb new knowledge."

In recent years, far from importing, Spain has exported academic talent and bureaucracy is the first reason. Why do not they come from outside? The CRUE rectors' conference argues in its 2018 yearbook that foreign top-level scientists are banned for highly qualified positions if they do not accumulate merits that can be formally accredited by the ANECA state evaluation agency.

Second, there are salaries. A full-time professor, holder or professor, in Switzerland charges 180,000 to 240,000 euros per year; in the United Kingdom, from 90,000 to 94,000 euros. In contrast, salaries in Spain do not exceed 70,000 euros.

And, finally, the text of the rectors ends up recognizing the controversial inbreeding, hiring those who grow up at the university itself: "There is a culture of attracting universities from within, with access by their best students to initial categories of teachers of low cost and whose progression is entrusted to the fulfillment of formal requirements …". 73% of teachers have PhDs where they teach.

"The important thing is not the talent attraction programs themselves, but how attractive the system is. Many researchers want to work in other countries because there are guarantees of funding, structural support for the young people who lead their research groups and the real possibility of a career that progresses according to the merits, "says Javier Escudero president of Raicex, a network of associations that bring together 3,500 Spanish scientists abroad. "And all that is missing in Spain. When in this country the system offers guarantees for the future that allow initiating or moving research lines, it will be attractive and both Spaniards who are abroad and foreigners will want to settle there, "he continues. Escudero believes that the salary itself is not as decisive, but lacks a greater flexibility of the Administration to hire.

External tribunals

Raicex celebrates the talent acquisition programs, but it generates some doubts. Escudero, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, suggests: "There must be a competitive concurrence of merits, publicized in English on international websites, and with external evaluation tribunals within a transparent process", something very far from what happens in the current Spanish university. The Humanities discipline doubles the average of foreigners (4.2%), while in the health branch it represents 0.5%. There are also differences between regions. 40% of foreigners are concentrated in Catalonia – Pompeu Fabra has 15.3% of foreign teachers – where the campuses that lead the rankings are located. "The important thing is that universities aim to attract the best faculty. It does not have to be foreign, but if in the contest you do not have any something is wrong, something happens. And for this you need some tools ", reasons the general director Pallarès.

The Generalitat has a successful program to attract talent around the world, the Serra Húnter. "We do not invent anything," says Josep Pallarès. They make an international appeal to fill the positions, the court is half the world and there is a commitment from the university not to take the place before all those interested have been able to apply for accreditation.

Carlos Andradas, rector of the Complutense, despairs: "We are criticized for endogamy, but if I want to campaign to bring professors from other universities, what do I offer?". And he adds: "Does it make sense in a world where you want to compete internationally that there is a salary that is exactly the same for the entire State? Economic incentives are needed to bring someone, controlled for example by social councils so that there are no abuses, "says Andradas, president of Academic Affairs of the CRUE.

The majority union in education, CC OO, does not oppose internationalization, but considers that the priority is to end the current precariousness of hundreds of researchers. "Spain has already shown that it is competitive in scientific production [el décimo país del mundo]. That there are more foreigners does not guarantee that we will be better, "recalls Encina González, secretary of University and Research.

The ministry plans a new figure

José Manuel Pingarrón, general secretary of Universities, recognizes that the current system is not "attractive enough" for foreign teachers because, "besides the bureaucracy, there is the limitation of salaries". Given this scenario, the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities of Pedro Duque intends to hire young people from foreign campuses with a certain trajectory through a new figure of visiting professor. "They are assured of a stable four-year contract and are then allowed to be hired or fixed if they are accredited at that time," he explains. "And if someone very important comes, there is also a way to be exempted from accreditation," he continues.
"Each university, based on its budget, will pay what it estimates," says Pingarrón, although he is aware that this can not be very high and then lower when he becomes an official. But, in reality, communities can put limits on wages. "Ideally, this figure, if it is to attract talent, had a large margins of freedom," claims the rector of the Complutense, Carlos Andradas. "In our calls for box Y Of the hind [programas de contratación] already foreigners compete, the visiting professor is not the only way for them to come, "recalls Encina González, secretary of the University and Research of Workers' Commissions.


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