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Academic Tenure and Its Abolishing Report

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Updated: Dec 22nd, 2021

Introduction

This paper will discuss reasons why academic tenure should be abolished. When an academic tenure is awarded to learning institutions, members of the institution become entitled to rights such as permanent employment. The main objective of an academic tenure is to allow teachers after the probation period land a permanent job that can only be terminated under extreme circumstances like gross violation of the working regulations or attaining a retirement age.

Academic tenure has been viewed as discriminatory in that it does not cover all players in the academic sector. Academic tenure only covers faculty members in colleges and universities, who are involved in research and teaching. The tenure is also aligned to the real mission of the particular institution that has been offered the tenure.

Why Academic Tenure should be abolished

The tenure system discriminates against teachers in secondary and primary school. At this level, the content taught to students is considered basic and that the teachers are not involved in academic activities that can lead to discoveries or produce real scientific solutions (De George 7). Another justification is that teachers are not directly involved in research or production of publications. This consideration is not fair though these teachers are still guaranteed permanent jobs. The justification reduces the working spirit of teachers at the primary and secondary schools as their work is relatively considered basic. Basically the work of secondary and primary school teachers and that of teachers at junior and universities is the same. The only difference is the nature and type of institutions they work.

The tenure system ignores the aspect of competency in giving faculty members the right to the permanent job. It worthy noting that excelling in academics, earning a PhD for example does not necessary translate to the ability to be a good teacher, researcher or author. By awarding the continuous work privilege on a blanket basis based on academic qualification alone leaves out more that should be put to scrutiny to establish the meritocracy of candidate for an academic tenure. De George indicates that many professors fail to “attain their professional obligations by failing to attend their classes, or even publishing in their areas of specialization” (8).

Research also indicates that teachers do everything to attain the tenure within the first six years of employment. Attainment of the tenure becomes an incentive for them to work hard and show their merit for the tenure. Once they attain the tenure, most teachers relax, their performance goes down with time due to lack of more incentive for them to work hard. Such teachers De George indicates that begin exhibiting trends of laziness such as “failing to publish, spending less time with students and spending less time in the office” (17). Employees work harder if they are subjected to performance contracts rather than when they are given freedom to work on continuous work basis.

There is also the point of inefficiency in institutions where by an institution employees numerous permanent employees who become an economic burden to the institution. In the modern world, many enterprises have embraced the approach of reducing the number of employees to cut down on costs. To this perspective, they utilize temporary employees. Tenure system does not allow the laying off of employees in order to cut down on costs. Because of this, these institutions have remained uncompetitive in the education sector because of incurring high costs on the salary of employees.

Many other citizens work in environments where sacking is the order of the day. Teachers in higher learning institutions should be treated equally. Giving them a favorable working condition is tantamount to giving them special treatment yet we are citizens of the same county, all of us should be treated same by the laws that govern us. The process of awarding tenure is also viewed as faulty in the sense that it is the professors who are tenured that award the tenure to those working under probation. This puts the untenured professors to work under the mercies of the tenured professors. This being the case, merit may not be the strict measure for award of tenure.

In some cases, non merit measuring factors such as ethnicity, race and gender have been used to determine if the professor is given a tenure or not. This approach undermines the whole process of awarding the tenure. It would work better if an independent body was given the responsibility to appoint who should be awarded the tenure basing on merit and not other factors.

In conclusion, academic tenure plays a critical role in precipitating discrimination in schools. Primary and secondary schools have been affected by this tenure. Because the mode of study is always basic, not centered towards scientific innovation, it leaves most students not able to develop innovative skills when they finish their schooling. Furthermore, teachers have been reluctant publishing academic books and resources to aid learning despite of their jobs being secure. So, academic tenure should be abolished to enhance quality and comprehensive learning in schools.

Works Cited

De George, Richard T. Academic Freedom and Tenure: Ethical Issues. Boston: Rowman & Littlefield publishers Inc., 1997.

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