Thursday, December 20, 2007

Strike in the University

You probably don't know about this but all the universities in Israel (there are seven) are partially close for about two month now. The professors are on strike so they just don't show up.
They have a serious disagreement with the treasury. In Israel the professors salary is payed by the universities, but all the agreements about it are done with the government. Or more precisely are not done at all. The last contract they had ended a few years ago and the government simply refused to do a new contract. It lasted in this way for a few years and all went well - except for the inflation. Because of inflation the professors lost about 35% of their salary. At the end of last year they tried to begin talks with government officials about this but without any success.
This year they decided not to show up to classes until their demands are met. It didn't help. As far as I know the government refused to acknowledge the problem and they even said they don't care if the semester will be canceled because of this.
The students are the main victims in all of this, but for different reasons they prefer to wait and see what happens. Officially they support the professors, but many of them a very angry.
Personally I support the professors. I didn't go to any of the demonstrations and I don't plan to go. Partially it is because half of my courses are taught despite the strike but mainly because I simply don't see any point in such demonstrations. The government already showed clearly what they want. Their plan is to modify the universities so that they will bring immediate profit. It was already stated in a public enough way. As a side note there is even a poster near the entrance to the Hebrew University - "We want education not education ltd." So what is needed is a change of policy. And for this to happen ... only God knows what can cause this.
I hope the strike will end soon and that the professors will get what they want.

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