Academics barred from moonlighting to boost earnings

Academics in Mozambique have been barred from teaching in more than one higher education institution at a time. As in many African countries, there has been growing concern over the work of academics in public universities being compromised by their part-time employment as lecturers in other institutions.

The move, aimed at enhancing higher education, was announced last month by Jorge Nhambiu, the minister of science, technology, higher, technical and professional education. Academics will be restricted to teaching at the university where they are registered.

The minister said measures were necessary to allow the government to control and ensure efficient use of lecturers. The country’s burgeoning higher education sector has 49 public and private institutions.

Higher education institutions were advertising posts and recruiting lecturers who were already teaching in other institutions, and passing them off as their exclusive staff.

The measures

He said one of the measures to be taken was registration of all lecturers in the institutions where they teach.

During the process – which Nhambiu said would be ready in three to four months – there would also be verification of the contractual ties of lecturers. And there would be an assessment of whether lecturers have the minimum required qualifications.

Sandra Brito, national director for higher education in the ministry, said from the capital Maputo that Mozambican law requires education institutions to have adequate full-time staff to successfully deliver their functions.

In this context, Minister Nhambiu had asked higher education institutions to look into the question of academics teaching at multiple institutions, which was seriously eroding teaching quality, Brito said.

“One of our government’s goals is the capacity building of Mozambicans, in parallel with higher education teacher training so that we increase the number of academics enough to assist our students, and therefore respond to the needs of this country,” she told University World News.

Some academics and institutions unhappy

But many higher education institutions and lecturers are unhappy, according to news reports from Mozambique. Critics said the movement of teachers was helping to address the problem of shortages of quality academic staff and was augmenting low academic salaries.

Rector of the Higher Institute of Science and Technology of Mozambique, Leopoldo da Costa, told Voice of America that the decision did not conform to conditions in the country. Salaries paid to lecturers were not competitive and there were not enough people with the technical and scientific skills to teach in universities.

Da Costa said he saw no problem with one of his maths lecturers teaching in another institution, especially since the number of qualified personnel fell far short of requirements. But it was wrong for an academic to teach a discipline in which he or she was not qualified, just to add billable hours.

The Higher Institute of Science and Technology of Mozambique is dependent on teaching staff from institutions such as the flagship Eduardo Mondlane University.

It has long been a complaint of students that staff – particularly at public institutions such as Eduardo Mondlane University – are not sufficiently present because they are teaching elsewhere, earning a second salary, said Rhula Intelligent Solutions.