A report in today’s edition of The Education Guardian by Jessica Shepherd is a stark reminder to us all – if we needed one – of just how much, in monitory terms, we undervalue teachers and academics,
A study out today shows that a career as a university academic pays less than almost every other graduate profession. Only secondary school teachers and further education lecturers fare worse.
While a university academic earns on average £8.92 an hour, a dentist (in both the private and public sector) is on £12.88, a consultant on £10.75, a doctor on £10.56 and a lawyer on £10.23. Accountants are on £9.63 an hour and pharmacists £9.19. Further education lecturers and secondary school teachers trail behind on £8.38 and £7.91 an hour respectively. These are the findings of a one-year study, Higher Education Academic Salaries in the UK, by Dr James Walker, a management lecturer at Reading University‘s business school, and Dr Anna Vignoles, a reader in the economics of education at the Institute of Education, London.
Of course we get the usual cant we expect from the higher education minister Bill Rammell about “this government’s record on funding higher education (being) the best for decades” which is followed by the usual statistics that tell us just how much this government spending. There is no mention of the fact that the funding would have to come to keep ahead of the game in teaching and teaching methods and that there would have to be even more to fund teaching and teachers. Also, he denies that there is “any evidence of the brain-drain” from teaching. Mind you, the person who is supposed to have suggested that there was a brain-drain did not, if he has been reported correctly, did not say that, What he, Dr James Walker, one of the authors of the report said is this:
“Academic pay is an important policy issue, because if the relative pay of academics falls, it is likely to lead to lower-quality individuals entering and remaining in the profession, as well as a brain-drain to countries that reward academics more highly. These trends are in turn likely to have a knock-on effect on the quality of
UK higher education.”
Things that are “likely” to happen are very different from things that have happened. But of course it suits the minister make the Dr Walker’s warning sound unnecessarily alarmist, and to do that he must make it seem as though he is saying things he’s not if fact said. Ah well, that’s politicians for you.