Letter: Casual staff routinely neglected (2)

May 4, 2001

The article citing 41 per cent of university academic staff on temporary or casual contracts is wrong to present higher education as having the most casualised workforce outside the catering industry.

Further education beats higher education into third place in this depressing league table. Figures from the former Further Education Funding Council show that in 1999 only 45 per cent of teaching/instructing college staff were on permanent professional contracts.

This reflects a rise in fixed, part-time and fractional contracts of 25 per cent since 1993. This section of staff is also less likely to have opportunities for training, updating and professional development.

It is interesting to speculate how such an ephemeral profession, in both further and higher education, can dedicate itself to motivating students for lifelong learning when its own opportunities are not even "'career-long".

Kathryn Ecclestone
Lecturer in post-compulsory education
University of Newcastle

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