When it comes to working in higher education and research, French academics feel proud but also upset. They suffer from a profound lack of recognition and are making their unhappiness known. This is what stands out in the 2014 EducPros - Chercheurs d'Actu Barometer survey on French academics’ morale.
Together, EducPros and Chercheurs d’Actu have launched a survey on the morale of higher education and research professionals. Over 2,000 people responded to the survey. The primary results are listed below.
The academic community is torn between pride and concern
82% of respondents state that they find their work to be satisfying and four out of five of them report that they enjoy working with their colleagues. Respondents are firmly convinced that their establishment’s work is of use to society, with over 90% of them in agreement. In addition, three-quarters of those surveyed say that they are proud to work for their employer. This sentiment prevails regardless of the discipline and type of establishment.
However, the EducPros 2014 Barometer also reveals that professionals throughout French academia are deeply upset. Two-thirds of our 2,000 survey participants indicate that they do not feel enthusiastic about their establishment’s future. Moreover, close to half of them admit to feeling a lack of motivation in their work.
Are teacher/researchers on the brink of disaster?
According to François Sarfati, sociologist at the French Center for Employment Studies (CEE), "It remains to be seen if these factors will lead to a state of resignation or revolt.” In his opinion, the Barometer’s main finding with regards to the morale of French higher education and research professionals is that teacher/researchers are unhappy.
Higher education: society's forgotten stepchild?
Nearly two-thirds of higher education and research professionals feel that their work is undervalued, both within their establishment and to a greater extent, in society at large. This lack of societal recognition is particularly blatant in universities and among teacher/researchers, especially in the humanities and social sciences.
Has student success fallen by the wayside?
Teachers and administrative staff feel that there is not adequate support for their educational work. This despite the fact that student success has been one of the stated priorities of French Minister for Higher Education and Research Geneviève Fioraso since the beginning of Hollande's presidency.
The morale of the academic community: France versus England
The EducPros 2014 Barometer on the morale of higher education and research professionals is based on a study carried out by the Times Higher Education. While both the English and French survey participants report that they are glad to work in this field, their opinions differ when it comes to their salary and outlook on the future. The French are more pessimistic on these two topics.
Morale is worse in the humanities and social sciences
The responses of the 2,000 participants in the EducPros Barometer on the morale of higher education and research professionals vary depending on whether they work in the humanities (art, literature, foreign languages and social sciences), the hard sciences and health sciences, law, economics or business administration.
Young researchers are not doing well
While young researchers are motivated, they feel exploited. Laetitia Gérard, who holds a PhD in educational science, studied the responses of PhD and post-doctoral students in the 2014 Barometer on the morale of higher education and research professionals.
According to Gérard, their answers “attest to the difficulty of their working conditions. Half of respondents feel that they are not supported in their work as teachers. Whether they throw themselves into their teaching or botch it completely, the feedback from their superiors remains the same: radio silence. This is cause for concern.”
Overworked staff in higher education and research
Romain Pierronnet, a PhD student in business administration, is writing his thesis on administrative staff in higher education and research. Pierronnet describes the results as revealing “a management problem in higher education and research.”
Translated by Nina Fink | Publié le