|Part-time Lecturers Protesting for Their Rights (mobile.newsis.com)|
August 1st, 2020 marks exactly one year since the Korean government made legal revisions to the Higher Education Act. The revised act was enacted with the intention of increasing part-time lecturers’ job satisfaction by providing benefits that included a one-year employment guarantee, normal wages during vacation periods, national insurance, and severance pay. Despite protests from universities and lecturers against the implementation of this act, the government decided to look past these claims and push through with the process. Ironically, the legislation that aimed to warrant the long-term employment of part-time lecturers played a crucial role in the expulsion of more than 20,000 of these faculty members from all over the country. According to the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI), in a span of one year, the number of part-time lecturers decreased from 45,027 to nearly half that number. Universities, burdened by the sudden increase in the financial investment required to keep these lecturers employed, decided to dismiss a significant number of part-time employees and turned to adjunct faculty and visiting professors instead. While universities could rely on government fiscal support, the National Assembly Research Service (NARS) presents that the funding allotted to subsidize higher education is notably insufficient, only being about one-third of the necessary resources. What part-time lecturers and universities can hope for is the government to soon come up with fundamental measures to alleviate their respective plights.
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