Academics’ retirement age may be upped to 80

2012-03-03 07:56

South Africa is considering increasing the retirement age for university professors from 60 to 80, in a move welcomed by the National Tertiary Education Union yesterday.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Thursday it was counter-productive to let university professors and lecturers retire at 60, when they could still help train desperately needed skilled professionals.

“We welcome the suggestion. We think it would play a remarkable role in retaining skilled academics,” the union’s president Norman Kemp said on Friday.

“Universities are currently struggling to attract the right people. Younger people are not interested in joining academics. They prefer working for the private sector.”

Sixty is the national retirement age for academics, though universities can extend professors’ tenure on a case-by-case basis.

“The average age of a South African academic as of 2012 is 59, so we are looking at this within the broader scheme of revitalising the academic profession,” Nzimande told a press conference.

“Some professors at 80 are as sharp as anything,” he added. “At some universities in South Africa they retire at 60.”

The proposal came as the government this year announced plans to build two new universities to help meet increased demand for higher education in the face of a 24% unemployment rate.

Nzimande said South Africa would recruit academics from major trading partners such as Brazil, China, India and Russia to staff the new universities.

The country currently has 17 public universities, all built by the apartheid government before 1994, and six institutes of technology.

The number of students enrolled in public higher education rose from 578 000 in 2000 to nearly 900 000 in 2010, with 46 579 professors and lecturers, according to the ministry.

Higher education, which was almost completely off-limits to blacks under apartheid, has proved to be one of democratic South Africa’s biggest challenges.

South Africa has one engineer per 3 166 people, for example, compared to 227 in Brazil and 543 in Malaysia, two other emerging economies.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.