The beginning of the new year is usually accompanied by hope and anticipation, although it is well known that a new life does not magically begin when the clock strikes twelve. With legislative elections scheduled for the end of January, there are renewed hopes and expectations that in 2022, a new life for science and higher education policies will begin. It is necessary that we all continue to defend the importance and quality of the contributions of scientific research and higher education to the social and economic development of the country, but it is unsustainable that government actions allow to prolong the deterioration of working conditions and the employment of teachers. . and researchers. Therefore, achieving efficacy, recognition and strengthening are our three wishes for “New Year, New Life.”
Making it effective is urgent because contractual instability affects most researchers and nearly half of teachers, and there are indications that it has worsened since the start of the pandemic crisis. In order to be able to characterize these situations more accurately, we need updated statistical data that government bodies have not provided for about three years. We need government policies that encourage and fund institutional practices of contractual stability, rather than being limited to continuous measurement of the results of teaching and research activities without creating the conditions for their achievement.
Recognition is necessary at a time when the quality of performance in science and higher education depends above all on each professional. They were teachers and researchers who, without any government support, obtained technological equipment and mobilized essential resources for their work during periods of confinement. We need a Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education that supports and recognizes the investment and commitment of those who teach and science, creating jobs and working conditions worthy of the quality of the activities carried out in Portugal.
Effectiveness and recognition are necessary, but not sufficient, requirements for strengthening teams and organizations. We need a government that abides by the law that obliges it to review the legal system for higher education institutions, as it should have done ten years ago. It is important to evaluate the positive and negative aspects of this law, because it is crucial to establish patterns of organization and work adapted to the challenges we face today.
That is because, as many studies indicate, the pandemic has exacerbated individualism and undermined the existence of strong groups necessary to achieve good results in research and academic training activities relevant to the socio-economic development of the country. In addition, recent surveys of educators and researchers indicate that the teams and organizations that responded best to the challenges of the pandemic were those in which stable teamwork and a coordinated institutional response were possible.
New Year’s resolutions are often forgotten as the days go by, and the hope and expectations fading out on New Year’s Eve. We hope that, in 2022, effective, recognized and strengthened voices will be implemented through future-oriented higher education and science policies, under the responsibility of the government that will result from the legislative elections in January.
The author writes according to the new spelling convention
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