Greek professors discovering new prospects in Balkans and Middle East

Albanian and Bulgarian universities are increasingly advertising for Greek professors to take up posts at their institutions, while, according to sources, other professors have used their sabbaticals in order to take up lucrative teaching jobs in countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where the salaries more than make up for the fact that they are not receiving a salary in Greece during this period.

The rector of the University of Ioannina, Triantafyllos Albanis, recently met with a delegation of representatives from private universities in the Albanian capital, Tirana.

?I first met them at a conference in Albania, held in the framework of certain research programs we are working together on. They proposed to meet me at a later date at the University of Ioannina. I accepted, thinking that they wanted to discuss our research programs, but I was in for a shock,? Albanis told Kathimerini, admitting his surprise at learning that there are seven private universities operating in Tirana that follow either American or British curricula and work closely with similar institutions in those countries.

The representatives from these seven universities that met with Albanis wanted to explore whether professors from Ioannina University — and especially in the medical field — would be interested in teaching in Tirana a few days a week. Other than a good supplementary salary, the offer also included travel expenses, a car service from the Greek-Albanian border into Tirana, as well as room and board.

When Albanis told them about the difficulties the idea could pose in terms of professors? obligations to the University of Ioannina, the Albanian delegation had obviously done its homework and responded that as the law requires university professors to do just 6-14 hours of teaching a week, this easily left three days that they could dedicate to another institution.

According to Albanis, the universities that reached out to his institution are new and want to establish a competitive edge by offering program that will attract not just Albanians, but students from all over the Balkans.

Similar invitations, meanwhile, have been extended by Bulgarian universities to professors at the Thrace University Medical School, which is located near the border in Alexandroupoli. He also suggested that there are not enough trained professors in that country to fill the new posts, so university officials are looking to Greece, as well as Italy, to find qualified staff. According to some, the new Balkan openings will also prove a viable option for struggling Greek professors.

Meanwhile, sources told Kathimerini that a number of Greek university professors in the past three years have taken unpaid three-year leaves from the institutions where they work in order to take up better-paid jobs in the Middle East.

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