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University lecturers in Ethiopia do not have a legal right to pension

University lecturers in Ethiopia do not have a legal right to pension

It may be surprise news for most university lecturers in Ethiopia
to hear that they are not covered by the recent public pension law. The Public Servants’
Pension Proclamation No. 714/2011 generally provides pension coverage to
“public servants.” who are of Ethiopian nationals. University
lecturers, mainly those in the public universities qualify the definition of
public servants, hence should have been entitled to pension. The problem is not
all public servants have a legal right to pension according to the Public Servants’
Pension Proclamation.

Public servant is defined in article 2 sub 1 as
“a person permanently employed in any public office, and includes
government appointees, members of parliament, members of the defense force and
the police.”

Does this definition consider an academic staff of a public
University as a public servant? Thanks to the wider definition of public office
in article 2 sub 5 we may safely conclude that an academic staff is a public
servant. Article 2 sub 5 defines a public office as “any government
office, institution or organ wholly or partly run by government budget, and
includes public institutions and enterprises run by their own income”

However, Even though university lecturers are public servants,
they are not still legally qualified to pension coverage. A public servant for
the purpose of pension coverage includes only those who are “permanently employed
(article 2 sub1 of proclamation no 714/2011)

By way of conclusion, since university lecturers are not permanent
employees of the institution, they can not legally claim pension coverage based
on proclamation no 714/2011.

The fact that tenure employment is a privilege not a right has
been made clear by the higher education proclamation no 650/2009. According to
article 33 sub 1, tenured employment of academic staff constitutes a privilege
to be attained through meritorious continuous service and outstanding scholarly
teaching and/or research or institutional leadership achievements as an
incentive to encourage academics to continue to excel in their professions.

A tenured academic staff in addition to his entitlement to
pension, shall have job security, and may not be dismissed from his position
unless he has committed a serious breach of discipline as stipulated by the
senate statutes of the public institution.

The most surprising (may be confusing) fact is not the absence of
legally recognized right to pension for academic staffs of public university.

In practice, pension contribution is collected from all university
lecturers. To make it clear, even though they are not legally entitled to
pension, practically pension contribution is deducted from their salary every

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