“Hi there…, another academicals slave.”
These cynical words are shouted by a Ph.D. student, a friend of mine when we meet each other. He is a very senior Australian, more than 60 years old. I and my Chinese friend always laugh hearing that “sarcastic” joke. Although it is just a joke, I think it reflects actual protest behind the words.
In an Australian context, Ph.D. students are doubting about government ability to provide a job that suitable for Ph.D. graduates. The amounts of scholarships are also questioned because they got a scholarship, according to them, is relatively low. In fact, a monthly stipend from the Australian government for Australian students is twice times more than that is provided for non-Australian. Let’s say AusAID scholarship gives about $20 thousand AUD per non-Australian students per year; its mean Australian students can receive about $40 thousand AUD a year. Nevertheless, they are still protesting because, as a comparison, a low-level air conditioning technician can earn more than $50 thousand AUD a year! They are questioning why the government do not appreciate Ph.D. students’ brain because they actually also work, developing new theories and inventories