Israel's education system in shortage of nearly 6,000 teachers

According to the data released by the ministry, 5,671 staffers are currently missing from the roster.

A school classroom is seen empty in Jerusalem's Beit Hakerem. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A school classroom is seen empty in Jerusalem's Beit Hakerem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Israel currently has a deficit of nearly 6,000 teachers, mostly in educational institutions in the center of the country, the Education Ministry announced on Sunday, just six weeks before the opening of the school year. 

According to data released by the ministry, 5,671 staffers are missing from the roster. When broken down by study level, the greatest shortage is in elementary schools — 2,351 teachers. 

"We are in the midst of the peak of a human resources shortage that has only gotten worse in the last few years and is seriously endangering the future of Israel's education system," said Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope.) 

"We are in the midst of the peak of a human resources shortage that has only gotten worse in the last few years and is seriously endangering the future of Israel's education system."

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope)

In the older grades, there is a shortage of 1,245 teachers; in the special education sphere there is a shortage of 1,103 teachers; in middle school, there is a shortage of 855 teachers and the kindergartens are missing 117 teachers. 

Education Minister Yifat Shasha Biton (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Education Minister Yifat Shasha Biton (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Which teaching subjects are the most lacking? 

There is a shortage of 1,495 educators, 871 English teachers, 352 math teachers and 329 Hebrew teachers. Location-wise, the region of Tel Aviv is experiencing the greatest shortage, according to the new data — 1,847. 

The center of Israel follows, with a shortage of 1,642 teachers. In the settlement region, there is a shortage of 948 teachers; in the Haifa region, there is a shortage of 457 teachers; in the Jerusalem region, there is a shortage of 305 teachers; in the South, there is a shortage of 340 teachers and in the North, there is a shortage of 132 teachers.

"Israel's education system is in a state of collapse," said the Teachers Union in response to the data. "For years, we have been decrying the intense shortage we are experiencing. 

"The fight to raise the wages of teachers and improving their experience is in in everybody's interest," the Union added. 

Union head Yaffa Ben David added: "There are not enough teachers in teh ssytem. They run away from the field because of the pay and the horrific conditions." 

Ben David urged the current government to act quickly, "if a wage deal is not signed soon, the school year will not begin on the 1st of September and parents will know perfectly well who is responsible." 

A tense history 

In late June, schools across Israel shut down as a dispute between the Teachers Union and the government over low wages and the quality of teachers hired. This was the culmination of stalled talks between the Union and the Finance Ministry and followed multiple smaller strikes.