10,000 less teachers forecast by 2013

Knesset data shows reasons are "sharp" decline in the status of teachers and lack of young teachers to replace aging ones.

teacher blackboard (photo credit: )
teacher blackboard
(photo credit: )
The country's education system could see the loss of more than 10,000 teachers over the next five years, according to a statement released by the Knesset Education Committee on Wednesday. MK Michael Melchior, the head of the Education Committee, said, "This data presents a very real danger to education in Israel." Taking into account teachers from the various educational sectors in the country - Arab, haredi, religious and public schools - the combined total of the forecasted reduction over a five-year span was 10,658 teachers. "Teachers are the basic educational force in this country," Melchior said. "And the ultimate test of the education system is to bring in well-qualified teachers that fit the system. The current situation should worry us all and cause us to act in an immediate way to prevent the forecasted drop from taking place." But the reasons given for the projected loss will not be easy to overcome. The Education Committee presented two main factors leading to the forecasted drop, including what it called a "sharp" decline in the status of teachers and a lack of young teachers coming in to replace aging ones. The decline of status mainly alludes to the low wage teachers are paid, as well as the lack of opportunities for advancement in the field. But the decline in status was also tied to the second reason - a lack of young teachers filling in for older ones - because young people have less and less of an incentive to join the teaching workforce. Also quoted in the brief was Zion Shabbat, a manager of the teachers' human resources department for the Education committee, who said, "There is no one-time, cure-all solution for these problems. While there is plenty of data on teachers and their situations, that information is constantly changing." However, the statement did recommend more incentives to bring in young, qualified teachers, as their participation in the education system is what ensures its future.