According to the Ministry of Education, 5,600 teaching positions remain vacant before the start of the school year

Some 5,600 teaching posts remain vacant ahead of the next school year, the Education Ministry revealed on Sunday, as teachers are still threatened with strike action before schools reopen on September 1.

The shortage is most acute in Tel Aviv and central Israel, where schools are short by nearly 3,500 teachers, according to data released by the ministry. Other regions are facing staff shortages in the hundreds.

Elementary schools face a shortage of 424 English teachers and 250 science teachers, while special education schools and kindergartens face a shortage of 1,103 teachers, the ministry added. There were also about 460 vacancies for science teachers.

Data uncovered by the Haaretz daily revealed that more teachers left the field after last year compared to previous years. The number of university students pursuing teaching degrees also increased from 13,500 in the 2020-2021 academic year to 11,400 the following year.

Data released in March by the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed a 12% drop in the number of new teachers in the last school year.

Also on Sunday, subsidized daycare centers in Israel threatened not to open for the next school year, accusing the state of “neglecting preschool education for years.”

Israeli teachers demonstrate to demand better wages and working conditions, in Tel Aviv on May 30, 2022. In the front row is teachers’ union leader Yaffa Ben-David (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

State-regulated day care centers in Israel cater for children aged 3 months to 3 years. They are managed by non-profit organizations under government supervision and subsidized by the state. Parents contribute a monthly sum determined by their income, usually around 1,000-2,000 NIS ($290-580). As space is usually limited, parents of a lower socio-economic level are given priority.

At a press conference, the operating groups warned they could not start the school year on September 1 due to ‘serious staff shortages’ and a recent recommendation from the Ministry of Finance to reduce government subsidies to child care centres, which would force parents to be charged more. costs.

Meanwhile, the Israel Teachers Union staged a nationwide strike last month over pay disputes with the Finance Ministry.

Teachers demonstrate outside the home of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on June 28, 2022. (Israel Teachers Union)

According to a statement released by a spokesperson for the teachers’ union, the Ministry of Finance refused to offer more than NIS 8,600 ($2,513) as starting salaries to new teachers and accepted only a small increase. monthly for experienced teachers.

The union demands that new teachers earn a monthly salary of NIS 10,500 ($3,077), as well as a significant increase in salaries for experienced teachers.

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman has acknowledged that salaries for new teachers need to rise, but is also insisting on changing the way teachers take their vacation days to give parents fewer working days when their children don’t have of school.

With schools about a month away from reopening, negotiations between teachers and the government have largely stalled, largely because the caretaker government has been paralyzed during the ongoing election period.

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