Education Ministry Director General Dalit Stauber has warned that a shortage of teachers may negatively impact the upcoming school year.
According to Stauber, in the past year, approximately 600 teachers left the education system.
"I see worrying signs," she told Kan Reshet Bet. "There is an enormous shortage of preschool teachers, and a drop of 20% in those enrolling to study education. We wanted to sign 100 preschool teachers up for a special program, and 12 signed up."
Stauber added that the shortage was especially felt during the coronavirus outbreaks, and that teachers' salaries and work conditions must be improved.
"During the pandemic we saw how there were no substitutes for a teacher who contracted coronavirus, and so entire classes were closed and sent home. Every year, we have teachers who leave - but this year, the number of those leaving was double. Their work conditions are difficult, and the pay is very low."
On Thursday, Israel Teachers Union Secretary General Yaffa Ben David issued a similar warning, saying, "I am forced to announce that there is a real danger that there will be a problem opening the school year, since we will lack teachers and preschool teachers to open the classes."
"When the month is over, the Education Ministry will be able to see how many requests for unpaid leave it received for the next school year." Ben David also warned that both young teachers and experienced principals may leave, and that there has been a drop in the number of students signing up to study education.
"Entire classes and dozens of preschools" will not be able to open, she stressed. "We must reach a signed salary agreement in the coming June, so that...principals...and teachers entering the education system will know how much they can expect to earn each month. We don't want to protest and we don't want to declare a work dispute. We hope that an agreement will be signed and that we will receive the compensation we deserve, but if we do not succeed we will be forced to take such steps."