THE education system could lose more than 1,000 teachers before February, just 12 weeks before the Leaving Cert starts.
Our story today reveals that senior teachers are likely to retire before this date next year to save their pension entitlements being cut.
Such a mass exodus could leave thousands of students without a teacher who would have spent 18 months preparing them for exams.
Teachers are entitled to their pension and a tax-free lump sum based on their 2009 salary under the Croke Park Agreement extension.
But if they decided to retire after February, their pension entitlements will be based on their reduced salary, which was cut in line with public sector pay agreements.
The issue of the cut-off date must be addressed urgently by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn to prevent too many teachers leaving early. Otherwise, chaos could be looming for many Leaving Cert students.