Modernizing Teacher Education in Ontario
The new Ontario government and the Ontario College of Teachers are modernizing teacher education in the province beginning September 2015. In addition to expanding the program to two years, admissions will be reduced by 50 per cent starting in 2015. This will help address an oversupply of graduates, enabling Ontario's qualified teachers to find jobs in their chosen field.
Teacher education in Ontario began in 1847 with the establishment of the Provincial Normal School in Upper Canada.
For much of the 20th century, teachers required a secondary school diploma and one year of teacher training including coursework and a practicum to teach.
In the 1970s, Ontario expanded the education requirements for teachers to include completing at least an undergraduate degree plus a one-year Bachelor of Education program. Since then, the framework of undergraduate education programs has not seen any fundamental changes.
In 1997, the Ontario College of Teachers was established to regulate and govern the teaching profession, including its certification and standards. The college sets teacher education requirements by regulation under the Ontario College of Teachers Act. It has accredited more than 50 full- and part-time teacher education programs in 18 university faculties of education in the province.
Annual student enrolment will be reduced by half under the new system, from 9,000 to 4,500. There will still be a total of 9,000 students enrolled each year, but they will be split between year one and year two classes. Students will have four semesters of coursework, which will include a minimum of 80 days of practicum work in a classroom.
Currently, teacher education has high per-student funding compared to other programs, such as social work and law. To bring it more in line with other programs, government funding for the program will be reduced.
The government recognizes that the funding change will affect each institution differently. To help manage the implementation, the government will work with individual institutions to finalize enrolment limits and provide one-time funding where needed.