January 30, 2012. 11:52 am • Section: Report Card
By Janet Steffenhagen
Young people interested in a teaching career need to know there are three applicants in British Columbia for every one position that becomes available in the K-12 school system, says Education Minister George Abbott.
“We need to be honest with students … about where their opportunities in the future may lie,” the minister said in an interview after a stalemate in teacher bargaining raised questions about whether B.C. needs to match higher salaries in other provinces to retain teachers.
Abbott says that’s not a concern because there are 2,700 to 2,800 teachers looking for work in any given year but only about 800 job openings in schools. The over-abundance of teachers is an issue Abbott said he intends to raise with the Association of B.C. Deans of Education (ABCDE) during a meeting set for spring.
The teaching pool includes new graduates from B.C.’s nine teacher education programs as well as teachers who have moved to B.C. from other jurisdictions. According to the most recent statistics available, the former B.C. College of Teachers certified 824 teachers who moved to B.C. from out-of-province in 2009-10 and issued 475 statements of standing for B.C. teachers relocating to other jurisdictions.
Abbott acknowledged that an education degree provides students with skills that can be used for other types of work but said it’s important for students to have the facts about job opportunities, given labour shortages in other fields.
Until he discusses his concerns with education deans, Abbott declined to comment on whether his government would consider a cap on enrolments in teacher education programs. “It would be premature for me to form any conclusion,” he stated.
By Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun