This is the month when literally millions of students head back to schools across Canada after the summer holidays.
Other than universities, in many locations however there are elementary and high-school teacher shortages.
Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and Nunavut Territory are all reporting teacher shortages. In other provinces there are regional shortages, and shortages in specific subjects.
In combination with rising school enrolments, a substantial wave of teacher retirements has hit schools.
In Ontario this has occurred at the same time as the effects of a major teachers college cutback are being felt.
In 2015, the province acted to prevent an oversupply of teachers by cutting enrolment in teacher training programmes by more than half, from over 12,300 in 2015, to only just over 5,400 in 2018.
Shortages are occurring especially in French-language teaching positions, and in science and math.
The mainly French speaking province of Quebec is saying that many of its teachers are being poached by other provinces.
Although the west coast province of British Columbia received over $500-million to hire new teachers, a shortage still remains. As in other provinces, French immersion, maths and sciences remain as areas needing additional educators.
Costs of living in the major urban centre of Vancouver has been cited as a difficulty in attracting teachers, as well as getting people willing to move out to more smaller and more remote areas, although these reasons could be cited for shortages in major centres like Toronto as well as small towns throughout the country and Nunavut.
Ontario’s Ministry of Education has requested an improved supply and demand forecasting model in order to avoid similar situations in future.
Rebecca Luce-Kapler, the dean of education at Queen’s University, in Kingston Ontario quoted by CBC said, “”To the ministry’s credit, they recognised that their data was not particularly strong,”
“It is now possible for a child in Canada to go through elementary school and high school and never see a male at the front of the class”,Jon Bradley, an associate professor of education at McGill University (Globe and Mail)
Looming behind this is another issue; a lack of male teachers. Recent figures in British Columbia show 75 per cent of teachers are female. Other studies indicated boys performance at school suffers when there is a lack of male role models.
McGill University professor Jon Bradley, in the Globe article said that men make up a mere five per cent of elementary teachers in training, In B.C, a figure quoted was that 90 per cent of teachers in training were female.
There is an ongoing concern that while many programmes such as engineering for example, are trying to actively attract and promote women into the profession, there is no similar movement in the teaching programmes, and that it is increasingly being viewed as a women’s profession only.
Additional information- sources
- CBC: Aug 31/18: BC schools get funding but teacher shortage remains
- CBC:Aug 24/18: Nunavut looking for teachers from Newfoundland
- CBC TV: Sep 3/18: teacher shortage Quebec (video news)
- CBC: Aug 30/18: A Pfeffer: Ontario teacher shortage looming
- Vancouver Sun: D Todd: Apr 18/18: boys suffer from lack of male teachers
- Globe and Mail: C Abraham: Apr 30/18: the endangered male teacher