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December 1998

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College Must Work With Other Stakeholders
to Address Looming Teacher Shortage

The College is making progress on many issues as Council refines procedures and policies step by step. But a new study by the College shows a crisis looming in the supply of qualified teachers as the generation of educators who entered the system in the 1960s retires.

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By Donna Marie Kennedy

The lively debates at the most recent Council meeting didn’t prevent the members from making a great deal of progress on a number of important issues. Some of the lengthier discussions centred on the criminal records screening policy, the Election Committee report and the Accreditation Committee report.

You can find a detailed report about the criminal records screening policy in the Blue Pages of this issue. The policy was a result of extensive discussions, research, consultation and compromise. The committee that Council established to create the criminal records screening policy was indeed a large one. With 10 elected and appointed members, it involved almost one-third of Council members in the development of this policy, and much of the debate that shaped it occurred at the committee and executive tables. In the end, Council unanimously endorsed the policy.

The discussions around the Election Committee report proved to be equally lively. The changes in Bill 160 make the revamping of the election regulation a complicated assignment.


To ensure a fair and equitable election process for more than 165,000 people from one end of the province to the other is a daunting task and one that the Election Committee will struggle with in the coming months. We hope that the recommendation that will be required for the new regulation will be ready for the December Council meeting.

Equally lengthy debate surrounded the Accreditation Committee report. The specific concerns raised by Council members centred on the reporting procedures of recommendations made by the panels accrediting faculties of education. The chair of Accreditation was able to assure Council members that in future a more detailed reporting mechanism will be in place for both the public and the Council.

It’s evident that the policies and procedures of the College and many of its committees are in a state of evolution in these early stages. It is important that we do things in a logical and sequential manner. Pilot projects have been established in order to correct, fine tune, rethink or further clarify procedures and policies. In the end this methodical approach to developing our working documents and systems will, I believe, serve us well.


The cover story in this issue of the College magazine is a very interesting and disturbing article on projected teacher shortages. With as many as 78,000 teachers retiring over the next decade, many new teachers with appropriate qualifications will be required.

However, applications to faculties of education in Ontario are at an historic low level. This projected shortage of teachers must be addressed by the Ministry of Education and Training, the faculties of education and the College of Teachers in the very near future. College members will no doubt be most concerned about specific subject areas that are already experiencing recruitment problems – Technology, Mathematics, Science and French.

While these areas of study are of particular concern, general recruitment to the profession will be required as a whole generation of elementary and secondary school teachers prepares to retire.

While the profession needs to examine and plan for shortages in subject-specific areas, we also need to be aware of the projected shortage of male teachers in the profession, which will be a growing problem in elementary schools across the province. When we encourage people to enter the profession, teachers will need to keep this issue and many others in mind.