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Council to Review Labour Mobility Agreement
The College is moving forward on a number of initiatives that will open up new opportunities for its members, both in Ontario and across Canada.

By Margaret Wilson

In the last issue of Professionally Speaking, I wrote about the College’s commitment to ensuring the quality of Additional Qualification courses and asked our members to let us know about their experiences.

Since then, I have received a number of letters about the Additional Qualification courses our members have taken. In every case, teachers have both good and bad things to say.

Some of the courses are disappointing in that they offer little that is challenging; sometimes the content does not reflect the course’s name. One writer, critical of a course on Special Education, suggested that the content of courses should be much more clearly stated to ensure that they will meet expectations. However, the same writer mentioned other courses on the same topic that were excellent, well presented and taught by very knowledgeable instructors.

Another College member wrote of a number of courses she had taken in mathematics, religion and music. Some of the best of them did not offer Additional Qualification credit, she says, and recommends that the College look at expanding the list of Additional Qualification courses.

It is very gratifying to get this kind of feedback from College members, and will prove very useful as we continue to address the issue of high-quality Additional Qualification courses. I am always impressed at how much professional learning teachers do, and I welcome your input on this subject.

The College has also been moving forward on the issue of mobility for teachers across Canada. Last year, the ministers of education for all provinces and territories in Canada discussed a new agreement that will enable a teacher who is qualified in one Canadian province or territory to obtain certification in other parts of the country. The agreement includes the possibility of conditional certification to protect the specific standards of provincial jurisdictions.

The College Council will be reviewing the agreement for approval at its next meeting, a step being taken by regulatory bodies in every other province and territory. The agreement replaces one that expired in 1996 and covered only eight provinces. British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the territories will now also be part of the new system.

While this agreement requires that teachers meet the certification requirements of other provinces, it will greatly increase opportunities for teachers and will help school boards to find the staff they need.

I am also happy to see that the College’s initiatives to call attention to the chronic shortage of teachers in a number of subject areas is having an effect. The Education Improvement Commission’s report on the new district school boards is recent evidence of the growing awareness of teacher shortages.

One of the Commission’s recommendations is that the College, the Ministry of Education, the faculties of education and the district school boards work together to develop and implement strategies to “ensure that Ontario’s schools are staffed with appropriately qualified teachers.”

The College is wholeheartedly committed to working with the ministry and other stakeholders to increase the supply of teachers in the coming years. In fact, the education sector has already developed a number of very effective strategies to address this issue. You can read about them in the story on page 16 about the Minister’s task force. And while the College and other stakeholder organizations have worked together to move forward on some of them, many others are in limbo, waiting for action by the education ministry.

I hope that by the next time the subject of the task force is raised, I have a more positive outcome to report.