The College of Teachers
is believed to be the first of Canada's self-regulatory bodies authorized
to accredit education programs for existing members and those entering
the profession. The College was granted formal responsibility for the
accreditation of all pre- and in-service teacher education programs in
December. Traditionally, accrediting authority for professional training
has been given to independent bodies.
"This is a privilege that will help to build public confidence in
the teaching profession," says College Registrar Joe Atkinson.
"Teachers will receive the same high quality teacher education whether
they are educated in Thunder Bay, North Bay or Toronto," Atkinson
said. "As well, teachers will benefit from the accreditation of all
Additional Qualification courses."
The regulation that
gives the College the authority to accredit initial and on-going teacher
education programs sets the criteria by which teacher education programs
must be assessed. Programs must be consistent with and reflect:
- the College's
Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession and the Ethical Standards
for the Teaching Profession
- current research
in teacher education
- the integration
of theory and practice in teacher education.
must also meet all regulatory requirements in such areas as methods and
foundations courses, divisional studies and practical experience.
Accreditation assures the public that graduates of teacher education programs
in Ontario are competent and qualified. It ensures that Ontario's teacher
education programs are based on sound research. Accreditation also ensures
that academic and professional qualifications of faculty members working
in pre-service have been demonstrated by advanced study, contributions
to the field and professional experience.
Before they can enrol students, faculties that offer programs of initial
teacher preparation that lead to teacher certification by the College
will have to be accredited. Atkinson says this means the College will
be able to positively influence and enhance the professional practice
of new teachers entering the profession.
Registrar Joe Atkinson and Council Chair Larry Capstick sign the
regulation papers giving the College authority to accredit pre-
and in-service teacher education programs in Ontario. Frances Thorne,
Chair of the College's Accreditation Committee, observes the historic
exemplifies the College's commitment to transparency and a collaborative,
consultative process for development," Atkinson says. "It's
a textbook model, no-surprise regulation, which came from a pilot project
developed with people in the field."
Soon after it was established in 1996, the College formed agreements with
the Ontario Association of Deans of Education (OADE) and the Ontario faculties
of education to launch a three-year pilot project to accredit the 11 pre-service
teacher education programs at the nine faculties and one school of education.
After a thorough review, all programs received an initial accreditation.
The final report on the pilot project is available at www.oct.ca/en/ProfessionalAffairs/pdf/
acc_final.pdf. Similar College work in Additional Qualifications (AQ)
programs and courses over the last three years also contributed to the
Faculty members, deans, associate teachers, teacher candidates, Council
and College members, individuals from accrediting bodies, the Ontario
Teachers' Federation and affiliates, and members of the public were all
involved in developing the accreditation process.
The regulation gives the College its formal accrediting power as the government
is granting authority to new degree-granting institutions to apply to
offer more pre-service teacher education programs.
As well as setting
the conditions for the accreditation of programs, the regulation provides
for an appeals process.
Under the new regulation, the Accreditation Committee has the authority
to review or revoke accreditation of any provider that makes substantial
changes to its program, loses its authority to operate, or ceases to run
a program at all.
The regulation also protects students. If, for example, a program's accreditation
expires, is denied or revoked, enrolled students in the current academic
year will be deemed to have completed the program.
AQ program providers
must meet nine different conditions. The College can grant, deny or approve
accreditation with or without conditions for a minimum of six months or
a maximum of three years. Those that are denied accreditation must inform
all program applicants and wait for a year after an appeal before reapplying.
Student protection measures are in place for AQ programs too.
The College is responsible for initiating a review of the regulation within
three years of its having been filed.
Ontario Regulation 347/02-Accreditation of Teacher Education Programscan
be viewed at www.oct.ca/en/AboutCollege/regulations/accreditation_e.pdf.