Tech ed doesn't make grade
By Joshua Budd
Western's administration has rejected a proposal from Althouse College's students' council to turn the one-year diploma in education into a bachelor of education. degree.
Technical education students from the college sent a proposal to the university administration in January stating their program is equivalent to a B.Ed. degree since they study exactly the same curriculum as B.Ed. students.
Students in the B.Ed. program must have a four-year undergraduate degree before they are accepted, whereas students in the technical program do not. The latter require five years experience as apprentices in a technical field and five years work experience. They are also required to take an entrance exam which costs $500.
A letter from Western's VP-academic Greg Moran to the faculty of education said the university is not willing to issue degrees to students after only one year of post-secondary study. Although both programs in the faculty of education are one year long, the students in the B.Ed. program have already studied in a university for at least three or four years which makes them eligible for a degree.
Brad Ziegler, technical representative for Althouse College Students' Council, said students in the program felt they were being treated unfairly.
Technical students are restricted from the one-plus-one program which offers education students an optional extra year to earn two masters credits and two additional basic qualifications. Technical students cannot get into this program because they do not have a degree.
"Our concern is that it affects our chances at a supervisory position in the educational system. The Ministry of Education is trying to de-streamline students, yet when we graduate we are streamlined," Ziegler said.
Ziegler added the proposal will go to Senate before the end of the year, although he does not expect it to be passed. In the meantime, students have collected 300 signatures in a petition supporting their cause, and are seeking support from other teaching organizations.
The students are already planning a joint effort with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association to pressure the administration and Ziegler said he is expecting the support of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation.
Jason Oysten, education faculty representative on the University Students' Council, said he is expecting the proposal will face strong opposition from the academic community.
"A lot of teachers and people in academic circles feel it's almost like a slap in the face. They spend five to six years of their life to get to this point. They feel it will short-change their degree," Oysten said.
Allen Pearson, dean of the faculty of education, does not expect the students' demands will be met although he does understand their concerns.