Volume 94, Issue 59

Tuesday, January 9, 2001


York strikes partial win - Contract faculty back to work

New course opens door to alternatives

Cigarettes get new warnings

Teacher's college applicants down 27 per cent

Power outage turns elevators into traps


Teacher's college applicants down 27 per cent

By Mike Murphy
Gazette Staff

A drop this year in applications to Ontario's teacher's colleges has raised some concern the many teachers soon to retire in the province will not have enough successors.

Applications to faculties of education declined by about 27 per cent, from 15,572 in 1999 to 11,300 this year, said Gregory Marcotte, executive director of the Ontario Universities' Applications Centre.

"We're all speculating on these numbers," said Allen Pearson, dean of Western's faculty of education. "If this is the beginning of a trend, then we're in very serious trouble."

According to Pearson, an abundance of teachers joined the profession in the late '60s and early '70s. Most of them will be retiring in the near future, he said, meaning the demand for new teachers in Ontario will soar.

Pearson added this year's drop in applications may look more serious than it appears, since last year's application volume represented a startling rise from the year before.

"I'm wondering if last year was the newsworthy story and not this year," he commented.

At the OUAC, Marcotte agreed it would have been hard for 2000's figures to match the huge number of applications in 1999. He said the 15,572 applications of 1999 represented a dramatic rise of about 40 per cent from the previous year's 11,151 submissions.

"We had never witnessed a single year with such a big fluctuation from year to year," he said, adding he thinks widespread media coverage of a looming teacher shortage in 1999 may have caused the big increase in interest.

As for Western's faculty of education, Pearson said he does not expect any problems filling its positions with good applicants this year. "We think we're in fairly good shape," he said, explaineing the faculty has received 3,318 applications this year for its 820 student positions, a decrease from the 4,200 prospective students who applied in 1999.

He also said the numbers can sometimes look deceiving since a disproportionate number of applications received are for a specific program within the faculty that has a limited enrollment, leaving fewer applications for the programs with higher enrollments.

Dave Ross, spokesperson for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, said applications for teacher's colleges this past year still surpass application numbers in the past. Ross explained the Ministry is not overly concerned and applications still far exceed the number of students accepted.

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