After hiring 3,500 teachers to meet court-ordered class size rules, the B.C. government is expanding its teacher training to fill gaps in specialties where they find the greatest shortages.
The rush to hire has created significant problems around the province, with on-call teachers moving to full-time positions and rural teachers moving to urban areas.
The shortage has prompted the North Okanagan-Shuswap school district to advertise for people without teaching certificates to apply for substitute teaching positions. The district superintendent says people with a university degree and interpersonal skills suitable for managing children could be offered substitute work if all certified teachers in the district are deployed.
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A third of the new spaces, announced Friday by Education Minister Rob Fleming, are for French teachers, partially funded by a federal program. Other high-demand specialties are math and physics teachers for secondary schools.
The expansion includes an intake for 92 teacher training spaces in September 2018, and anther 15 spaces in January 2019.
A ministry task force found that public schools have filled the majority of the 3,700 full-time teaching positions required this year under a settlement reached with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation following a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision reinstating class size and special needs support ratios.