Anger as U of T drops Bachelor of Education

Students say decision will hurt access and lead to credential inflation

MAC20_UOFT_CAROUSELThe University of Toronto is facing increasing criticism over its decision to eliminate the Bachelor of Education program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) by 2015, dropping all 1,167 B.Ed seats and adding 500 master’s students to the 200 it has now.

Education deans at York University and the University of Ottawa were quick to condemn the move, telling newspapers they believe U of T’s goal is to increase its bottom line with the larger grants the province provides for graduate students, and higher tuition. This year, domestic students paid $8,056 for the four-semester B.Ed while master’s students in five-semester professional programs paid $10,105. The province had instructed all teacher’s colleges to cut the number of graduates in half due to a weak job market while doubling the length of B.Ed degrees. York’s dean told the Toronto Star he wasn’t aware switching to master’s seats was an option.

Now, a number of U of T students, including the executive directors of both the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) and the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS), are joining the deans in critcizing the decision. They say that if they had been consulted on dropping the B.Ed, they would have objected, in part because they believe the change will make it more difficult for marginalized people to access teacher education at Ontario’s top school.

Sandy Hudson, Executive Director of the UTSU, is accepted to an OISE master’s program that starts in the fall. She says if students had been consulted they would have raised concerns. “This is a disaster for low-income students,” she says. “Tuition is already incredibly high, and a master’s is much more expensive.”

Danielle Sandhu, APUS Executive Director and OISE MA candidate, agrees. “This is about U of T securing more dollars from the provincial government, as opposed to access,” she says. She and her peers are also concerned that the degrees will be professional MAs that won’t provide opportunities to pursue doctoral programs or come with the relative salary increases that other master’s programs tend to provide.

Amanda Stavropoulos, who is planning on graduating with a B.Ed this year, says its a shame that the degree is being eliminated. She says she did not feel the need to do a master’s, but is concerned that future students will face more pressure to get one. In particular, she is concerned about what will happen if other schools in the province
eliminate their B.Ed programs as well, as it would drive up the entry cost to becoming a teacher and make an already competitive job market even harder to break into.

Christine Hsu, who graduated from OISE with a B.Ed in 2013, shares Stavropoulos’ concerns. She says there aren’t many teaching jobs and she knows a number of people who have taken master’s programs to try and stand out when applying. She is concerned that if master’s degrees become the new normal, it will be harder for low-income students to become teachers.

Julie O’Sullivan, dean of OISE, says that students were consulted and that the school is committed to equity and diversity. She says the school offers needs-based scholarships and work for graduate students that could help cover the costs of their degrees.




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Anger as U of T drops Bachelor of Education

  1. The argument is that low income students should take on student debt to enter the B.Ed program and graduate with no job prospects because the market is flooded with teachers? How does acquiring student debt with practically no chance of working as a teacher in Ontario going to help low income students?

    • Lots of places to teach, and lots of other jobs to get with a BA. Doesn’t have to be in teaching.

      You need a bachelors degree….you aren’t required to work in that field.

      • Your point is understandable Emily, but it’s very poor advice.

  2. OISE has been…and always will be a joke in any event.

    If someone wants to be a GOOD teacher…….you don’t want to go to the U of T.

    OISE is just an activist group to churn out more brain dead/washed accolytes.

  3. Usually when a “system” becomes flooded, with too much of something it’s because that something isn’t USEFUL anymore, because that something stopped being growth-oriented years ago.
    Meaning, in todays Canadian economy, (which in itself is a joke), our educational systems(especially University) are so antiquated/behind/Victims-of-themselves, that they are of NO “real” use anymore.

    Now, when a country’s Educational system starts failing, who is primarily at fault for this ? -you got it,once again, -an even more USELESS Canadian Gov’t rears it’s ugly head, yet again.

    Overpaid languishing University Prof’s, Or, overpaid languishing Gov’t lobbyists,.., take your pick, ’cause neither of them really care about your son’s/daughter’s educational-JOB-future.

    Does that strike home now, for you folks’ ?

    • Don’t give up on the lectures Rick.

  4. I graduated from U of T’s B.Ed. Program in 2010.

    This program and most other B.Ed. programs needed to be cut down. There are TOO MANY people who are qualified to be teachers, and the universities continue to pump out graduates. It does not help the economy in any way.

    More regulation – control over how many B.Ed. candidates there are each year – could help.

    Then again, it would also help if people knew their realistic chances of getting a job in this field.

    P.S. I got a job – bitterness is not tainting my comment.

    • Edward,

      When there is too much of anything in the system, you need to apply economic princples to restore the proper balance. You need to have COMPETITION.

      If we were allowed to fire teachers who have proven themselves incompetent, or unwilling to take the time necessary to actually TEACH their students……the problem will solve itself.

      Of course, it could also be helped by something as simple as showing prospective teachers what their job prospects will be upon graduation. People are having fewer kids….fewer kids means fewer schools, and fewer schools mean fewer teachers.

      pretty basic actually.

  5. One could be forgiven, by reading some of the comments here, that some students (it’s usually the students) believe that a university is just a high school but on a higher level. In fact, although undergraduates are high school graduates (teenagers or children), university graduates should be experiencing a maturing process, i.e., becoming adults (especially teachers). The certificate which may become framed and hung on the wall is worthless to a future employer if the holder has not matured.

    That is why a Master’s degree is becoming the ‘norm’.

    • OH.

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