Thompson Rivers University wants to meet future need for school teachers - InfoNews

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Thompson Rivers University wants to meet future need for school teachers

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February 04, 2017 - 11:30 AM

KAMLOOPS - Thompson Rivers University is encouraging young people to get into teaching now as new opportunities are expected province wide.

The increase in expected teaching jobs means the university is considering doubling the intake for the bachelors of education program next school year, depending on the number of applicants. John Churchley, the program coordinator, says new opportunities are due to a few reasons, including a reverse in public school enrolment.

“Since 1997 there’s been a decline in enrolment province wide,” he says. “The province’s numbers look like a slight increase over the next seven years.”

He says demographics are stabilizing after the baby boomer and baby boomer echo generations.

Additionally, the recent court ruling on class sizes means a boom next year in positions and teachers have been retiring at about the same rate as enrolment decreased. With the recent court decision, up to 1,100 young teachers struggling to find work may soon be hired, meaning any surplus B.C. has in teachers will disappear.

In the Kamloops area, human resources associate Supt. Shayne Olsen says School District 73 isn’t sure about local long term growth, but does expect to hire around 30 new teachers because of the court ruling along with three more due to growth next year alone.

“We are producing small growth,” he says. “There’s a slight increase in students overall with slight increase at elementary and slight decrease at the secondary level.”

Locally he says it’s hard to predict further than a year ahead due to economic factors that move families. Additionally, with the court ruling, he says the department is focusing on the big bump next year and less on long range forecasting.

More teaching positions overall for B.C. may actually be bad news for some of the more rural districts that already have problems filling teacher positions.

“Lots of districts are nervous about finding qualified teachers,” Churchley says. “The Gold Trail district, for example, don’t have a lot of schools but always need teachers.”

Specialty positions like French or physics will also likely be more in demand.

Both Churchley and Olsen say all teaching positions will become safer, more stable job in coming years.

“A lot of people have been talking for decades about there being no jobs,” Churchley says. “It’s going to be a stable career.”

“This is great time to get into teaching,” Olsen says. “There will be more jobs in the future, that’s very true.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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