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Fewer students looking to teach
Applications for places in teachers' training fall nearly 20% in 'brutally competitive' job market KRISTIN RUSHOWY Toronto Star July 21, 2008 For the first time in years – and amid a slump in the job market – the number of applications for teacher education has dropped. The Ontario Universities' Application Centre recorded almost 20 per cent fewer applications for education programs starting this fall, as compared to last year. "I think everybody has done a really effective job of making people understand the teacher shortage is over," says Pat Rogers, who heads the University of Windsor's faculty of education and chairs the Ontario Association of Deans of Education. The figures represent concurrent programs, in which students earn an undergraduate and teaching degree at the same time, usually five years. Rogers said she believes applications were also down slightly for one-year consecutive programs, for students who already have an undergraduate degree. Applications for education have spiked in recent years – a 90 per cent increase from 2002 to 2003 and 50 per cent from 2004 to 2005. Last year, applications were up 15 per cent from 2006. This year's cool-down still gives faculties huge pools of candidates to choose from, Rogers said. "We regard this as a temporary thing, and part of the labour market cycle," she added. The province has roughly 7,500 teacher education spots. A report last year found new teachers were graduating into a "brutally competitive" job market, often taking several years to find permanent, full-time positions. Only 41 per cent of those who graduated in 2006 had found regular employment by the spring of 2007, down 10 percentage points from the prior year, reported Ontario College of Teachers. The rate varied across the province, however; 51 per cent of grads found work in Greater Toronto but only 20 per cent in other areas. Last fall, Toronto's public board alone received 10,000 applications for fewer than 1,000 positions. The decline in jobs is due to a glut of teachers amid a recent slowdown in retirements and declining student enrolment. French and technology teachers, however, remain in high demand.