Changes made by the government of Ontario have prompted Queen’s to cut the number of funded places in the Concurrent Education program by half.
The provincial government announced in spring 2013 that it would extend Bachelor of Education programs from two semesters to four. It also reduced the number of funded student spaces by half.
These changes were made in response to an oversupply of teachers in Ontario, with the goal of cutting graduation rates by half.
Queen’s currently sponsors an education program consisting of both consecutive and concurrent education students. The consecutive program is one year; the concurrent program is five. Queen’s admits concurrent students through pathways at Queen’s, Trent University and the University of Waterloo.
The two programs admit students in equal proportions, and the existing concurrent student intake more than fills the spaces available under the government’s changes.
In response to the changes, and the high number of concurrent students, the Faculty of Education has decided to lower the number of concurrent students it will admit in the future.
Rebecca Luce-Kapler, associate dean of graduate studies and research at the Faculty of Education, stated that the Bachelor program would become “programmatically imbalanced and fiscally non-viable” if it did not reduce admissions.
In 2014, the Faculty will reduce enrolment from the Trent pathway by 50 students, from the Queen’s pathway by 25 and from other external pathways by 100. In 2015, all admissions from external pathways will be suspended for two years.
“We have had a long and successful relationship with our partner institutions, but the government-mandated changes need to be implemented,” Luce-Kapler said.
“A temporary suspension of admissions via our external pathways will give us the opportunity to evaluate how our education programming can be best executed in this new external context.”
Despite enrolment cuts, the Faculty will employ the same number of faculty members.
The first year that all students in the Faculty of Education will be enrolled in the new program is 2019.
“Until then, we will be offering two programs — our current program for the concurrent students who enrolled before the 2015 start date and the new extended program for consecutive students and new concurrent applicants.”
The Faculty of Education will likely struggle with revenue after these cuts are made, she said. Decreased enrolment leads to decreased tuition, and the government has cut funding by 33 per cent.
“It’s difficult to say at this point what the net outcome will be, but we are looking at strategies to increase revenue in other ways,” Luce-Kapler said.
Incoming Rector Mike Young said the cuts could bring negative outcomes for students’ learning experience; however, he predicted some positive results.
“In a way it could benefit the program itself,” Young, ConEd ’15, said.
“Rather than stretching our resources thin and trying to do things in different pockets of Ontario in lesser capacities, we are concentrating our resources here and doing what we do really well.”
He said that the cutback would make the program more competitive, as well as positioning Queen’s as a “premier” program.
“This cutback will help to ensure that we have the most qualified student teachers who are best equipped to tackle the educational issues of the day,” he said.
All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.