Recent History – 2001
April 12, 2001
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
The University of Northern British Columbia’s (UNBC) plan to start a Bachelor of Education teacher training program is about to draw fire from School District 59 trustees.
If UNBC is allowed to pursue the program, trustees are concerned that it will mean the demise of the Alaska Highway Consortium for Teacher Education (AHCOTE) program.
Superintendent Charlie Parslow said AHCOTE has provided a good source of teachers who go on to pursue their careers in the Peace. About 80 per cent get jobs in northeast B.C.
“We’ve always believed that it’s best to train local people wherever possible because they have an interest in the community,” Parslow said.
And with a teacher shortage looming, Parslow said that disbanding AHCOTE will only worsen the problem. “If we’re concerned about a nursing shortage, we should also worry about a teacher shortage, and this could exacerbate the problem,” he said.
In a report to trustees, several other concerns were raised:
– Only about one-third of the AHCOTE students would qualify for the UNBC program because it’s an “after degree” program, and it would require six full years of post-secondary education.
– UNBC’s program would require six full years of post secondary education before graduates would be eligible to teach compared to four years through AHCOTE.
– Secondary teacher training would be offered only in Prince George, while the program UNBC is proposing for Fort St. John would be for early and middle years teaching only.
– UNBC failed to consult with School District 59 in the development of the proposal.
Trustees voted Wednesday to raise their concerns with the British Columbia College of Teachers, and the Ministry of Advanced Education.
As well, they will ask UNBC to refrain from making program decisions that will adversely affect AHCOTE.
Trustee Jim Noble said UNBC has a history of showing preference to Prince George students, and Trustee Tim Dall said many AHCOTE students simply couldn’t afford the move to Prince George.