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Some BC districts still struggling to fill teacher shortages months into school year

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Summary

Despite continued shortages, BC's education minister says a record 3,500 teachers have been hired in recent months

According to the province, BC now has more than 44,000 teacher

A task force on teacher recruitment and retention is looking at remaining gaps

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – It’s a good time to be looking for work if you’re a teacher in British Columbia.

Education Minister Rob Fleming says more relief is on the way, but a record 3,500 teachers have been hired in recent months.

“So now that we’re into 2018, we’re looking at those shortages. We have a task force on recruitment and retention that has looked at the remaining gaps and we’ll have more to say about that in the coming days, but there’s some very thoughtful recommendations on how we’re going to deal with historic shortages and the ones that relate to the Supreme Court decision.”

Fleming says that gap, created after court action was needed to restore cuts by the former Liberal government, is much smaller now.

“Things will get calmer, there’s no doubt about that and they already have,” he says. “We’re sort of 93 per cent of the way there on the hiring that we need to do. There’ll be additional teacher recruitment to do because we have enrollment growth in most parts of BC –more students.”

He adds the province now has more than 44,000 teachers, but that’s not all.

“There’s 20,000, 800 educational assistants in school districts this school year and that’s up 618 from the previous year.”

However, Fleming admits districts including Surrey and Vancouver still have certain shortages.

“Teachers with French language skills, math and science teachers and also, attract people to be specialist teachers in the coming years. Those are areas of neglect that were exacerbated by the Supreme Court decision, but they were pre-existing problems… It isn’t a crisis because we have accomplished so much of the hiring and I think the task force on recruitment/retention is going to be able to address the gaps that remain.”

He’s expecting an update from the task force in the next couple of weeks.