Being a bit of a wonk I've been looking at the data coming out of the Ontario University Application Centre. The 2013 admissions data for Ontario teachers colleges is out and it points to a continuation of a long-term decline in the number of applicants. Some might take this as a bell-weather for future turmoil for other professional training programs.
The 2013 data confirms a long-term trend of less people applying to teachers college in the wake of the financial crisis. This decline isn't terribly shocking in and of itself; however, some of the declines hit specific institutions fairly hard. While most institutions faced double-digit declines in the number of applications in the range of 12% to 18%, a couple institutions posted declines above 20% (Windsor at -25.1% and Lakehead at -22.0%).
When one looks at the specific program data a couple trends appear. French language programs are holding up better than English language programs; however, the French language programs still face declines in the range of -10.0%. The next trend is that programs focused on technological studies face declines of approximately -38.0%; although, this may be linked to the closure of a specific program (I'm unclear on why this decline is so high).
The employment prospects for teachers college graduates continue to be is dire. There's simply a vast over-supply of graduates and arguably there's an extremely troubling insider-outsider dichotomy engaged in relation to the teaching profession in Ontario. The majority of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Graduates that are able to find work often have to move to remote locales in other parts of the country.
There's further room to reduce the number of teachers college students in Ontario. In 2012 there were approximately 6,940 students in Ontario's teachers colleges. There's plenty of room of cut that number by half without much of a real world impact (aside from unemployed professors and administrative staff). Ideally some of the under-performing education faculties could be eliminated entirely via attrition while high-performing ones could be strengthened.
The failure of the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities to address the over-supply of graduates from teachers colleges is a massive oversight failure and the current draw-down of students continues to be a policy blunder. Over a decade ago the MTCU predicted a shortage of teachers and then didn't act once the original forecast was shown to be erroneous. Thousands of students have wasted valuable time and were forced into debt when they had little chance of obtaining a teaching position.
The media haven't latched onto this story yet and it'll be interesting to see how universities attempt to gloss over the collapse of the demand for teachers college in Ontario. Take a look at the following articles for some additional context, see: here, here, here, and here. I've written a number of pieces about the problems facing recent teachers college graduates, see: here, here, here, and here. Take a look at the video below for an overview of the problem, see: