Fact Sheet #1 Overview
The Ontario College of Teachers Act, proclaimed July 5, 1996, establishes the College and gives it authority to license, govern and regulate the teaching profession.
The College of Teachers elevates the status of teachers to that of 31 other self-regulated professions in Ontario. The College of Teachers will be the largest self-regulatory body in the country.
Ontario is one of only a few jurisdictions with a professional college for teachers. Others include British Columbia, Scotland, and New Zealand.
- Anyone with qualification to teach in Ontario is eligible for membership in the College. Eligible persons include qualified teachers in public and private schools, members of faculties of education, occasional and unemployed qualified teachers, and qualified teachers working in the Ministry of Education and Training or in colleges, universities, or the private sector.
- There are approximately 200,000 eligible members of the College and all must be registered with the College to maintain their teaching credentials.
- Teachers employed by a school board will be automatically registered with the College. All other qualified teachers must register individually by:
- Calling toll-free 1-800-604-9430
- Contacting the College's web site at www.oct.ca
- The annual membership fee in the College is $90. A registration fee of $25 will be waived for teachers who register within the first year.
- Only teachers registered with the College will be eligible to vote in the first election of the College's Governing Council.
The College's primary functions will be to set out clear standards of teaching practice, ensure sound professional learning goals, and coordinate and monitor career-long, accredited professional learning for teachers.
Standards of Practice
The College will:
- Set standards to define what teachers should know and be able to do at each stage of their professional careers;
- Set standards for graduation from accredited pre-service and in-service teacher education programs;
- Monitor teacher education programs to ensure compliance with the standards;
- Develop a process to improve preparation and support for associate teachers working with beginning teachers;
- Accredit programs for principals and supervisory officers;
- Help teachers develop personal professional learning plans.
The College of Teachers will develop a provincial framework for professional learning to help teachers obtain the training they need to support them in their jobs and to implement new government policies and programs. Specifically, the College will:
- Establish time frames for members to achieve their goals:
- Define professional learning to include individual learning, shared learning, learning in the local professional community, externally initiated learning, and required learning;
- Accredit professional learning programs for teaching and educational institutions and/or agencies that deliver them;
- Ensure that a wide variety of learning opportunities is available and accessible to meet the needs of members and of the system.
The College will also have authority to:
- Regulate teaching qualifications;
- Set membership criteria, enroll members, and create a provincial register of teachers;
- Investigate complaints involving members, conduct hearings into allegations of professional misconduct, and take appropriate disciplinary action.
The College of Teachers will be governed by a Governing Council of thirty-one members. The majority, 17-members, will be elected by the College membership and include:
- One elementary and one secondary school member elected from each of four regions;
- Two members elected provincially from the public, Roman Catholic, and Francophone systems;
- One supervisory officer, one private school representative, and one academic staff member from a faculty of education, also elected provincially.
Fourteen members will be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor on the advice of the Minister of Education and Training to represent the public interest and the interests of the broader education community.
The College will hold annual general meetings and the Governing Council will meet a minimum of four times a year. Both the annual general meeting and the meetings of the Governing Council will be open to the membership and the public.
Professional Self-Regulation of the Teaching Profession
Current International Context
The British Columbia College of Teachers was established in 1987 to set standards for teacher education, determine eligibility for membership in the College, issue certificates of membership to eligible applicants, maintain a register of members and suspend or cancel membership certificates. The College also sets procedures for monitoring the standards and competence of the profession and reports annually to its members, the public and the government.
The Manitoba government in the 1993 publication Renewing Education: New Directions indicated that a review of teacher education and certification would be undertaken. A report of the study conducted by Bernard Shapiro on teacher education and certification for the Department of Education and Training will be released shortly.
Alberta has recently released a policy position paper, An Integrated Framework to Enhance the Quality of Teaching in Alberta, outlining proposed changes in teacher education.
The General Teaching Council (GTC) of Scotland, established in 1965, is the oldest self-regulatory body for the teaching profession. The principal function of the GTC is to maintain a register of those entitled to teach in Scotland. Only those registered with the GTC may teach in state school in Scotland. The GTC accredits courses in teacher education and oversees the probation period for new teachers. The GTC also has the power to remove from the register teachers who are found guilty of professional misconduct.
The Teacher Training Agency of England was established by legislation in 1994. Its objectives are to raise the standards of practice, to improve the quality and efficiency of all routes into the teaching profession and to secure the involvement of schools in all courses and programs for the initial training of teachers. The agency has responsibility for institutional accreditation of initial teacher training and for establishing a framework to set standards for teachers a four key stages in the profession: newly qualified; "expert" teachers; experts in subject leadership and management; and experts in school leadership and management.
The Teacher Registration Board (TRB) was established in 1989 and is responsible for maintaining a register of teachers and certifying teachers. The TRB also has the authority to remove teachers from the register and to provide schools with the names of teachers with canceled registrations. The profession has total responsibility for registering new members.
Two states, Queensland and Victoria, have, through legislation, established regulatory bodies for the teaching profession. Their purposes are to establish standards for teacher education as well as standards of teaching practice. Each has responsibility for the ongoing development of teachers within the profession and are directly involved in pre-service programs in institutions of higher learning.
United States of America
Ten states - California, Oregon, Minnesota, Nevada, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, Wyoming and North Dakota - have professional standards boards for teachers. These are separate from state boards of education and are accountable directly to the legislatures of the ten states in which they exist. Each has a responsibility to establish standards for the teaching profession, monitor teacher professionalism and establish accreditation standards for teacher education programs.
Associations in eight states - Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia - have plans to sponsor legislation for an autonomous teacher profession standards board in their states.