UPEI 1-year bachelor of education program attracting more students

In the fall of 2014, the first students began in the one year bachelor of education program at UPEI —​ after the university switched over from its previous two year program.

Four years in, UPEI's dean of education says the new 1-year structure seems to be working well

Students in the bachelor of education program at UPEI now complete their degree in 12 months, rather than over two years. (CBC)

In the fall of 2014, the first students began in the one-year bachelor of education program at UPEI —​ after the university switched over from its previous two-year program.

With the first few years of graduates now out in the working world, UPEI's dean of education says the new one-year structure seems to be working well. 

"Consistently it's very positive feedback," says dean Ron MacDonald. 

A formal review of the program has not yet been done, but MacDonald says he is pleased with what he's seen so far. 

Boost in enrolment

MacDonald said the decision to make the change to a 12-month program was largely based on student feedback.

"Students at that time said, and had been saying in the past number of years prior to that, that they wanted a shorter program," MacDonald said.

"They wanted to get in and get out and get into the work world sooner. So we listened to them."

Since making the switch, he says the program has seen a boost in applicant numbers — with about three times as many people interested in the program.

Ron MacDonald, dean of education at UPEI, says the new one year bachelor of education has attracted a more diverse group of students. (Angela Walker/CBC)

But beyond the enrolment numbers, MacDonald says there has also been a noticeable shift in the demographic of students the program is attracting. 

"We have engineers who decided to leave and come to teaching. We have social workers who decided to come to teaching. If it's a two year program, switching takes too long," he said. 

"They can manage a 12 month gap in their income, for instance, and other life situations that they'll have to adapt to. So that has really contributed to the increase for sure."

'More intense'

While students now graduate and enter the workforce more quickly, MacDonald says they're not getting any fewer hours of training. 

"They don't go to the beach in the summer. They're going to end up going into class in hot classrooms in the summer," MacDonald said.

"The pace is different, it's certainly more intense."

He says students take all the same classes, and have the same number of practicum hours in classrooms. 

MacDonald anticipates an official program review will take place next year. 

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With files from Mainstreet