Saskatchewan

Sask. has 300 fewer substitute teachers than it did last year

It’s been a tough year for Sask. teachers and students, but it could get even tougher in the winter semester. The province has 300 fewer subs than it did last year, according to the Saskatchewan Professional Teachers Regulatory Board.

Graduating teaching students to help combat substitute shortage

Saskatchewan has 300 fewer substitute teachers than it did last year, according to the Saskatchewan Professional Teachers Regulatory Board. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

It's been a tough year for Sask. teachers and students, but it could get even tougher in the winter semester.

The province has 300 fewer subs than it did last year, according to the Saskatchewan Professional Teachers Regulatory Board (SPTRB).

To help fill the gap, fourth year education students who have successfully finished their internships can apply for a temporary teaching permit.

A temporary teaching permit would allow someone without a teaching certificate to act as a substitute teacher if a school division can't find anyone who has a teaching certificate.

Trevor Smith, chief operating officer and registrar for SPTRB, said temporary teaching permits are issued every year — often for positions that can be hard to fill — but usually not to education students.

"This year we decided that because of the demand by school divisions, we will do so," he said.

"It's a good workaround to put a student who has almost finished their Bachelor of Education degree in a position where they could substitute teach if they were called upon to do so." 

Students who apply need to be approved by the the SPTRB and school division they apply to before they can start working as a substitute.

Smith said the number of people who have been approved for a temporary permit is also down.

He said SPTRB has issued 111 permits so far this year, compared to 162 last year.

"We're approaching potentially about 400 fewer subs in the province at this time," he said.

Smith couldn't pinpoint a reason for the shortage, but said many subs are retired teachers and may not want to risk exposing themselves to COVID-19 in schools that are using in-person learning.

(CBC News Graphics)

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