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Study highlights need for teacher recruitment, retention

By Brad Perry Feb 5, 2024 | 7:25 AM

New Brunswick faces a looming teacher shortage amid retirements and population growth, according to a new study.

The study, led by the University of New Brunswick’s New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training, was undertaken at the request of the province.

It found just over half of bachelor of education (BEd) graduates in New Brunswick do not end up taking teaching jobs in the province. Addressing that statistic could have a considerable impact amidst a swelling wake of job openings, said the report.

Peter Legacy, president of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association and co-president of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Federation, said he is not surprised by the data.

“I think it speaks to some of the recruitment issues we do have in New Brunswick,” Legacy said in an interview last week.

“It also speaks to maybe some of the classroom conditions they may see while they’re doing their internship in the province and being lured away by other provinces.”

The report looks at two areas: who moves from a New Brunswick BEd program into employment as a teacher within the province’s public school system, and at what point in their careers do employed teachers leave their jobs.

BEd graduates from out of province, the study shows, do not often stay and work in the New Brunswick school system. Only 11 per cent of domestic grads from out of province and 10 per cent of grads from other countries become teachers in New Brunswick.

On the flip side, 59 per cent of graduates who lived in New Brunswick before university became teachers in the province.

The study shows about eight per cent of teachers leave the system within five years of starting work, although about 96 per cent of them remained in New Brunswick, suggesting they might be available to return to the classroom.

“The study reinforced exactly what we’ve been saying for the past few years along the lines of recruitment and retention and what’s needed for the province,” said Lagacy.

You can view the full study on UNB’s website.