New education degree announced
by Bryan Weismiller
After more than a decade of planning, Mount Royal University’s newest degree has finally graduated to reality. The bachelor of education — elementary degree was officially announced on Feb. 18. Starting next fall, it will replace the two-year university transfer program that’s offered now — although current first-year students have the option of continuing with the old two-year program.
“We are addressing elementary because they need to be generalists rather than specialists as in secondary education,” said Irene Naested, chair of the department of education and schooling. “The program will prepare generalist elementary teachers in the best way of teaching, learning and assessment for elementary school.”
Naested said Alberta’s demand for teachers is expected to grow as current teachers begin retiring, and the province’s immigration and emigration rates continue.
“There’s a need for other education degrees, but the four-year elementary degree is MRU’s start,” Naested said. “More elementary teachers tend to be needed, but there’s also a demand for secondary teachers, especially in math and science.”
Mount Royal has been given conditional approval to offer five-year degrees for both elementary and secondary teaching. However, the government hasn’t yet committed to providing the additional funding needed to support them.
“The new program is very limited by being an elementary teaching degree,” said third-year psychology student Danielle Cross who plans on transferring to the University of Calgary to get her teaching degree. “I guess the important thing for people to understand is that if you’re just doing an education degree then that’s all you’ll have.
“If you do an arts or science degree and then go to a two-year teaching degree somewhere, you’ll save a lot of time and end up with more under your belt.”
Cross added she’s still interested in the program because her psychology major limits her to teaching elementary, but she doesn’t “want to go back and end up being in school for eight years.”
“I don’t want to knock the program though, I think it’s great that Mount Royal is offering more for prospective students.”