June 12, 2018 2:15 pm
Updated: June 12, 2018 4:32 pm

Nova Scotia Teachers Union accusing province of changing teacher certification system

According to the union memo, members who applied for special certificates for speech language pathology were told those certificates were not being granted right now.

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The Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) is accusing the province of making “unilateral changes” to the teacher certification system by putting not issuing certificates to school psychologists and speech language pathologists.

The province has always required professionals working within the school system to be issued teaching certificates, but it’s now reviewing that practice.

“At this point in time we’d like to reflect that a teaching certificate in Nova Scotia is given to a teacher, and that people who are not teachers don’t need a teaching certificate in order to work with children in our schools,” said Cathy Montreuil, the province’s deputy minister of education.

WATCH: N.S. to hire nearly 200 professional to assist with inclusion

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NSTU president Liette Doucet says she’s worried recent graduates who have been denied certification will leave the province.

“We’re looking to increase the number of psychologists, the number of speech pathologists in the system, and we have recent graduates that have actually taken these courses so that they can work in the school system,” said Doucet.

The province is currently hiring six school psychologists and speech language pathologists. Job postings are expected to become public within a week.

That recruitment effort is part of a plan to overhaul inclusion. The province announced in early May that more than 190 people will be hired for the upcoming school year. Among them are 70 specialist teachers with expertise in supporting children with behavioural challenges. Those specialist teachers will still be issued certificates.

Doucet says it’s important that speech language pathologists and school psychologists work with teachers in schools.

“The best way to do that is to have these people working within our system, not working within another system that parents have to try to get access to,” she said.

But Montreuil says the move is meant to improve access for students and their parents.

“One of the barriers to that is calling psychologists and speech pathologists teachers, and having them work the same days and years as teachers,” she said.

“Some of these families need to meet with these folks outside of the school day, or over the summer, and so this is really about allowing more service to our kids and our families.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia to hire over 190 professionals to help with classroom inclusion

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