03/26/2015 03:17 EDT | Updated 05/26/2015 05:59 EDT

B.C. teachers' professional development standards to be set by government

The B.C. government is proposing a series of amendments to the School Act to set professional development standards it says do not currently exist.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender says it's time professional standards for teachers were defined.

"Most professions — such as lawyers, accountants or nurses — set detailed standards for ongoing learning," the minister said in a statement. "Early childhood educators have clear requirements. It's time to put teachers on the same footing."

The legislation calls for a new professional development structure. Currently, although teachers are required to attend professional development sessions, what those sessions cover, is not determined by legislation.

Budget to be used 'better'

Fassbender says the province won't be increasing funding for professional development, but will use the current budget "better."

The legislative changes proposed by the ministry would also allow school districts to save money by sharing services with other government offices and it gives the minister the authority to require school districts participate in specific sharing arrangements.

The ministry says it is also enacting legislation to allow it to disclose and use student data to to make improvements to the K-12 education system. In order to do this and ensure confidentiality, it says the legislation will align the School Act to incorporate current safeguards in the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.

The B.C. Teacher's Federation says it was not consulted on the bill, and that it will review the details over the Easter break.