01/08/2014 02:04 EST | Updated 03/10/2014 05:59 EDT

Ontario wants to see more math specialists in classrooms

The Ontario government will provide funds to help school teachers upgrade their math skills in a bid to improve the instruction capabilities within provincial classrooms.

Education Minister Liz Sandals told reporters Wednesday that the government will invest $4 million in the coming year for educators upgrade their math skills through workshops and upgrade courses.

"This investment will allow teachers to gain additional qualifications in math, which will encourage more teachers to be specialists in math — particularly at the primary and junior level," Sandals said during a news conference at Toronto’s Sprucecourt Junior Public School.

There is a particular need to increase the number of math specialists within the elementary system where many teachers have educational backgrounds in other subjects, Sandals said.

"It’s our hope that what we’ll eventually see is more elementary schools who have math specialists on their staff and can take a lead role in teaching math with their colleagues," she said.

Sandals said that the current additional qualifications math course for elementary teachers is too restrictive in that it requires participants to have university math courses under their belt.

To remedy this, the minister said the government will be making changes "to ensure teachers from a variety of backgrounds actually have access to taking the additional qualifications courses in elementary math."

While teachers will pay to upgrade their skills, the provincial funds will provide them with partial subsidies for the course fees — though Sandals said how much they will receive must still be determined.

"We’ll have to work out the exact amount," Sandals said.