03/03/2015 02:13 EST | Updated 05/03/2015 05:59 EDT

U.S. correspondence courses for teachers won't be recognized by Nova Scotia

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's Education Department will no longer recognize video correspondence courses offered by Drake University in Iowa.

Education Minister Karen Casey says the online courses taken by some teachers are not eligible for transfer credits at any university in Nova Scotia.

Casey says starting immediately, her department will no longer grant an increase in teacher certification to teachers who take the courses.

The Education Department started a review of the courses in February 2014.

Casey says the decision is part of the province's broader commitment to improve teaching standards under a recently released education plan.

The new standards are to be complete by some time in 2016.

Until that work is done, the department will not approve any new education programs put forward by universities.

"To improve student performance ... teachers need access to programs, professional development and continuing service education that will have a direct impact on improving student achievement," Casey said in a statement.

"We also want to ensure that funds dedicated to professional development and teacher certification upgrading are directed toward programming that best meets the needs of Nova Scotia students."