As of January 2018, approximately 24,000 students in grades 11 and 12, in some 420 Ontario high schools, study philosophy. This is the largest number of students in a single jurisdiction in the English-speaking world.
The Ontario Philosophy Teachers' Association (OPTA) is the official subject association for philosophy teachers in Ontario public and Catholic high schools. OPTA is recognized as such by the Ontario Ministry of Education, the Ontario College of Teachers, and the Curriculum Forum of the Ontario Federation of Teachers.
OPTA is committed:
- to support teachers who are delivering philosophy programs in their schools.
- to advocate for the inclusion of philosophy in high school programs.
- to assist those who are working to initiate philosophy programs in their schools.
To these ends, OPTA is mandated:
- to provide an annual full-day conference in late Spring. The day consists of a plenary and break-out sessions on topics of two kinds: theoretical sessions led by university professors, and pedagogy-oriented sessions delivered by practicing high school philosophy teachers. Non-professionals may be invited to present relevant topics.
- to maintain a website. The information and resources provided are available free-of-charge to any interested person or organization. OPTA asks that when any materials are used, the author and Ontario Philosophy Teachers' Association are credited.
- to provide every assistance possible to any person or group that is interested in starting a philosophy program in their school or board of education.
OPTA is a not-for-profit educational organization run by volunteers. There is no annual membership fee and no membership identification is issued. The source of all operating funds is the fee charged for attendance at the annual conference.
The members of the Executive Committee
Philosophy is a teachable subject in Ontario high schools. This means that certification to teach the subject is provided by the Ontario College of Teachers only when a high school teacher completes the teacher-training in philosophy pedagogy provided by a Ministry-approved university Faculty of Education. Pre-requisites and entrance requirements may vary with the institution. For more information, visit https://www.oct.ca/public/professional-standards/how-teachers-are-certified
It is important to remember that philosophy is a senior elective subject. Although a teacher may be qualified to teach philosophy, it may not be an available subject. The assignment of elective subjects depends entirely on enrollment and the discretion of the principal. Enrollment in senior elective subjects can vary widely from year to year.