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- Dept. of Education
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Dates of existence
The Ministry of Education was established in 1920 under its first name, the Dept. of Education, by an amendment to the Public School Act (SBC 1920, c. 82). The educational system of British Columbia had been founded in the Crown colony period in the Common School Act (1865), replaced by the Common School Ordinance (1869), and administered respectively by the superintendent of education or inspector general of schools, reporting directly to the governor-in-council. The Public School Act (SBC 1872, c. 16) was enacted in 1872, creating a Provincial Board of Education and a superintendent of education reporting to the Provincial Secretary. The Provincial Secretary also doubled as the minister of education until 1924. It was not until the 1920 amendment to the Public School Act that a distinct Dept. of Education was constituted with the functions and responsibilities of education in the province.
The Dept. of Education, under the direction of the minister of education, assisted by a deputy minister and superintendent of education, was responsible for the maintenance and management of all normal schools, the issuing of teachers’ certificates of qualification, and advising the Council of Public Instruction on all matters relating to education in the province. Home economics, high school correspondence, recreational and physical education, extension and adult education, and educational reference and school services were added as branches or divisions between 1920 and 1950.
The department assumed responsibility for the School of the Deaf and Blind (Jericho Hill) in 1922, the Victoria School of Art in 1938 (closed in 1942), and Vancouver School of Navigation in 1938. In 1942 the Provincial Library and Archives, the Public Library Commission, and the Provincial Museum were transferred to the department from the Dept. of Provincial Secretary. By 1947, the work of the department was divided among the following branches: High School Correspondence Branch, Elementary Correspondence Branch, Educational and Vocational Guidance, Industrial Education, Adult Education, School for the Deaf and the Blind, School Radio Broadcasts, Division of Tests, Standards, and Research, Text-book Branch, Visual Education, Inspection of Schools, and Normal Schools. In 1976, the Dept. of Education was renamed the Ministry of Education (OIC 3199/76).
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Revised: RMCRORY 2021-03-19