Series GR-1471 - Records with regard to teacher training and certification

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Records with regard to teacher training and certification

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  • 1884-1949 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of Education

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Physical description

90 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

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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Scope and content

The series consists of records pertaining to teacher training and certification. It includes minute books of the Board of Examiners (1884-1949), teachers certificate registers (1892-1947), student registers at provincial Normal schools (1901-1938) high school examination results (1924-1927), and minutes of the Dept. of Education Appointments Board (1937-1945).

Prior to 1901, teachers in British Columbia were drawn either from outside the province or (after 1876) from graduates of provincial high schools. All teachers required teaching certificates, which were awarded by the Superintendent of Education. Teachers from outside the province were required to sit an examination set by the Provincial Board of Examiners. Candidates were awarded different grades or classes of certificates, depending on the results of their exam. High school graduates qualified for certificates in a similar manner, depending on their scores on terminal examinations. Standards of certification changed frequently over the years, as did the questions which appeared on the "Public School Teachers' Examinations." Basically, though, several classes of certificates were available: Academic and First Class (awarded to university graduates and/or to candidates scoring over 70% on the exam); Second class (awarded to candidates scoring over 50% on examinations); and Third class (awarded to candidates scoring 30% and above on a series of exam questions). First class certificates were permanent, 2nd class were valid for 3 years, while 3rd class certificates were generally good for one year, with the possibility of renewal. "Temporary certificates," valid until the annual examinations were held in July, were also issued under certain circumstances.

In 1901 the province's first Normal School for teacher training was opened in Vancouver. (A second school, in Victoria, was opened in 1915.) Thereafter, graduation from the Normal School replaced the "Public School Teachers' Examinations" for those seeking Academic, First, and Second class certificates. Only Third class certificates valid for a limited period of time were still awarded on the basis of candidates' high school examinations.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from Ministry of Education, Teachers' Services Branch, 1984.


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Restrictions on access

These records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other acts and access may be restricted. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these records.

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Associated materials

GR-1471 may be used in conjunction with GR-1468 (Board of Education minute books and teachers' certificate registers, 1872-1884). Researchers may also find it useful to consult MS-1921 (D.L. MacLaurin, "History of Education in British Columbia") for details on the development of teacher training and certification procedures in the province.

Related materials


General note

Accession number(s): G84-115

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