Teacher Certification and Training

During the colonial period, school teachers were appointed by the Governor or by the General Board of Education (1865-1869). Although colonial teachers were not formally certified, candidates for teaching appointments were required to demonstrate their competency to the board or to the official responsible for the colony's common school.

Under the terms of the 1872 Public School Act, all teachers had to be certified by the Superintendent of Education. Candidates were required to write an examination set by the Provincial Board of Education or -- after 1880 -- the provincial Board of Examiners. Different grades or classes of certificates were awarded, depending on the results of the candidate's exam. After 1876, provincial high school graduates qualified for teaching certificates in a similar manner, insofar as their certificates were awarded on the results of their terminal high school examinations.

Standards and levels of certification changed frequently, but generally four types of certificates were issued by the Department.

On occasion, the Superintendent of Education also issued Temporary Certificates which were valid until the annual teachers' exams were held in July.

In 1901, the Provincial Normal School for teacher training was opened in Vancouver. A second Provincial Normal School in Victoria was opened in 1915. Subsequently, graduation from Normal School replaced the "Public School Teachers' Examinations" for those seeking First and Second Class certificates. Only Third Class certificates were issued on the basis of candidates' high school exams, and even these were phased out by 1921. Teachers could up-grade their qualifications by taking courses at the Summer School for Teachers, held annually in Victoria from 1914 to 1956.

The Normal School offered curriculum sought to combine theoretical and practical training for teachers – as is evident in the Normal School syllabus, 1928-1929.

Commencing in 1923, secondary school teachers were trained at The University of British Columbia. After the Second World War, there was widespread support for integrating both secondary and elementary teacher training programs within the university. Accordingly, in 1956 the two provincial Normal Schools were closed and all teacher training was transferred to The University of British Columbia and to its affiliate, Victoria College.