Junior Colleges & Training for Rural Teachers

In 1943, the Rehabilitation Council of British Columbia of the provincial legislature recommended the formation of "junior colleges." The Department of Education endorsed the idea the following year.

The time for change will soon be ripe in British Columbia and regional junior colleges...should be established in key centres throughout the Province. These institutions could also give basic teacher-training.

Dr. H. B. King, the province's Chief Inspector of Schools and special assistant to the Minister of Education, argued that the proposed junior colleges should focus on training teachers for rural schools.

"The rural schools suffer the most from the lack of well-trained teachers and from their impermanence, and this is bound to continue so long as teachers are drawn largely from urban areas and are trained in the two large cities [i.e. in the Provincial Normal Schools located in Vancouver and Victoria]," he noted in his annual report in 1945:

It is suggested here that there should be a number of training centres throughout the Province where basic training could be given in a rural setting to teachers drawn largely from the open country and from country towns. Teaching would be an attractive occupation to young people of such areas if training facilities were close at hand. These basic training instituions might well form part of the junior colleges to be established in the same areas.
74th Annual Report of the Public Schools, 1944-45, p.Y43.

As it happened, junior colleges were not established in British Columbia until the 1960s, following the recommendations of John B. Macdonald's report, Higher Education in British Columbia and a plan for the Future [Macdonald Report, 1962].

Malaspina College (1969) in Nanaimo was the first junior college established on Vancouver Island. Now a degree granting university-college, Malaspina recently implemented a post-graduate education programme with a focus on rural communities.

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