1890 The authorized Course of Study for Common Schools consists of reading, writing, spelling; English grammar, composition and letter writing; mental and written arithmetic; geography, English and Canadian history; anatomy, physiology and hygiene. According to the Superintendent of Education, the course is "sufficiently comprehensive to enable the pupil to obtain a good ordinary English Education, which is the chief aim of our school system." A summary of the curriculum was printed in the Superintendent's annual report for 1890.

University Act. On 26 April the Legislature approves a statute "to establish one University for the whole of British Columbia, for the purpose of raising the standard of higher education in the Province, and of enabling all denominations and classes to obtain academical degrees." Dr. Israel Wood Powell is appointed Chancellor of the projected university. However, because of regionalism and sectional rivalries between Vancouver Island and Mainland interests, the initiative founders. A second, and ultimately successful start to establish a provincial university is made in 1908.


Public School Act. The 1891 School Act creates a Council of Public Instruction [CPI], an executive body with overall responsibility for educational policies. The CPI consists of a Cabinet committee chaired by the minister responsible for education.

1892 For the first time, a separate portfolio is created for a Minister of Education. Until the 1920s, the portfolio was usually held by the Provincial Secretary.

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1896 The position of Chief Clerk is established in the Education Office in response to growing administrative work. From 1896 until 1931 the position was held by George Cruickshank.

In the interests of health and hygiene, Recess - a ten or fifteen minute break from lessons in the morning and afternoon - becomes mandatory in all public schools. Children were supposed to spend the time outdoors to permit the "atmospheric washing" [i.e. ventilation] of the classroom.
1897 Patriotic activities -- such as public recitals, assemblies and parades -- are held at provincial schools to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee on June 22nd.

1898 A teachers' lesson guide -- entitled Programme of Course Study for Public Schools is printed in official roll books -- i. e. pupils' daily attendance registers. "The great object of this programme is to secure such an education of youths as to fit them for the ordinary employments and duties of life." The Programme provided teachers with an outline syllabi for subjects ranging from reading to vocal music, examples for "Object Lessons" and topics for weekly lessons in "Moral Duties."

The Programme of Study states that pupils should spend between half and hour and two hours a day on home work. "Parents are expect to see that their children attend to their work at home. "

1899 April: S. D. Pope is forced to resign as Superintendent of Education and is succeeded by Alexander Robinson.