Alberta. Ministry of Education

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Alberta. Ministry of Education

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The Department of Education of the Government of Alberta was a continuation of the Department of Education of the previous Northwest Territories government. The territorial department was founded by the School Ordinance in 1901. When the Province of Alberta was founded in 1905, the Department of Education continued to function under the authority of the <em>School Ordinance</em>. In 1922, the <em>School Ordinance</em> was repealed and superseded by <em>The Department of Education Act </em>(R.S.A. 1922 c. 16) and <em>The School Act </em>(R.S.A. 1922 c. 51). The Department of Education was dissolved May 27, 1999 by means of Order in Council 243/99 under the authority of the <em>Government Organization Act</em>. <em> Functional responsibility</em>: The Department of Education was responsible for the planning, development and implementation of the education system in Alberta. At the time that the department was created, it was responsible for all kindergarten schools, public and separate elementary and secondary schools, normal schools, teachers' institutes, and the education of physically and mentally handicapped children. The department was responsible for overseeing and approving the creation of school jurisdictions, approving the establishment of schools by school boards, inspection of schools, development of a standardized curriculum, overseeing the financing and administration of school jurisdictions, and overseeing the building of school facilities. The department also certified teachers who wished to work in Alberta and who had received their training outside the province. In 1922, technical and commercial schools came under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education. Technical and vocational education programs were often provided by means of agreements between the Province and the Government of Canada, which used Alberta post-secondary technical institutes to provide federal technical training programs. The Minister was also made responsible for the licensing of private commercial and correspondence schools. In 1925, an amendment to the <em>School Act</em> allowed school boards to establish public junior colleges affiliated with the University of Alberta. As a consequence, the department became involved in post-secondary education provided through public colleges. Until 1969, public junior colleges were operated by school boards or consortia of school boards. With the passage of the <em>Colleges Act</em> in 1969, all public junior colleges became board-governed institutions. Between 1969 and 1971, the department's role in the funding and administration of public colleges was mediated through the Colleges Commission. The Minister was responsible for the administration of the <em>University Act</em> from the time it was first passed in 1910, though the department was not directly involved in the operations of the University of Alberta. The department provided capital and operating grants to the university, which was administered by its Board of Governors. In 1966 the department's relationship with the province's universities was clarified through the new <em>Universities Act.</em> This act created the Universities Commission, through which the department's interaction with the province's public universities was mediated. The department administered programs that provided financial assistance for the secondary and post-secondary education of the children of veterans of the First and Second World Wars. Financial assistance programs for university and college students, administered through the Students Assistance Board (renamed the Students Finance Board in 1971), were the responsibility of the department. In late 1971, responsibility for all post-secondary education, the Colleges Commission, the Universities Commission, and the Students Finance Board was transferred to the new Department of Advanced Education by means of a series of administrative transfers. <em>Predecessor and successor bodies</em>.: The predecessor of the Department of Education of the Province of Alberta was the Department of Education of the Government of the Northwest Territories. When the Department of Education was dissolved in 1999, its functions were divided between two new ministries. Responsibility for school buildings was transferred to Alberta Infrastructure. All other functions were transferred to Alberta Learning. <em>Administrative relationships</em>: The Department of Education reported to the Legislative Assembly through the Minister of Education. The Minister also passed to the Legislative Assembly the annual reports of the semi-independent agencies that reported to him until 1971, the Students' Finance Board, the Colleges Commission and the Universities Commission. <em>Administrative structure</em>: For the first thirty years of the department's operation, its activities were focused on overseeing the establishment, operation and alteration of school divisions, the inspection of schools and classrooms, ensuring an adequate supply of teachers, and overseeing the business activities of school jurisdictions. By 1917, the department's administrative structure had largely taken the shape it was to have for the next thirty years. The main components of the department were the school inspectorate, the province's Normal Schools, the School Libraries and Free Readers Branch (later re-named the School Book Branch), the School Debenture Branch, the Chief Attendance Officer, and the Provincial Board of Examiners. In 1919 a number of new positions were established, including the Supervisor of Schools, the Registrar, the Director of Technical Education, the Supervisor of Schools, and the Secretary of the department. The first major re-organization of the department took place in 1945. The administrative structure of the department became more hierarchical and the core functions of school supervision and administration were reorganized into two new divisions under the Chief Superintendent of Schools and the Director of School Administration, respectively. The heads of the Technical Education, Correspondence School, and the School Book branches continued to report directly to the Deputy Minister. Significant reorganizations of the department occurred in 1970, 1975, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1994 and 1997. In 1997, the Department of Education became the Ministry of Education. The Ministry was made up of three entities, the Department of Education (which continued the functions and activities of the previous department), the Education Revolving Fund, and the Alberta School Foundation Fund. This structure remained the same until the dissolution of the Ministry of Education on May 27, 1999. The various functions have included: the inspection and supervision of schools, the education and certification of teachers, curriculum development, financing the school system, supervising the operations of school jurisdiction administrations, overseeing construction of school facilities, providing technical and vocational education programs, the education of special needs students, providing educational programs in languages other than English, student testing, statistics and research in support of policy development, approving, developing and distributing appropriate text and reference books, post-secondary financial assistance programs, and the enforcement of compulsory attendance. A number of semi-independent agencies reported to the Minister of Education. These agencies included the Students' Finance Board (1953-71), the Board of Post-Secondary Education (1967-69), the Universities Commission (1966-71), and the Colleges Commission (1969-71). <em>Names of chief officers:</em>Ministers of Education: Alexander C. Rutherford 1905-10; Charles R. Mitchell 1910-12; John R. Boyle 1912-18; George P. Smith 1918-21; Perren E. Baker 1921-35; William Aberhart 1935-43; Solon E. Low 1943-44; R. Earl Ansley 1944-48; Ivan Casey 1948-52; Anders O. Aalborg 1952-64; Randolph H. McKinnon 1964-67; Raymond Reierson 1967-68; Robert C. Clark 1968-71; Louis D. Hyndman 1971-75; Julian G.J. Koziak 1975-79; David T. King 1979-86; Patrick N. Webber 1986; Nancy J. Betkowski 1986-88; James F. Dinning 1988-92; Halvar C. Jonson 1992-96; Gary G. Mar 1996-99


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