Education Reform in Post-Confederation Newfoundland and
Labrador: Politics and Lessons
Dr. Phil Warren, author and former Minister of
Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at 7:30
Inco Innovation Centre, Memorial
University, St. John's
Click here to view the video of the
Download the poster and the program.
Memorial University’s Faculty of Education and the Leslie
Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development hosted a public
session examining how the educational system of the province has
evolved since Confederation – and what lessons this holds for
Newfoundland and Labrador’s education system has seen its ups
and downs. While the 1950s and 1960s focused on expanding the
school system to accommodate a growing population, the 1970s saw a
retrenchment, when the school-age population declined. During the
1980s, globalization became more prominent, and the quality of
education was re-considered. And the tumultuous 1990s saw the
difficult transition away from the 150 year-old denominational
system of education.
The pursuit of a world-class education system has long been the
objective of the stakeholders in our education system. However, the
consequences of reform initiatives were not always those that were
intended by either the proponents or opponents of the various
initiatives. This session took a broad historical view of
educational reforms since 1949 and examined how successful they
were in meeting the needs of Newfoundland and Labrador society.
What societal forces were at work in Newfoundland and Labrador
during some of these Post-Confederation reforms? How did changes in
our demographic, social, and economic way of life help to shape
education reforms, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s? What
happened politically in the province during these periods? What
lessons should we learn from these initiatives?
Dr. Philip Warren is a former school teacher, principal, university
professor and administrator, and a former Minister of Education in
the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. He was accompanied
- Dr. Alice Collins, Dean
of Education at Memorial University
- Honourable Edward M.
Roberts, former Provincial Cabinet Minister and past
Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador