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Memorial Presents

Education Reform in Post-Confederation Newfoundland and Labrador: Politics and Lessons

Dr. Phil WarrenDr. Phil Warren, author and former Minister of Education

Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at 7:30 pm
Inco Innovation Centre, Memorial University, St. John's
Click here to view the video of the session.
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 the future.

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 by:

  • 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

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