The Royal Commission on Education in the Province of British Columbia, in accordance with its terms of reference, has conducted a thorough investigation and assessment of the Provincial public school system. It should be clearly understood at the outset of this Report that the task that was undertaken by the Commission included also the identification of any weaknesses in order to bring forward recommendations that would lead to improvements. It is never difficult to find fault with any school system that was ever devised. It is more difficult to give a valid assessment of the effectiveness and of the standards of a school system. It is most difficult to propose means for overcoming the difficulties and for correcting the deficiencies that beset all school systems.
The fact that the Commission probed into so many features of the public school system should not lead to the assumption that the schools of the Province were weighed in the balance and found wanting. On the contrary, the Commissioners found many things to admire as they went from classroom to classroom, from school to school, and from district to district, in the course of their extensive travels throughout the Province. In view of the immensity and the complexity of the problems which have confronted all those who have been engaged in the planning, supervision, and operation of the public school of this Province, the Commission considered that generally speaking, and taken as a whole, the system has been ably directed and capably managed.
The Commission is aware that some of the recommendations in this Report are contrary to certain proposals made by some highly responsible organizations, groups, and individuals in their briefs and at the hearings. These opposed views were in no sense disregarded or lightly dismissed. However, the members of the Commission were obligated to base their recommendations upon all the information that was obtained from many sources. On no occasion has the Commission avoided making recommendations on controversial matters; nor has the Commission attempted to reach any compromise in order to appease any organizations, groups, or individuals who might criticize or take objection to some of the recommendations that are made. The Commission submits this entire Report with no other considerations in mind than for the welfare of the children and youth of the Province and for the assistance of those who provide for their education. The Commission does so in the conviction that no other public service is as important for the future of the Province as is the education of the rising generation.
The Commission derived information from a great many sources, and wishes to express appreciation to the many citizens of the Province who assisted in so many ways. Thousands of people shared in the preparation of briefs and hundreds participated in hearings. Had such co-operation not been forthcoming, the scope of the Commission's inquiry would have been very restricted. Especial recognition should be given to the many teachers, school principals, district superintendents of schools, school trustees, and officials of the Department of Education for their whole-hearted support and ready assistance on all occasions.
Appreciation is expressed also for the many diligent and competent workers who were employed by the Commission on research projects. They were directed by Dr. E. I. Signori, of the University of British Columbia, whose services were invaluable and much beyond the terms of his appointment.
Throughout the entire period of the Commission, Mr. A. S. Towell carried out the duties of executive secretary. The Commission appreciated having his intimate knowledge of the public school system and his wealth of experience as a former teacher, principal, and inspector of schools available at all times.