Role in the Development of Manitoba’s Public Education
to 1870, in the area now known as Manitoba, education was
delivered in a great variety of ways. Educated parents often
took on the job of teaching their children the values and
skills they would need to live in the world at that time.
The Hudson’s Bay Company developed schools to teach
the skills needed in the fur trade. As settlements developed,
small schools grew up in them. Most of the teachers in these
schools were men. As time passed, however, many young women
who had received an education across the sea returned home
to start schools. Miss Davis’ school on River Road was
one of these schools. Many schools also were founded by religious
groups in the community. Nuns of the Roman Catholic Church
were very active in teaching at the Red River Settlement.
became the province of Manitoba in 1870. The newly formed
government created legislation to organize life in the province.
By 1890, the government developed a public school system.
Schools which existed at the time could choose to become part
of the system or could opt to stay out of it. The schools
which chose the latter option became private schools.
of the public school system created more jobs for teachers.
More women were hired to teach in them. At that time, it was
usual for women to be paid less than men for the same work.
This situation continued for many, many years. In 1919, the
Manitoba Teachers’ Federation (now the Manitoba Teachers’
Society) was founded. Winnipeg School Division, the first
in the province, had its own teachers associations. From these
groups came strong leadership to improve equity between men
and women in school life. Women such as Aileen Garland, Margery
Brooker, and Sybil Shack became strong advocates for this
cause. Ruth Emsch did the same in rural Manitoba.
Cameron Brown fonds