Nova Scotia Teachers' Union
[Brief to the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences]*
To the Rt. Honorable Vincent Massey, P.C., C.H., Chairman,
Members of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters, and Sciences.
The Nova Scotia Teacher's Union submits for your earnest consideration its opinions and recommendations on matters referred to your Commission.
The Nova Scotia Teacher's Union was organized in 1920 for the purpose of improving the status of the teaching profession and of promoting the cause of education in the province. The organization is affiliated to the Canadian Teachers' Federation and its membership includes 75% of the 4000 public school teachers in the province.
The Nova Scotia Teachers' Union believes that UNESCO, through international exchange of educational, scientific and cultural ideas, provides an unparalleled medium for developing universal tolerance and world understanding.
The N.S.T.U. was pleased when a public school teacher was selected as one of the Canadian delegates in 1946 to the First General Conference of UNESCO. It was also gratifying to note that the Canadian Teachers' Federation had been consulted when the personnel of this first delegation was being considered. The N.S.T.U. regrets that this procedure was not continued when subsequent delegations were appointed to later UNESCO conferences. It is further concerned over the fact that the Canadian teachers were not represented on either of these later delegations.
The policy and program of UNESCO will not become a positive force in Canada for world peace and international understanding until the Canadian Government has established a means of bringing the ideas, the policy, and the program of UNESCO closer to the people. A National Commission for UNESCO is just such a means.
The N.S.T.U. supports the Canadian Teachers' Federation in its requests:-
- That a National Commission for UNESCO be established and that the Canadian Teachers' Federation be officially represented on the Commission by a number of delegates not less than that of any other organization.
That the Canadian Teachers' Federation be consulted with respect to the naming of delegates to meetings of UNESCO and, further, that a representative or representatives of the Canadian Teachers' Federation be included in the Canadian delegation.
That the Canadian Government support and strive to extend the programme of UNESCO International Seminars and that the expenses of Canadian representatives to the Seminars be borne by the Government.
- That such a Commission be financed by the Federal Government, with expenses for meetings paid by the Government.
research and National Scholarships
The work of the National research Council and the granting of scholarships and fellowships has stimulated study and research in the natural sciences. The N.S.T.U. believes that similar action should be taken to encourage study and research in the social sciences and in the field of education.
The N.S.T.U. recommends:-
- that the Province of the National research Council be extended to cover the social as well as the natural and physical sciences.
- that an extensive system of national scholarships and fellowships be set up by the Canadian Government
- at the university level
- for young people interested in art, drama, music, writing, the dance, and other fields of cultural interest.
- for young people who might enter the field of social sciences, with special emphasis on research in such areas as community planning, community recreation, co-operative enterprises, etc.
- for young people entering the field of public school education.
- at the post graduate level for those actively engaged in one of the cultural or educational fields to enable them to take time from pursuit of a livelihood for further study, research, and self-improvement.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Nova Scotia Teachers' Union wishes to commend the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on the manner in which it is serving the social, cultural, and educational needs of the peoples of Canada.
The C.B.C. has provided a fine medium for the encouragement of mature tastes in literature, art, music, drama. It has pioneered in the field of educational broadcasts and offered opportunities for enjoyment of the arts to thousands of students. It has greatly assisted the over-burdened teachers in rural areas by making available series of lesson talks carefully prepared by highly qualified teachers in English, History, Science, foreign languages, and other subjects.
Through its Citizen's Form, Farm Forum, etc., the C.B.C. has taken steps towards providing an opportunity for the free expression of opinions on national and provincial problems.
The N.S.T.U. recommends,
- that the C.B.C. be encouraged and provided with adequate financial resources to continue and extend its present high quality programs.
- that school broadcasts be expanded with a view to
- giving the maximum assistance to rural school teachers.
- affording a nearer equality of opportunity to rural students
- developing the literary and cultural tastes of our youthful citizens.
- that the principle of freedom of speech continue as a policy of the C.B.C.; that on national and provincial problems freedom of the air be denied to no political, religious, racial, or labor groups.
- That the C.B.C. explore the field for further opportunities to find and develop the talents of gifted young people, and to use broadcasting as a means of affording them avenues to make their contributions to our Canadian society.
- That the control of radio (and of television) in Canada should remain in the hands of the C.B.C. The N.S.T.U. would view with alarm any curtailment of the powers and rights of the C.B.C.
National Film Board and Film Services
The National Film Board has been singularly effective in helping acquaint Canadians, particularly in rural areas, with things Canadian. Through the use of films, consultative representatives, and film services, the Canadian people have come to know Canada better, to understand and to appreciate our problems.
The National Film Board, in comparison with commercial producers, has been able to undertake the promotion of things Canadian of an informational nature which might not have been attempted if it had always been concerned with the problem of finance.
The Nova Scotia Teachers' Union recommends:-
- the National Film Board continue to produce films depicting Canadian problems, achievements and portraying the heritage of our people.
- that financial support by federal grants be continued and increased to assist the National Film Board in promoting its worthwhile program.
- That the National Film Board be encouraged to expand its services so that more rural areas have placed at their disposal consultative representatives, projectional equipment, with the
visual aids appropriate to the area concerned.
Services for the People
Canada is a vast dominion, sparsely settled, with its peoples far removed from the large cultural and educational centres. The radio has helped to overcome this isolation. The C.B.C. is doing an excellent job in this respect, but still other ways of bringing education and culture to the people might be exploited.
The N.S.T.U. recommends:-
- that the National Museum expand its information and exhibition services to educational and other institutions, to organized community groups, etc.
- that the National Gallery extend and advertise its reproduction services, travelling exhibits, lecture tours.
- that a National Library be set up which will be
- a place where all Canadian writings and all writings on Canada will be stored.
- well equipped with a highly trained clerical, research, and professional staff.
- will readily provide consultative and field services to all provinces.
- that provision be made to help amateur dramatic groups in Canada by providing:-
- financial assistance in meeting the high royalty expenses of better plays.
- advisory and coaching services through trained field workers.
- that encouragement be given to outstanding local talent, individuals or groups in music, drama, crafts, by arranging and financing tours, exhibits, etc.
Federal Aid for Education
While not specifically mentioned in the terms of reference as outlined in P.C. 1786, the problem of education in Canada must be given serious consideration. Indeed without education, without an equality of educational opportunity for all, it is useless to think of stimulating the growth and appreciation of the Arts, Letters, and the Sciences. Unless we are interested in providing enriched cultural experiences for the few, we must begin by providing high standards of educational opportunity for all.
Education is a continuing process, and if it is neglected in one or two generations, it cannot be expected to resume where it left off. The culture of a society can be lost and when lost, can only be recovered through the long slow process of education. One of the greatest evils in the world today is ignorance. If we are to develop a strong and dynamic democracy with a broad cultural background, we must provide the opportunity for education to all the young people of the nation, and provide that opporunity [sic] on a basis of equality.
It is the belief of the Nova Scotia Teachers' Union that this equality of opportunity can only be brought about through a system of Federal aid to Education. We strongly support the position of the Canadian Teachers' Federation in this matter, which was stated in a brief presented to the Government of Canada in February, 1949.
- The Nova Scotia Teachers' Union endorses the stand of the Canadian Teachers' Federation in favor of Federal aid to education.
- The N.S.T.U. believes that a straight per pupil capita grant would bring the greatest benefits, compatible with the safeguards which certain provinces would require to guarantee that the Federal Government would not infringe upon their jurisdiction in the field of education.
- The N.S.T.U. believes that any system of Federal aid should be contingent upon the provinces maintaining or bettering their present level of payments toward education.
The Nova Scotia Teachers' Union.
Tom Parker, President.
*From: Nova Scotia Teachers' Union. [Brief to the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences]. [s.l. : s.n., 1949]. 8 l. By permission of the Privy Council Office.