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History of the College of Education

The University of Otago College of Education (UOCE) was created on 1 January 2007 through the merger of the University of Otago with the Dunedin College of Education. The UOCE has the longest history of teacher education in New Zealand, the Dunedin College of Education (DCE) being established in 1876 for the training of primary teachers. The first classes at the University of Otago were taught in 1871. Teachers and those intending to teach comprised a significant proportion of students at Otago. The University provided its first courses in education in 1905.

Education has always been particularly highly valued in Otago, Dunedin also being the site of the first kindergartens and the first high school for girls in New Zealand.

During the past 30 years the DCE expanded its teacher education programmes to include undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and graduate diplomas in early childhood, primary and primary bilingual and secondary teacher education. The professional support services for teachers in schools and early childhood centres in Otago and Southland were also set up in the College in Dunedin and at the Southland campus, which was established in Invercargill in 1980. The Dunedin College of Education archives are now held in the Hocken Library.

Education at the University of Otago had also been expanding during the same period, offering both academic and professional programmes in education and teacher education up to the doctoral level. 1976 saw the beginning of the four-year University of Otago Bachelor of Education degree as a joint operation with the Dunedin College of Education, and included jointly-taught education courses in both the BA and the BEd programme. This arrangement continued until the education reforms of the 1990s resulted in the University Faculty of Education developing its own three-year degrees in primary education and secondary teacher education qualifications. The University of Otago was rated as the top university in New Zealand for the quality of research in education, with the Faculty of Education ranking first in education.

The University of Otago College of Education has an established reputation for excellence in education and the professional education of teachers, taking full advantage of the established traditions of both former institutions through the combined staff expertise in teaching, research and scholarship.

Resources for this article

Morrell, W.P. (1969). The University of Otago: A centennial history. Dunedin, University of Otago Press.

Morton J. C. and Morton, H. (1976). Dunedin Teachers College: The First Hundred Years. Dunedin Teachers College Publications Committee, Dunedin. Keen, D. (2001). In a class of its own: The story of a century and a quarter of teacher education at the Dunedin Training College, Dunedin Teachers' College and the Dunedin College of Education. Dunedin, NZ: Dunedin