The Philippine Normal University (PNU), was originally the Philippine Normal School (PNS) created on January 21, 1901 by Americans through Act No. 74 of the Philippine Commission. It, however, formally opened on September 1, 1901, as an institution for the training of teachers.
For more than two decades, PNS offered a two-year general secondary education program. It was only in 1928 when it became a junior college offering a two-year program to graduates of secondary schools. When PNS was converted into the Philippine Normal College (PNC) in 1949 through Republic Act 416 (the Charter of the College), the four-year Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE) program was introduced. Subsequently, other undergraduate programs ensued such as the Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE) with specialization in Elementary Education; a BSEE major in Home Economics; and a three-year Combined Home Economics diploma.
In 1953, the Graduate School was established. Equipped with a legal mandate, PNC included the Master of Arts (MA) in Education curriculum in the academic program. However, the organization of a full-fledged Graduate School came five years later.
It was only in 1970 when the Bachelor of Science in Education curriculum, offering major and minor subjects, was introduced. The passage of Republic Act 6515 which amended Republic Act 416 in July 1972 paved the way for the offering and conferment of the Doctor of Education (Ed. D) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) degrees and the provision of other academic programs relevant to the in-service training of teachers, school supervisors, administrators, researchers, and other educational specialists and personnel. Curriculum development, revision, adaptation played an important role in ensuring high scholastic standards for the institution.
As it gained its foothold in teacher education, PNC established branches in Agusan del Sur, Isabela and Negros Occidental. Aside from the creation of campuses, the College expanded its services, most significant of which was its designation as the Curriculum Development Center for Communication Arts (English and Filipino) under the Language Study Center-Educational Development Projects Implementing Task Force (LSC-EDPITAF) Project and afterward as Center of Excellence (CENTREX) in English, Filipino and Values Education. Its major functions included the development of English and Filipino textbooks and teacher manuals for use in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide, and the conduct of national level trainers-training programs for the Bureau of Secondary Education Department of Education, Culture and Sports and the Fund for Assistance to Private Education.
The school was elevated to university status on December 26, 1991, under Republic Act 7168. A fourth campus was born in Quezon Province.
Since its foundation a century ago, PNU’s dynamism has been vigorously sustained. It continues to serve as collaborative partner in various government and private-sector educational projects. In further recognition of its leadership role, the University was designated as Center of Excellence in Teacher Education (COE) for the National Capital Region and Center of Excellence in Filipino at the national level.
On its centennial anniversary celebration on September 1, 2001, the University highlighted its 100 years of service and leadership in teacher education. As it begins its journey for the next centenary, it renews with dynamism its commitment toward the pursuit of excellence in this noble undertaking.